A LIFE’s JOURNEY THROUGH YOGA – Part – 2
The Philosophy and Practices in Yoga as envisioned by our Sages
The science of Yoga was designed and adapted as a conscious routine to develop control over our life. Yoga means union – of the essential 3 elements that helps us perform. These are the Body, Mind and the binding force, the Breath.
It is very important to analyze each of these elements and their influence on our life in some detail.
- The Body – Our body is used as a tool by the mind to express itself.
Our body responds to emotions and gives expressions a physical form. Emotions are also energies. Each and every organ in our body is representative of a form of energy. When energies become powerful, it creates an imbalance in the body. This brings about devastating effects in our body which leads to ailments. If prolonged expressions of these emotions remain, the ailments turn to become diseases.
For example, fear and insecurity are expressed as a feeling of fatigue, weakness, Ribbed nails, lack of movement, lack of initiative, dullness of the intellect, a disoriented mind, inertia etc. Physically, this can lead to wastage of tissues because of the increase in Vayu or the wind element. This can mean weak muscles, especially of the back, pain in the joints, pain in the neck and around the collar bone and the bridge of the shoulders etc.
A feeling of anger and agitation will manifest in the chest and head. This will also lead to headaches, specific varieties of migraines, breathing difficulties, circulatory problems, feeling of heavy headedness, High Blood Pressure etc.
- The Mind – This is a medium through which thoughts flow. Being a non-physical entity, it is more difficult to control. There is a very subtle distinction between Mind and Thoughts. It is said “Thoughts exist because the mind exists and vice versa”.
Yoga emphasizes that controlling the subtle elements will bring total control over the gross. All our thoughts are felt through our perceptions. These feelings are understood through our emotions. And these emotions are subsequently expressed through our actions.
When we are exposed to a certain circumstance or environment, the mind refers the same to the intellect which then comes forth as an answer which is an expression present in the subconscious mind, of a similar event. This is the reason we repeatedly perform certain actions and our reaction are repetitive and quite predictable in nature.
The whole sequence of Thought – Perception – Feeling – Emotion – Action is parts of a pre-recorded sequence. These sequences are present in the sub-conscious mind and they bring forth answers during our day to day interactions. Thus we become a victim of our perceptions. All our actions are an influence of our mind on us through these perceptions. Our senses perceive, feel, smell, hear and see what we want to see rather than what is actually present in front of us. With this distorted understanding, we act (through our body) and struggle with the results thus obtained.
- The Breath – Our Breath is the binding force which facilitates the mind to work through the body. You would have noticed that as our emotions change, our breath also changes. And as our breath changes, our actions change too. The trio of Emotion-Breath-Action is a very predictable sequence in all human beings. For example, when we are angry (emotion), our breath becomes rapid and short, fierier; our body stiffens up and gears up with force to deliver the emotion.
The tips of our nostrils contain billions of cells that are directly connected to the Medulla Oblongata, the seat of our emotions. As we perceive an event, we emote. The breath changes accordingly to our emotion and our body get the signal to perform a corresponding action in line with the emotion.
From all the above, we can safely infer that we are a being trapped in this complex Body – Mind – Breath phenomenon and are helplessly witnessing our emotions and actions. We become victims to our emotions and actions and do not know how to get out of it.
How Yoga comes to our assistance –
Yoga has established an 8 fold path otherwise called the “Ashtanga Path”. This path enables us to get over our misery creating predictable cycles and enables us to evolve into a more powerful creation of nature. We become our own masters rather than becoming victims of circumstances. We begin to ascertain our strengths and perform consistently without allowing circumstances to intervene in our day to day activities.
Thus Yoga develops a Truly Balanced Individual in us. This individual in us helps in increasing our productivity, allows us to look at new possibilities in a given situation, helps us in gaining better emotional control and thus brings harmony in our Body – Mind – Breath phenomenon.
Over time, Yoga enables us to elevate our consciousness with discrimination and dispassion and become powerful spiritual beings. Thus, we ascend to higher states of consciousness and liberate ourselves.
Part – 3 – The 8 Fold path of Yoga…… to follow…