At its core, yoga is a series of tools that expand the consciousness. Because of the success of yoga as a fitness method many people choose to overlook the powerful spiritual benefits of yoga. Practiced properly and with dedication, yoga can fully awaken the minds of those who practice it.
In order to reach these levels of yogic understanding students must fully dedicate themselves to the knowledge of yogic teaching. This dedication requires removing ideas from the setting in the yoga school and bringing them into the real world. Yogic practices are meant to be used for life, not just as effective physical training methods.
One easy way to bring about the self-awakening potential of yoga is to practice pranayama. Most people understand that pranayama, yogic breathing, is a fundamental aspect of yoga training, but few give the concept the attention that it deserves. Pranayama is the doorway through which the rest of yoga’s benefits are accessed.
Pranayama does not begin on the yoga mat. Pranayama begins with the first breath taken in the morning. By actively focusing on breathing, two goals are achieved. The first goal is that of understanding that everything in life comes after yogic breathing; the next goal is that of flooding the body and mind with pure energy throughout the day.
After spending enough time so that pranayama becomes second nature, the benefits of pranayama can be extended through the use of the mantra. The mantra is a short word or phrase that is slowly repeated continuously. The mantra may be spoken aloud, or internally as the situation warrants.
The mantra trains the mind to focus on one thought for an extended period of time. Repeated use of the mantra throughout the day sharpens focus to a razor’s edge. While it seems like an innocuous activity, the mantra actually primes the mind and prepares it to meet any challenge.
The next stage in yogic self awakening is the regular practice of yogic asanas. These postures carry a number of benefits for both the body and the mind. With hundreds of asanas, each having a number of variations, there is always something new to learn.
Self-awakening is a path that yogic practitioners must continually travel down. In the modern world, we tend to think of absolute goals, this is not exactly the same in yogic philosophy. While self-awakening is the goal, properly traversing the path toward that goal is just as important as the desire to reach it.
© Copyright 2013 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
See videos, demonstrations, and lectures related to online yoga instructor cerification programs and specialized continuing education courses.