By. Leticia Mancera
The hidden question is: What is Yoga? Let´s take it from there. Yoga above all is a science, art and life philosophy that intends to unite the three levels of existence of the human being: body, mind and spirit. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Aphorisms of Patanjali hands us a method of physical techniques that permit us to have access to all of our being, using postures – rhythmic breathing – swara and controlled breath Pranayama.
Practicing Yoga permits an individual to express himself physically and emotionally. We are physical and emotional beings. Yoga frees emotions, that part of the individual that´s invisible, although determines its actions. Yoga teaches us that unliberated emotions reside inside the muscle. In other words, the muscle is the physical part of the emotion. We know it as “stress”. An emotion is instantaneous, while the feelings are what´s kept inside. Our spirituality – our feelings are affected by the quality and selection of our emotions. The energy that resides in the muscle is spiritual.
Taking it from there, the bare fact of standing up leaving the couch behind to attend a Yoga practice, means we´re in the right track. The physical part of Yoga that we all know, which became popular in the western hemisphere, is the practice of asanas – postures or poses. The tension and contraction of the muscles during posture performance permit release the “stress” that as we said, resides in the muscle.
Each posture besides the muscular benefits, has organic, skeletal, circulatory and energetic benefits. The organic posture has effect in the internal organs, it massages organs by compressing and tensioning them, it inverts position placing them sideways, upwards and upside down. The organic posture has mayor effect on internal organs. A muscular posture permits muscle flexibility so that our skeletal system: vertebrae and joints have the mobile capacity which they were meant to be capable of. A circulatory posture acts upon the blood vessels, when inverting the upright standard position of a person to another one that favors the blood return through the vein system. All these are physical benefits.
Every Yoga posture is accompanied by rhythmic breathing. Yoga breathing is the background music and beat that accompanies each body movement. The synchronization between body movement and breath is basic in letting go emotions. Different breathing techniques and controlled breath are learned and applied as the practitioner advances in his practice. Mastering these techniques are the authentic levels in yoga practice. Advanced Yoga practice is not necessarily being able to perform the head stand posture – Sirsasana, its being able to manage your simple breathing, controlled breath and bandhas – energy locks, among other techniques.
……..Breath directed by thought under control of the will is a vitalizing and regenerated force…..
Quote by: Sri Swami Sivananda
Becoming conscious of the breathing process while moving legs, arms, hands and other parts of the body simultaneously, demands the practitioner´s full attention in order to follow the teachers indications during practice. This dissociates the mind from the senses and permits the practitioner to leave aside “mental trash” reaching a relaxed state in full conscious.
Attention permits the practitioner reach introspection, concentration and meditation. All these mental processes lead to Samahdi, a state of self-realization, happiness and bliss. The ultimate goal of every yogui – yoga practitioner, is Samadhi.
There are numerous styles and many yoga methods. All include the physical aspects of yoga. Some are more aerobic than others. Every trustworthy yoga method has happiness – peacefulness and a state of bliss as the ultimate purpose. This is the emotional benefit of the practice.
Every person regardless of age can and should practice Yoga. It improves health. Find a school that is suitable for you depending on your needs and expectations.
Leticia Mancera Ortega