When you move in and out of a posture, engage your mind as well as your body. Concentrate on the posture, the stretch and the feeling the asana bring to you. The postures have a much greater effect when done with mindfulness and focus. Moving slowly and rhythmically gives your mind a better chance to concentrate on the stretch and on the stillness of your body during the asana. If you have complete concentration throughout your exercises you will benefit from them far more than if you do them casually. This notion can be extended to all aspects of your life.
Yogic philosophy stipulates that a change in our mental state leads to a change in our external conditions. Thus, by improving our thought quality we are able to improve the position we find ourselves in. It is important to bring about more positive energy and positive thoughts attracting positive circumstances because it is our thoughts that determine our happiness and quality of life.
During a yoga class we are forced to remain in the present, staying with our breath and the stretch. Every time our minds wonder off to things to do in the future or things that have happened in the past we lose out on the present moment. The more we remain in the present the more we can effectively commit ourselves to what we are currently facing bringing about improvements for yourself and others around you. As you concentrate your effort to the now you will find remarkable results in the efficacy of your work.
Through yoga you can not only develop your body but also acquire improved mental capabilities. For example, if you have an important task to complete, you may experience anxiety when confronted with a strong desire to do well to the point where it overwhelms you and you spend more time worrying about what would happen if you don’t succeed rather than planning and doing the task at hand. When regularly practicing relaxation and mental centering techniques in yoga you will discover an attitude that allows you to concentrate on each moment that occurs rather than focusing on a past error or fear of failure of a future one. Whether you plan to compete in a challenge or simply to enrich your life with new skills, the strength and flexibility of your body will enable your mind to have greater thought control and agility; the creative focused thinking will help you attain your goal in new and rewarding ways.
Following your inner voice
I found Iyengar’s discussion of Prajna- Insight and Intuition, in his book entitled ‘Light on Life’ highly inspiring. Challenging conventional definitions of intelligence, he gives meditative insights on spiritual intelligence purporting that it is the ability to see oneness and the positive qualities in all to allow the light of knowledge from the conscience to shine forth.
When we have countless thoughts swirling around our minds we are unable to focus, the constant chatter thereby mutes our inner voice as there is no silence within for it to be audible. During our practice of yoga, we are refining our concentration by clearing our mind and focusing only on our body and breath. When we establish a state of tranquillity we are able to free up the clutter in our minds in order for our inner voice to be heard, only then can we realize our intuitive powers. The ultimate purpose is to extrapolate this tranquillity from inside a quiet yoga studio to the busy lifestyle of your mat; maintaining an equanimity even during seemingly stressful situations.
Iyengar focuses on living in the present so we can culture intelligence by learning from our mistakes and allowing awareness to resonate with ourselves. Yoga helps to bring forth this acute awareness, as we become more dedicated to our practice we begin to feel each posture and adjust ourselves into perfect alignment in form and breath, gradually bringing us to find complete balance in our personalities. Prajna is where one knows innately the best decision without having to arrive to the conclusion through deduction; it’s holistic and comes from the inner silence that Iyengar teaches us to cultivate through asana and prana.
Through the quietude of the mind, clarity and attentiveness is brought about sanctioning instinct to guide us, tapping into the unconscious intelligence where decisions are made we can optimize our wellbeing. Interestingly, intuition taps into cosmic intelligence guiding us to know what is right because it feels natural.
This insight is very powerful as life flows into place with ease because we can trust our decisions without a scattered mind. Intuition, therefore, is the guiding force from within that is unveiled when we attune ourselves to the natural intelligence by seeing unity with clarity of thought and the right perception thereby achieving wisdom through purity.