Yoga is often understood to be a physical practice that relates to our level of flexibility. However, the more we practice yoga the more we come to understand that the physical benefits of a more flexible body are by no means the ultimate benefit we gain when practicing yoga.
Yoga is also a practice that encourages us to challenge our beliefs about ourselves. If those beliefs limit our experience a consistent yoga practice can offer us another perspective. As our bodies move through our daily cycle of behaviours, actions, thoughts and feelings we navigate a world of external and internal experiences. Also read: https://shadesofyoga.com/samskaras-overcoming-our-conditioned-responses-with-yoga/
Yoga allows us time and space to explore alternatives to our usual patterns. Practising Yoga allows us not just a physical opening and limbering but also a mental re-framing. Stretching our bodies stretches our minds too.
Yoga Beyond Body
The yoga tradition speaks of how these patterns, beliefs and behaviors form habitual responses and influence and keep our minds set in particular pathways of thinking and acting.
When we practice yoga through postures, meditation and breathing we allow ourselves to become more aware of our habits. With this new found awareness we can make different choices should we think it necessary.
Our physical flexibility and strength is a great benefit to our bodies and mind. However the deeper dimension of our yoga practice is for us to learn and discover more of our potential as a modern day human being.
The body is a divine symbol through its systems and movement mechanisms to teach us about our minds. As we develop our body strength and flexibility we also are patiently and consistently encouraging our gradual mental growth. So next time we find the half pigeon yoga pose challenging on our hip external rotators see: https://shadesofyoga.com/yoga-anatomy-external-hip-rotations-for-yoga/
Let’s remember we are concurrently deepening our mind and awareness. Yoga offers us generous awareness to see these familiar habits. Be conscious and on the lookout for your internal voice that in our modern day culture sees every idea as a personal goal to achieve. That is just another control mechanism. Yoga just simply enlightens our perspective. Initially no more is needed just pure awareness in our yoga practice will allow a gentle and conscious growth.