International Day of Yoga: Explore yourself through Yoga

Yoga is not merely a practice for physical fitness, it is a unique path paved by one’s own karmic deeds.

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The habit of engaging in stressful situations might lead to depression. (File)

By Dr. Apar Avinash Saoji,

In the words of the great Sage Vyasa, thoughts borne by the mind are like a river that can flow, which has the calibre to make him a Yogi or make him peccable. Yoga is not merely a practice for physical fitness, it is a unique path paved by one’s own karmic deeds. It brings neither an elevation nor suppression but an integration of the body, mind and the spirit, a unity of the microcosm with the macrocosm- the supreme entity. This unification is brought out through defeating the vortex of mind that causes the disharmony of the mental awareness and hence Maharishi Patanjali quotes “yoga chitta vritti nirodhah”.

Maharishi Patanjali describes Yoga as a transition from forceful effort to effortlessly pursuing consciousness, which is obtained through the Yogi’s affirmation to the notion of abhyasa (practice) and vairagyam (detachment).   

These notions enable one to distance himself from the corporeal things, his mind will bear this ajnana which is the actual obstacle that is situated in the mental grounds of Yogi. The path of regular practice and detachment helps to gain the flexibility of the jnana in the mind which will ultimately lead to the path of the kaivalya, in which the Yogi would eject the sorrow and anxiety of the mind which in turn will help a yogi to modify the mind as well the body to function to its optimum state.

When optimum functioning is achieved the mind raises the ever-burning question- “who am I” that is embedded in every individual’s mind, yoga helps in answering this as it is not merely a practice rather it is a process which enables one to know himself from outward to inward, which is similar to the darkness that surrounds the light on a stormy day.

Yoga is that light which illuminates the path to find answers to many questions that arise in the quest of the answer to “who am I”. It is a journey to unravel the mind and explore the infinite potential the mind possesses that can help an individual to grow from the mere state of being to becoming a sanctity.

From understanding this purpose to achieving the ultimate oneness with world and within, the stepping stone is the undeterred adherence to the wholesome practices of Ashtanga yoga or eight limbs of Yoga. 

The relation between an individual and the society is that, the society is the mere reflection of each individual. Only when one is happy and at peace with oneself will he be an amicable part of the society, to achieve this practice of yamas and niyamas, the first two limbs of yoga play an important role. Only when the qualities of ahimsa, satya, asteya, brahmacharya and aparigraha are inculcated will the practice of saucha, santosha, tapa, svadhyaya and Ishawara Pranidhana will be established, giving rise to Rama Rajya. 

Stability plays an important role in every individual’s life because for an enchanting life to progress one must be introduced to stability of body and mind, this is achieved through Asana which aren’t merely practices for the physical body alone, but help in stabilizing the manomaya- kosha by acting on the annamaya kosha. 

Pranayama is the limb of yoga that aligns the vayu mahabhuta to the body. It enhances the stream of prana, where the breath and nature are one, in this state the body flourishes as nature brings calmness to the mind by destroying the battle of thought and bringing peace within.  

Dharana and Dhyana are the limbs of yoga which are said to be the ultimate tools of Samadhi. In the practice of dharana one withdraws his senses and redirects them inwards, where he is not affected by the events of the world, like a student sincerely studying is not disturbed by the sounds around him and all his thoughts are directed at his studies alone. In dhyana, the scattered thoughts are guided to be unified. The knowledge that is gained from samadhi can surpass the knowledge gained from testimony and inference.

The practices though seemingly difficult can be applied in every walk of life with ease. The only unrestricted travel one can achieve is inwards towards the Supreme entity through the practice of yoga. 

 (The author is Principal, School of Yoga and Naturopathic Medicine, S-VYASA. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the

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