The Journey of Yoga
Part 3 – The Soul
The path to self-enlightenment
Have you ever been somewhere or done something that just made you feel good? As in totally fed your soul? Yoga has that ability, to feed your soul and help you quiet your mind so you can listen to the universe. Your soul is a very individual thing. It’s what makes you unique, it’s what makes you, you.
The true purpose of yoga is to discover that aspect of your being that can never be lost – Deepak Chopra
I have practiced yoga for many years in several different styles. I have spent months away from my mat, but something would always bring me back. Recently I started to ponder why exactly that was. What was it about yoga that sucked me right back in no matter where I was at in my life?
My aha moment came in the middle of the night as I was lying awake in bed. I realized that yoga was my haven, my safe place. The mat is a place where I can go and there is no judgement from anyone, and that includes myself. It’s my space to be free and be true to who I am.
Yoga feeds the soul.
How does it do this?
Yoga relieves stress and tension through mindful practice
I love the time for myself that yoga provides. I am able to get on my mat for however long I have and get into the zone. This is the place where I can let go and just be. I practice yoga in whatever fashion works for me for that day. Sometimes it’s a more powerful Vinyasa flow and other times it’s Yin or restorative sequence that helps to alleviate stress.
I focus on the poses, my alignment, and what it is I need from my practice. I do the practice that is right for my body. My mat is a place of non-judgement. I have come to a place where I don’t worry that I can’t do “that” pose anymore, or I can’t go as deep. I have found that my practice allows me to let go of the judgements I had as it related to my body. Yup, I’m older now and yup my body just doesn’t always cooperate with what I’d like to do, but through yoga, I have learned to let it go.
Yoga quiets the internal chatter and negative self-talk
This is the time I just let go, be me, and not worry about what else is going on. It’s my self-care time. With both a physical practice and meditation, I can focus on what is going on inside me and not worry about what is going on around me. It gives me space to be free.
The internal noise starts to recede as you move through a practice because your focus is on the movements and what is going on within you. The negativity of the day starts to fade away. Meditation is a fantastic way to sit in quiet contemplation and start to learn to quiet the internal chatter, the monkey mind if you will. As I continue my journey, I have come to enjoy these quiet moments and find myself more stressed and negative when I don’t spend time on my mat.
Yoga helps you find your higher purpose – your Dharma
Your Dharma is your purpose, your reason for being here and with yoga, you can find it. I have spent a lot of years trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up and I have finally found it. And I found it through yoga by spending time discovering who I am and what it is that really matters to me.
We have seven Chakras, or energy centers within our bodies. Spending time working on our Chakras gives us an opportunity to look deep into ourselves and visualize what it is we want. Self-discovery happens when we take the time to start understanding who we are and what we value. This internal contemplation is what will lead us to our purpose.
Yoga helps you to manifest and achieve your Dharma
My journey with yoga began many years ago and throughout that journey I have continued to learn and grow. My biggest growth happened when I started working with the Chakras. They are these amazing energy centers within our bodies that are like a wonderful road map that helps us to overcome blocks and move towards becoming our best self.
We all have dreams, big ones and little ones. Manifesting your dreams by using the Chakra system will lead you on a journey of self-discovery and down the path to finding your true and authentic self.
The path of yoga is the path of self-discovery – Amrit Desai
Legs up the wall is a wonderful pose that helps to alleviate stress by bringing your body out of the sympathetic nervous system, the fight or flight mode, and brings us into the parasympathetic nervous system which slows us down and relaxes us.
Start by placing a folded up blanket or a bolster against a wall and sit on it. Very carefully lay yourself over onto one side, keeping your bum on the prop and lift your legs up against the wall.
Scooch and adjust yourself as needed until your bum is against the wall and you are laying down with your back slightly elevated from the prop and the rest of your body along the floor.
This is not a very elegant posture to get into but it is wonderful to help reduce anxiety, tension, and stress.
If you’d like, play some soft meditative music. Stay in the posture for five or even ten minutes and just relax and let go.
To come out of it, gently bring your legs down the wall and lay on your side. Carefully lift yourself up into a seated posture. This is a great time to get out your journal and write about your experience.