spiritual aspect of yogaBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Many people ask, “What is the spiritual aspect of Yoga?” As Yoga becomes more a common activity around the world, many people, who considered the practice merely a physical exercise, might now have second thoughts. While no one doubts that practitioners, for whom Yoga becomes a way of life, gain more from the practice, is it really possible to practice Yoga without experiencing the spiritual aspect?  Does the very act of performing the postures create subtle changes in and of itself? After all, the physical exercises prepare the body and mind for the meditative state.

In Yogic philosophy, there are eight steps along the path to enlightenment, and each contributes its own aspect toward bridging the gap between outer actions and inner wisdom. Each rung of the ladder helps to develop spiritual qualities that act together to actually change the way the mind operates. To truly know one’s authentic self, in every action and relationship, enables the intuitive part of the consciousness to make the necessary choices for the greater good.

The spiritual discipline of Yoga helps to answer the quintessential question that has plagued man since the beginning of time: “Who am I?” Finding the answer requires patience and a sincere desire to understand human nature; and the answer is different for every person. The philosophy of Yoga training enables the practitioner to explore the ultimate riddle for one’s self, coming to understand his or her own reality. In the search of finding one’s own true self is the opportunity to also experience union with the one true source – whatever or whoever a person perceives that to be.

Yoga practitioners learn to be aware of the physical body while knowing that they are far more than that. As the intuitive wisdom to realize and detach from thoughts, judgments, desires, and actions grows, the ability to discern the true purpose of the soul becomes increasingly more visible. Bad habits, negative thinking, and unhealthy relationships gradually fall away, revealing the pure essence of the soul and clearing space for new ideas and better ways of living.

The spiritual aspect of Yoga is its ability to cut to the very core of who a person is, and to provide the discipline to develop the intuitive wisdom needed to live a creative and productive life. The person who takes the first step on the path is exactly where he or she needs to be to further this spiritual journey.  That said, spiritual beauty and development is a universal concept, which does no harm to anyone, regardless of one’s faith.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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