What is the purpose of Yoga? To touch the floor without bending your knees? To do a perfect headstand? To hold your breath for 5 minutes?
We need to ask ourselves, why we do yoga. What is its main objective? In reality, many people have been regularly practicing yoga for years, they continue to practice because they reach a calming feeling at the end each yoga class. It’s this stillness of the mind that is a strong enough positive reinforcement to strengthen this habit of practicing yoga.
What People Think About Yoga and Its Benefits for a Better Life
Yoga, or more precisely, Hatha Yoga is a way in which we release tension from our body, strengthen and stretch our muscles whilst connecting to the sound our breath. This sounds extremely physical, completely orientated with the body, but this system is designed to bring the brightest benefits to the mind. There is no way we can entertain the countless thoughts that swirl around our minds day in and day out if our entire attention has to be turned towards the sound of our breath. Try it. It’s either one or the other, you choose to listen to your breath or be carried by the whirlwind of thoughts. Through this system of creating space in the body and attuning the mind to the breath do we attain main purpose of Hatha Yoga, peace of mind.
With our busy urban lifestyles, finding any time for yourself to connect with yourself has become a challenge. Not a moment goes by without worrying about what happened yesterday or what will happen tomorrow, yoga teaches us to follow each breath, to be captured by the here and now, to live in the present.
So if peace of mind is what Yoga brings, why bother with all the poses? It takes a lot to discipline the mind, Hatha Yoga is a system designed to go from out to in. We work with the body to create a sense of discipline, to release tension and bring suppleness to the joints. It’s only after all this preparation that we will be able to sit down in silence with a clear mind and not be disturbed by cries from the body: For most of us, we need to address any pain or stiffness physically so we can completely relax and focus the mind on the ‘pranic’, or energetic state.
Yoga is an inward journey, to connect with yourself and feel peaceful within. It is not acrobatics or aerobics, it is certainly not competitive. It is a way for you to calm the mind and nourish your body with movement simultaneously. I hope you sincerely continue your practice of yoga, it is the feeling of harmony that should be your gauge of progress.