For most of us, the yoga journey begins with an ‘asana’ class without any deeper understanding of the yoga tradition. According to the Upanishads, our mortal body (soul or ‘atman’) is encapsulated inside five subtle layers of energies called ‘koshas’. These ‘panchkoshas’ are physical – ‘Annamaya kosha’, energy – ‘Pranamaya kosha’, mental – ‘Manamaya kosha’, wisdom – ‘Vijnanamaya kosha’, bliss – ‘Anandamaya kosha’, and then comes self – ‘Atman’. This is the road map that helps us understand our journey back to wholeness so that we can break free from all mind chatter and heal our mind, body, and soul.
1. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 1.14: sa tu dirghakala nairantarya satkarasevito drdhabhumih
Translation: Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and with deep devotion.
When we make our yoga session an inevitable part of our day, it indicates we’re enjoying the feeling of a light body and a clear head, but there’s more to it. Yoga’s powerful system evolves our consciousness, while health and fitness are only side effects. In addition, our ‘chakras’ are spiritually energised in yoga asana class, which were practically redundant within our collapsed bodies due to long hours at desk jobs. After our yoga class, we have more compassion, joy, and bliss.
2. Bhagavad-gita Chapter 2.68
tasmad yasya maha-baho
tasya prajna pratisthita
Translation: Therefore, O mighty-armed, one whose senses are restrained from their objects is certainly of steady intelligence.
It is a regular yoga practise with a sequential progression that aids in our ability to control our senses. Covid-19 has brought attention to our unhealthy lifestyles; we are so easily susceptible to chronic diseases as a result of our unrestrained senses and overindulgence. Yoga teaches us how to control our emotions and prevent overindulging while maintaining a healthy balance between biological necessity and insatiable desires. The human body is a brilliantly engineered machine with an excellent protective mechanism; but, if we ignore these alerts and remain unaware of these signs, the human machine will collapse. Yoga teaches us ‘pratayahara’, the practice of conscious withdrawal from senses.
3. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 2.33: vitarka badhane pratipaksha bhavanam
Translation: Patanjali advises us that when troublesome thoughts (vitarka) afflict you, cultivate opposite thoughts, he says; a clear reminder of the importance of changing perspectives to live life with full potential.
As a regular yoga practitioner, you’re able to see yourself more clearly and objectively through reflection and introspection. You acquire the ability to achieve ‘sthita pragnya’, a condition in which one’s mind is calm and undisturbed. And, with so much external noise, don’t we all yearn for that inner silence?
Yoga practice on a daily basis leads you on a journey from the outer subtle layers of energies to the self. You grow into your true self. Authenticity is the driving force behind resilience that empowers healing of mind, body, and soul. Yoga is an age-old philosophy that instils strength in one’s life.
Shivani Gupta, Founder and CEO, ‘Hello My Yoga’. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the stand of this publication.
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