Yoga doesn't have to be anything other than your breath. It's a little difficult to get started down the path of yoga at first. There are a lot of different kinds; styles; traditions; philosophies; and flavors of yoga. When you look at Instagram all you see is beautiful people in weird body positions that most of us can't fathom how to do. When you Google, many things come up, including ancient Hindu and Vedic practices. Where to begin?
Patañjali, a great sage from ancient times wrote many books on grammar, philosophy, science, and yoga. In his Yoga Sutras he states:
yogaś-citta-vr̥tti-nirodhaḥ ॥ 2॥
yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind // 2 //
yogaḥ = (nom. sg. m. from yoga) yoga
citta = (iic.) all that is mutable in human beings; thoughts
vr̥tti = (iic.) thought-wave; mental modification; mental whirlpool; a ripple in the chitta. A vritti alters perception like a misconception, or as waves on the surface of a pond obscure or distort our view of the bottom.
nirodhaḥ = (nom. sg. m. from nirodha) to find tranquility; to control
Yoga is a scientific approach to exploring and understanding consciousness. So how exactly do we do that? Above all things yoga practice is breath practice. We begin the journey inwards by paying close attention to the breath. The thing that comes in and out is the vehicle to go in and out.
First and foremost: breath.
The breath is our first and most important link to the mind. The state of our breath is the state of our mind. The breath is both something involuntary and voluntary. We have the capacity to stop the breath with our intentions and our muscles yet we cannot stop the biological processes that stem from the cellular mitochondria all the way out to us! This is a magical link that has the capacity to bring forward an incredible awareness and connect us directly with the energy in our body. That is why people sit and meditate: simply being, simply breathing, simply observing. That is all that is necessary.
When we take a moment to breathe, we connect with the present moment and we allow for our attention to simply be on what is currently happening, not what should happen or what happened before. This is an incredibly powerful tool and it allows us to go deeply into the very fabric of our being. The reason you see people in weird body positions is because the body is used as another tool to dissect and observe the mind. When we confront spaces within our body that are uncomfortable, with the help of the breath, we are able to observe how our mind reacts to this. Within a controlled environment (doing yoga postures or meditation) we find that facing our discomfort is truly a way to liberate ourselves from the chains our very own mind has put around itself and, therefore, us. The vr̥ttis, or fluctuations, in our consciousness are what cloud our judgement and cause us to suffer. But we can rise above this! We can overcome our identification with the mind and the vr̥ttis that cause us so much emotional distress.
That is why we do yoga, to unite the pieces of ourselves that have lost their ways. And to sit and witness the greatness of the Spirit within each and every one of us. If you've ever wanted to do yoga or meditate, stay tuned! We will be posting some introduction videos to get you started on the path to freedom!