Yoga is the journey of the self. It is a skillful, masterful art. The same may be regarded as a physical exertion with art perception, coupled with soul-searching meditation. It is a metamorphic process, with the mind as the central processor, exerting its will through bodily movements and executions.
Thus, yoga is a transmutative art, yet, cunningly meek. While the highly advanced yoga poses are tough to the novice and inexperienced, the results that yoga practice may deliver negate the seemingly effortless flexing of one’s muscles.
Why is yoga a journey?
Yoga is a journey to self-realization and self-discovery. It helps you find out who you really are. It finds ways to make your physical body match your mental and emotional states. It also helps you realize why we exist in the first place, and deciphering for ourselves what’s the reason we were born and why we exist, through this so-called odyssey.
Yoga is an individual quest. It is a journey of self-discovery and self-understanding. Considering the vastness of the universe we live in, and how interdependent we all are on each other, if we ever wish to be masters of our own selves, we need to find the same through our own innate capabilities. In this regard, the voyage through embarking in yoga discipline may prove as a vehicle for such revelation.
Why Yoga is the Journey of the Self?
Yoga is the journey of the Self,
Through the Self,
To the Self.”
–The Bhagavad Gita
Yoga, likewise, is a path toward seeking revelation, both in the mind and in the body. The same is a voyage to find inner peace, not sheerly seeking to adapt by way of fad or fashion. This is also true even if such fad or fashion is being demonstrated by the yoga poses you are trying to emulate.
The word “yoga” is of Sanskrit origin. Its etymology is “yui”. It signifies and means “to yoke” or “to join”. Hence, the word yoga connotes “union”: the blending of Breath and Movement; the Mind and the Body; the Atman [the Self, consciousness] and the Divine.
In an actual setting, individuals in this discipline tend to interpret these ideas and beliefs in such a way to pattern the same with their own perception of a Higher Being, whether theistic or otherwise. However, in the ultimate analysis, the resulting integration emphasizes the practice of yoga itself.
T.K.V. Desikachar, born in 1938, son of the great yoga master Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, states that our body can “only gradually accept asana”.
“An asana is a body posture, originally and still a general term for a sitting meditation pose, and later extended in hatha yoga and modern yoga as exercise, to any type of pose or position, adding reclining, standing, inverted, twisting, and balancing poses.”Wikipedia
He postulates that the body can only physically perform as long as it can do so. Hence, we should not force ourselves or judge our own body if we cannot yet perform yoga poses properly. We will in time; that posture we are seeking to perfect is the eventual result. This now lends credence to the truth that practicing yoga is a journey to discover your inner strength.
Desikachar posits additional significant fact:
“We should remain flexible so that we are still able to react to changes in our expectations and old ideas. The more distanced we are from the fruits of our labors, the better we are able to do this… Paying more attention to the spirit in which we act and looking less to the results our actions may bring us – this is the meaning of isvarapranidhana in kriya yoga”T.K.V. Desikachar
The Asanas or Yoga Poses or Postures are the vehicles to make ourselves and our bodies adaptable and flexible. They are designed to absolutely square off with the challenges of life, which will prevent us from being thrown off the grid. In so doing, it will increase our capabilities to become accustomed to life’s inherent evolution.
The Asanas will make us more cognizant and delicate to feel what really goes around within and inside us, more so, in life itself. This builds up self-knowledge. By continuous practice, it will grow. With constant improvement, it will give us the full picture of everything which our stimulus-response will be tailored fit, thus, correctly representing what lies ahead or what is current.
Yoga is a Journey and not a Destination
Each step is a new challenge. And yoga is a journey and not a destination. It’s a bridge between two points. A bridge that spans the time and the distance between one point and another.
Yoga takes us from where we are to where we want to be. It’s the path from materialism to spirituality, from illusion to enlightenment. It’s that bridge that links our lives to an understanding of the true nature of reality.
Every person is different, and so too is the journey of yoga. Yoga is a tool for self-exploration and learning, and its lessons can come in many different ways, shapes and forms.
There is not one right way to practice yoga, but what it offers us all, is a chance to break free from the mundane aspects of life and discover a bit more about ourselves.
Yoga may act as a Filter for the Mind
While our mind may be focused, there are lots of things also that can distract the thinking and thought process. This is what you call the unfathomable depth of human mind. Self-doubt, bias, and prejudice as well play an important role in taking away our concentration.
Undoubtedly, when we are confused and baffled, we cannot think clearly. Our minds are replete with doubtful thoughts, anxieties, and uncertainties.
When these happen, the core vigor of our existence is dripping and scattered. Engaging yoga exercise may be helpful in these kinds of situations.
Yoga can also act as a filter for the mind. In practicing yoga, you may be able to clear yourself with much debris, thereby, rechanneling your diluted energy to settle within the body. It will now recharge your well-being.
This process, essential to this learning, has been the spirited level of mastering oneself, and it is concomitantly integrated in unison with mind, body, and soul.
Yoga and the Self
One of the most compelling subjects in yoga is that of the self. What is the self? How can I transcend my self? Why do I have a sense of “I” in the first place, and what does it mean to lose this sense? These are deep questions, and for thousands of years, yogis have explored them through daily meditation.
Yoga is not about doing. Yoga is about being. Yoga is a subject of intense physical practice. But yoga is more than a series of poses. Yoga is a spiritual discipline as well. The spiritual aspect of yoga is often neglected. But it is central.
The word yoga means “union.” The body is the temple. Yoga is a path to union, to enlightenment. Yoga is practical enlightenment. The word yoga means “union.”
Yoga is a union of the mind and body, the physical and the metaphysical, the visible and the invisible, the gross and the very subtle.
The bodily practices, called asana, are part of this union. The practices of the breath and of the senses, called pranayama, are part of this union. The practices of concentration and meditation, called dhyana, are part of this union.
The body is the temple. But the temple is not just of the body. The mind and the spirit are just as important parts of the temple. Yoga is a union of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual.
The spiritual aspect of yoga is often neglected because it is more complicated. However, it is central. The word yoga means “union.” The body is the temple. Yoga is a path to union, to enlightenment. Yoga is practical enlightenment.
The word yoga means “union.” Yoga is a union of the mind and body, the physical and the metaphysical, the visible and the invisible, the gross and the very subtle. The bodily practices, called asana, are part of this union. The practices of the breath and of the senses are called prana.
In the yoga tradition, the self is understood to be the whole person, with the mind, emotions, and body as one. The self does not refer to a particular personality trait, such as intelligence or ambition, although these traits are included.
To pursue yoga is to deliberately cultivate self-awareness. Yoga is a systematic technique for learning how to be aware. Once we become aware, we can practice being compassionate and appreciative.
The self does not refer to an ego or an inner life. The ego is a collection of mental theories about ourselves, based on how we feel about ourselves. These theories are urgent, and keep us from being fully awake and aware.
The self does not come from without; it comes from within. The self is eternal, indestructible, and nonchanging. The self is, in Bhagavan’s words, the “lamp of the heart,” like the flame of a lantern, which illuminates the darkness, and is the source of all the other phenomena.
The self is awareness. In doing so, the self reveals itself to be like the sun, whose light is reflected from other phenomena.