Spirituality and religion get misinterpreted often when it comes to yoga. I personally have heard a lot misinterpreted information when it comes to this subject. You don’t have to be a certain faith or religion to practice yoga. Yoga is not affiliated with any organized religion. It’s the spirituality that yoga offers that makes yoga special. Spirituality is personal for each individual, but it is what makes us feel whole and complete. Spirituality is connecting with your authentic self and/or higher power. Our spirit is the foundation of everything we do, it is our moral compass and driving force in life. Yoga is not a specific religion but with pranayama (breath work), asanas (poses), and meditation, it is great at aligning each being with their source, whatever that may be. Yoga challenges us to sit in silence with ourselves and be accepting of who we are and where we are in life. It challenges us to release the past, be present, and be worry free of the future. This self-awareness has a profound effect on how we live our lives. The better self-awareness we have the better we make decisions for our greater good. The more consistency you have with yoga, the more access you gain to self-awareness and self-alignment. This is how showing up to the mat, can little by little, change your life.
The word yoga means “union” or “unite”. You can define what that means to you because that could mean something a little different person to person. For me, I believe it is the act of uniting our true authentic self with the mask we try hard to keep on. It is the union of our authentic self with our higher power. It is the union of our authentic self with our physical self. This trinity of wholeness between the mind, body and soul is something we all try to align with whether we are actively trying to or not. That place where we stop resisting that alignment is the place where your life begins.
Silencing your mind and sitting alone with yourself can be challenging. We live in a busy, fast world where we prioritize everything else before ourselves. We need yoga more now in this life than ever. A diligent yoga practice can bring up the not so pretty moments in your life that need healing, the things we distract ourselves from thinking about. But this is where true healing can begin. Bringing these issues up, feeling them and releasing them is how we stay present, balanced and blissful. Yoga empowers us to be strong and trusting of ourselves and to go with the flow of life. I believe yoga is one of the most underused life management tools and not to mention you only need yourself to start.
HOW TO SILENCE YOUR MIND: MEDITATION FOR BEGINNERS
If you are unsure of where to start, a good place is allotting just a couple of minutes to meditation daily and working on adding time as you go. The more you practice, the easier it becomes to focus and silence the noise. There are many types of meditations that you can explore that include concentration meditation, mindfulness meditation, walking meditation, and imagery meditation. There are meditations for everyone. This meditation exercise a good place to start if you have never had experience meditating. This is something you can practice anywhere, anytime.
- Sit or lie in a comfortable position.
- Close your eyes.
- Bring your attention to your natural breath and how your body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. If your mind wanders or thoughts start taking over, return your focus back to your breath.
- Maintain this for 2-3 minutes to start and then add time the more you meditate.
After a few sessions of this, start practicing deeper, more controlled belly breaths.
- Inhaling into your belly, filling up your belly, then chest at a count of 4
- Exhaling, emptying your belly, then chest at a count of 4.
- Focusing on breaths. Imagining inhaling positive energy and exhaling anything that no longer serves you or any thoughts you need to rid your mind of.
- Repeating this during your meditation practice.
No matter the active practice, I hope you are able to challenge your own self-awareness and deepen your personal spirituality by embracing your own unique practice in this world full of unknowns and challenging situations. Don’t focus on healing the world, focus on healing yourself. If every person heals themselves, how different the world might look.