“Yoga is like music: the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life” – BKS Iyengar
When one thinks of yoga often they think of stretching and being bendy. We often have students tell us they’re not flexible enough for yoga or that they don’t think they had a strong class because they were so stiff and tight, and that’s what they judge their practice on. However being the strongest or the most flexible doesn’t mean you are practicing yoga at all!
The word ‘yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit word yui, which means ‘to join’ or ‘to unify’. Through the physical practice of yoga, you unite your body and mind, integrating it with your spirit to become a whole and complete being. Achieving this union allows you to connect to your inner self, ultimately leading to self-realisation.
The physical practice of yoga creates a balance in the body making it both strong and flexible. Specific postures combined with a meditative breath control work your entire body; every muscle, organ, ligament and gland improving the functions of the respiratory, circulatory, hormonal and digest systems, even realignment of the bones.
Yoga brings emotional stability, clarity of mind and a sense of inner peace and harmony. Learning how to let go of resistance and fear, changing that energy into one of self-belief, confidence and knowledge, chipping away at the ego until you can truly be free. Over time you can turn inward for guidance, bringing your emotions under control and learning how to detach from external and sensory perceptions.
One of the important teachings of yoga philosophy is that we humans are divine, we have a purpose and the ultimate goal is self-realisation, realising the God within us and achieving unity with physical body, which is a temple of the spirit. With the help of meditation and tapping into the chakras, the cosmic energy centres in the human body, over time we train the consciousness for a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquillity.
So next time you walk into class, focus instead on the therapeutic effects of the postures, the precision of the alignment, of letting go of what you think you should do and just be. Use the tools given to you to create your own masterpiece!