‘Yogas’ citta vrtti nirodhah’ : – ‘The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga’. – Patanjali – ‘The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali‘, 1:2
Hatha Yoga (physical Yoga) is a physical tool you can use to calm the mind. I’m sure if you practise Yoga already this won’t be news to you. If you’ve never tried Yoga before, then give it a go and see for yourself, rather than just read the following babble.
One of the most common responses you hear from someone else when you’re in a pickle is “Take some deep breaths”. Controlled breathing (Pranayama) is a big part of Yoga, among other benefits it helps to bring calmness & clarity to the mind. The postures have a myriad of benefits and science is helping to uncover more and more. But rather than list the tons of benefits The Yoga Journal has a great list of 38 benefits for you to peruse. With regard to the postures, they need to be practised along with other techniques and in a sequence to have the full mind calming and body energizing affect. The postures when practised on their own (without the other techniques (see below)) could be seen as a gymnastics or dance routine. A typical Vinyasa Flow Yoga practise would include: Asana (Physical Postures), Bandhas (Muscular contractions), Pranayama (Breath control), Vinyasa (A flowing sequence, which provides transition between postures), Dhristi (Point of gaze or focus). It’s important to understand that all these things need to be practised together, to gain the benefits of Yoga. In this way Yoga is a holistic practice working on the whole body, mind and being. This whole practise helps to simulate the Parasympathetic Nervous System – bringing relaxation to the body and mind.
You may have noticed how problems seem different once you’ve practised yoga? Or if you’ve practised yoga already and a problem arises, how is it different now? Next time, when faced with a problem notice how it is in the mind, then roll out the mat and do your practise and then take a moment to see how this problem is. How do you view it now? Does it seem as urgent? Has a new solution arisen? Maybe it wasn’t worth the worry at all.
I hope this post helps those struggling with the stresses and strains of modern day life. In kindness and light, James