Today is the second International Yoga Day. Across the world, organizations, institutes and yoga teachers are holding workshops to bring Yoga to everyday people.
Yoga means Union. It is a philosophy and a set of practices used to connect to and become source energy. The goal is to stay in Yoga (connection to source) and eventually become Yoga (union with source).
In the video, we looked at Yoga at a physical, mental and spiritual level. It is a tool for transformation and transcendence. There are so many variations and combinations to these practices; which to me show the beauty, diversity, and inclusiveness of the philosophy.
Yoga is an art form. It cannot be taught, it has to be practiced; whether it is the Asanas (postures), the Pranayama (breath techniques) or Smrti (mindfulness).
There are no barriers and the practice is suitable for any age group, gender, race, religious background or lifestyles. It is not about twists and turns of the body. It is not about how long you can hold your breath. It is not about how long can you sit and meditate. It is not about how much or what you eat.
It is only about the quality of your connection to the source.
The tools, techniques, and the philosophy are there for you to make it your own. No two people will travel the path to Yoga in the same way.
My favorite practices are the Suryanamaskar (sun salutations), Om chanting, Niyamas (particularly Self-Study & Contentment) and intellectual immersion into the Yoga Sutras.
In this day and age, when a lot of us feel disconnected, Yoga shows us that everything is connected. We are all the same source, we are all dependent on each other, and there is no separation. Whatever separation we feel is an illusion. Yoga shows us how to transcend beyond this illusion.
Take three minutes at some point today and practice this very simple breath technique to connect and practice mindfulness.
1. Sit comfortably in a place where you will not be disturbed. No phones, computers.
2. Set an alarm for three minutes (that way the monkey mind won’t worry about ‘are we there yet?!’)
3. Close your eyes.
4. Take a deep breath in and exhale.
5. Now with normal breath, mentally watch your breath as you inhale and exhale.
6. When you start to hear mental chatter, know that the process is working. Don’t engage the chatter; bring your mind back to the breath moving in and out.
The only way out is in. Happy discoveries!