Yoga for Everyday Life
Yoga is one of the fastest growing personal activities in the Western World. For some people it is a daily routine—waking before the family and going to a quiet space to practice yoga.
What draws people to practise yoga day after day is:
- The creation of calmness and peace in their lives,
- Carity of mind and direction,
- Healthy strong bodies, and
- Positivity in their lives.
Yoga philosophy asserts that we are limitless beings. Yoga helps us to become what we really are: happy, contented, joyful, noble, generous, brave.
The Sanskrit word “yoga” can be translated as “union”. Some say this is union between mind, body and spirit. Others it is the union with the higher self. However, it is neither. It is the re-union or remembrance of who you really are. It is simply becoming conscious.
We can be conscious and gain control over unconscious functions. In 1969 in the US, the yogi Swami Rama demonstrated to research scientists that he could stop his heart for 17 seconds and create a 10°C difference of temperature between his left and right arms.
Yogis get excited about travelling, exploring and discovering within.
They require few consumer goods and luxuries to make their lives happy and fulfilled. They develop a strong, lean, long and flexible body, and a concentrated and peaceful mind. Like a herb, a yogi can survive in a poor environment, and yet have enough energy, strength, resilience and compassion to affect positively all those they come in contact with.
Physical yoga practices
How do you walk and move? Is your neck short? Are your shoulders hunched? Does your belly hang over your belt? Do you suffer from lower-back or neck pain? Yoga postures, Pilates, Tai Chi and dance, teach us to switch on the correct muscles and switch off the wrong muscles for posture and movement.
If we learn to orient physical motion from the spine instead of the peripherals, we can glide effortlessly through the day, and experience health and balance not only on the muscular skeletal system, but also the respiratory, endocrine and digestive systems.
Unconscious breathing accents the out breath. This causes toxic acidosis in body chemistry, leading to arthritis, drying and ageing. Yogic breathing techniques, called Pranayama, develop conscious breathing patterns, which enable practitioners to stimulate, calm or balance their vital energy at will. Some of the benefits of conscious breathing practices include clear shiny skin, powerful digestive systems, heaps of energy, and a quiet mind.
With yogic relaxation techniques, we become aware of the way the world impacts on our senses and how to withdraw from these stimuli at will. The benefits of yoga relaxation practices include a higher pain/pleasure threshold, better sleep, and effective management of stress.
All yoga practices are aimed toward success in meditation, which is a heightened state of consciousness. The benefits of meditation practices are peace of mind, the ability to concentrate, wisdom, love, harmony, balance, fearlessness, and statesmanship.
Yoga has practices to keep the digestive tract strong and clean, to care for the quality and freshness of food, and how it is prepared.
Clive Salzer is head of the yoga school at Nature Care College. He specialises in yogic history and philosophy, yogic physiology, and the techniques of relaxation and meditation.