Derived from a Sanskrit word ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite,’ yoga refers to an art of uniting or bringing harmony between the mind and the body. The subtle science and art of healthy living has been present on Earth since time immemorial and is believed to be in practice even before religion or other belief systems were formed. In one of the legends, it is believed that Shiva was the first yogi or guru, or Adiyogi or Adi Guru.
While many people practice yoga for physical fitness and better posture and flexibility, yoga is considered to be a spiritual discipline that aims to achieve a state of self-realization by uniting individual consciousness with that of universal consciousness. Such a union leads to the neutralization of thoughts and behaviors that can create a sense of spiritual awakening and liberate a person from all kinds of suffering. In simpler words, the spiritual side of yoga refers to learning who you really are and getting acquainted with your inner desires. It helps a person to develop an elevated sense of wisdom that could make a person’s life more stable and productive.
Without the spiritual side of yoga, it would be nothing more than a gym session or fitness class. Yoga combines the elements of physical fitness and mental stability; it helps one through emotional stress and psychological challenges. Yoga helps in creating awareness and being conscious of the spirits and energies around us. Not only that, but you also become aware of your own actions and capable of relinquishing control of the way you react to adversities in a more peaceful and calm manner.
Yoga Leading To Spiritual Awakeness
Yoga follows seven spiritual laws that guide one to find inner peace. These seven laws have been aptly explained by Deepak Chopra and David Simon in their popular book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga.
Law of Pure Potentiality
A mindful yoga practice can successfully connect us to our creative energy or pure consciousness, which is considered to be the essential nature of human beings.
Law of Giving and Receiving
According to Chopra, giving and receiving are from the same flow of energy in the Universe. It is the only constant way to keep abundance, love, and anything else you want circulating in your life.
Law of Karma (Cause and Effect)
Every action we perform has a consequence and sends out particular energy into the world that is ultimately returned to you. So when you choose actions that bring positivity and happiness to others, someday, this positive energy will come back to you.
Law of Least Effort
When your actions are motivated by love, you can easily fulfill your dreams. The Universe’s infinite power can be unleashed when you are aware and accept your present and when you use your energy with very little effort and least resistance.
Law of Intention and Desire
Every desire has a means for its fulfillment. Your inner intentions have the potential to become aligned with the Universe’s endless creative potentialities by experiencing stillness of mind.
Law of Detachment
At a spiritual level, everything is unfolding the way it should. Instead of struggling and forcing situations to go a certain way, you just need to focus on your actions and then allow opportunities to emerge spontaneously.
Law of Dharma
Everyone has their purpose in life or what is called a Dharma. By using the qualities you possess to make someone else’s life better, you can experience love in abundance, and that could lead to fulfillment in life.
The asanas or poses in yoga serve as a very important bridge between us and spirituality; it helps us in getting closer to our soul. Many poses that are practiced in yoga go beyond making your body flexible or gaining strength; it helps us improve our personality, concentration and helps control our emotions and stress. Yoga is closely connected to nature— so much so that the poses and postures in yoga are also inspired by the environment and are derived from animals and plants, pertaining to their special characteristics.
Padmasana– Lotus Position
The lotus symbolizes purity and spontaneousness and represents divine birth and spirituality. It is a simple position where a yogi sits cross-legged with a stretched spine and hands placed on the knees. It is usually assumed for meditation and pranayama (breathing exercises) that allow the person to tune into their inner self and energize and purify the body.
Virabhadrasana– Warrior Pose
This pose involves strong extended legs like lunging, with arms spread beside the body or upwards with your core engaged. It helps the body to develop strength and instills in our mind ideas of courage, to overcome our inner demons.
Balasana– Child’s Pose
It is almost like a fetus position, but your knees touch the ground with legs tucked underneath, and arms stretched forward with palms facing the floor or beside your body. This pose can help you relax and calm your nerves when you are stressed out, inducing a state of calm awareness.
Vrikshasana– Tree Pose
It is a standing pose with the left knee folded on the right thigh and arms stretched above the head. It helps in improving balance, alertness, and concentration.
Shavasana– Corpse Pose
It is usually done at the end of the yoga session. It is performed while lying on your back with your eyes closed and your arms extended alongside your body. This pose connects you with your inner self, relaxes your muscles, and helps a person reach a state of tranquility.
Yoga is not only limited to a 30-minute session that one attends; it is a way of life and slowly starts affecting every aspect of your life. Yoga is spiritual, but it is not attached to religion; it is a union of the mind, body, and spirit, bridging the gap between you and the higher universal power. You may place your belief in a particular God or have no belief at all. Nonetheless, yoga can be practiced irrespective of your religious beliefs.
Through yoga, we can develop a sense of enlightenment by developing spiritual qualities that can change the way our mind operates. The developed sense of intuitive wisdom helps a person detach themselves from unnecessary thoughts, desires, and judgments to truly comprehend what the true purpose of the soul is. Bad habits, negative thinking, and unhealthy relationships gradually fall away, clearing space for new ideas and better ways of living. It helps us to be more mindful and gives us a moment of stillness in our otherwise chaotic lives.
Written by: Aashna