‘Everything we do can become yoga if it is done with awareness. Awareness is the key to discovering all the mysteries of who we truly are. Yoga reveals the luminous intelligence and the beauty that lies within us’
There are as many different meanings and interpretations of what yoga is as there are yoga practices and types of therapy! In Sanskrit, the word ‘yoga’ is used to signify any kind of connection. A conscious connection to something allows us to feel and experience this and through yoga we can cultivate this state of being. Yoga can lead to a deeper awareness of who we are and become a journey of self-discovery to facilitate health and balance and to find our unique potential. Through a daily meditation or yoga practice, we offer ourselves the opportunity to develop and change.
One of the greatest problems we experience is our inherent restlessness of mind. Our constant chattering thoughts and emotions can often have very negative effects on our wellbeing. In our daily lives, meditation and yoga can be very helpful in eliminating physical and psychological problems. A significant amount of the difficulty we experience is the result of conflicts, repressed feelings or emotional distress arising in the conscious or unconscious mind. Yoga and meditation can help us to become more aware of these conflicts in order to try and resolve them and face the challenges of daily life.
People often talk about how mind and body are connected and there is growing evidence to show that they inextricably linked. Good emotional health means we are more likely to be aware of our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. We have probably learnt healthy ways to cope with the anxieties and stresses of life. However, many things that happen in life can disrupt our emotional life and our bodies can respond very differently to the way we think, feel and act. What does this actually mean? These symptoms might manifest in physical signs which reveal we may be out of balance. It might be back pain, fatigue, insomnia, stomach problems, sore shoulders, digestive problems. These are all indications that we might need to pay attention to rather than ignoring them and hoping that they will just disappear of their own accord.
Practising a daily mediation or yoga can be a meaningful way to get in touch with the difficult feelings we hold onto and to notice what is happening in our bodies. The synchronicity between what we are thinking and what we are doing can open up endless possibilities and the potential within us to change. If we are to lead a more balanced life and deal with the daily challenges it presents, yoga can offer a multitude of benefits which allow us to grow in strength both physically and emotionally. A regular yoga practice can help develop resilience, an ability to cope with stress, to accept change, gain clarity and keep perspective. As a form of relaxation, we can learn to breath more deeply and connect to our body. Yoga allows us to find space in our lives, take care of ourselves, let go of difficult thoughts and old patterns and connect with our inner world.
The stories we tell ourselves and the narratives we build as we move through life can often colour the way we relate and deal with various situations. Through yoga, we can allow ourselves to let go of these stories and the anxieties we hold in our body, discharging them from the nervous system and returning ourselves to equilibrium. This process of getting in touch with what is really going on inside us allows us to shift our energy and release it. The symptoms that arise either emotionally or physically seek to reveal a story and a symbolic representation of issues in our lives that seek resolution. Underneath these layers, deeply buried emotions seek to be integrated into the body as a whole system and transformed into something different which serves us better and in a more healthy way.
When emotional energy is trapped in our body, we are often unable to activate this and discharge it. We become blocked and unable to function. Yoga can help restore this balance. We can notice the parts of ourselves it is difficult to access, breath into them and connect on a deeper level.
Our bodies are the vessels of our true selves. Yoga allows us to listen, notice, watch and pay attention to what comes up and see if this still serves us in a useful way. If it doesn’t, we have a choice to let it go.
This experience can be mirrored by allowing words and stories to be accessed verbally in a talking therapy. Over time, we can learn to connect with the difficult feelings, tolerate them and not lock them away. We can start to let go of the less useful patterns we have adopted and the ways we have adapted in order to fit in. Therapy can open up the pathway to different choices and more possibilities. When contemplating how our physical health and the health of our mind are connected, we can start to build a relationship within and this expands out to find more relatedness and connection in the outside world.
It is said that ‘Life is a journey not a destination’ and ultimately, there is joy and vitality to be found if we dare to look inside ourselves.