Yoga is that which unites the individual soul with the one true absolute soul. This happens through the practical discipline of purifying the physical body, subtle body (energy body) and calming or drawing the mind to a one pointed focus on the individual self.
The practice of Yoga postures, breath awareness and control, concentration, meditation, mantra, mudra and so on, set forth a path that allows the limited individual to tap into a deeper consciousness, to get to know the true self and to ultimately express the creative and spiritual side of its nature, through manifestation.
Yoga practice is a process by which the mind is silenced and transcended. Yoga postures bring balance and health to the body. Yogic breathing or pranayama bring energy and harmony to the pranic body or vital force. Together Yogic postures and Yogic breathing are used as a foundation for meditation. The application of mind onto the breath, creates a cleansing effect, disciplines the mind and trains conscious breathing and the meditative states. The practice of mantra, mudra and visualisation are additional important factors in stabilising the thought process.
At Yajna Yoga, the student will be introduced to Hatha Yoga, Iyengar Yoga with variations of Astang and Bhakti Yoga, with an Ayurvedic and Siddha Medical Science approach.
Practicing a Vedic structure of Asana, resulting in healing and balancing of the Physical / Elemental or Dis-ease system.
Having more time for correct alignment and breath work in a posture, is more beneficial for the organs of the body. By adding flow to the correct structure of postures, this then creates a very safe and therapeutically beneficial way to practice Yoga.
One of the main purposes of asana practice is to insure a non obstructed flow of prana through the energy life centres of the body. Different body parts that are sore or stiff, indicate a need for asana to bring fresh circulation to energy regions, that may have become obstructed or tense.
“The Hatha Yoga Pradipika” says that, “controlling the breath and observing its rhythm brings the consciousness to stillness.”
By drawing the consciousness within (Pratyahara), one will develop one pointed attention and self awareness. Pratyahara is a door between the outer and inner aspects of Yoga that allows us to turn our energy inward. It’s roll is to take Yoga practice away from being mere physical exercise to a deep spiritual discipline.
On the physical level, through the practice of postures (asana) the natural cleansing process of the body begins.
We are nourished physically, mentally and emotionally. Our internal energies become balanced with external energies, rendering us ever present and able to enjoy a feeling of wholeness.
By implicitly massaging the organs of toxins, milking the lymphatic system and enhancing circulation, a healthy body is maintained. Like mental and emotional stress there is also physical stress in society, the practitioners of asana will have more strength, energy and endurance.
Yoga as been proven to lower stress levels and blood pressure which promote relaxation and peace of mind. Through regular elongation of the spine, flexibility, postural alignment, energy and vitality will increase. With the use of yoga equipment (props), students with sports injuries, neck/back problems and other physical ailments will find through therapeutic practice, curing and prevention of these ailments will take place.
The practice of Yoga must reduce both physical and mental impurities. It must develop our capacity for self-examination and help us to understand that in the final analysis, we are not the masters of everything we do".
Yoga Sutra 2.1
On the emotion level, as we go within we learn to let go of negative habits and patterns that are no longer useful which is when a more healthy body and mind is discovered.
Unconscious breathing and living often gives rise to negative thoughts, feelings and emotions. If these negative mental states do not get resolved and freed from the system, they accumulate and stagnate in the deep connective tissues and nadis, or subtle and gross channels of the body.
Thoughts, feelings and emotions are the subtle manifestation of prana (vital life force) in the body. Where prana is accumulated and stagnated disease will occur. Prana travels through the nerves. The five main systems of the body – the digestive, the respiratory, the circulatory, the excretory and the Nervous.
Any impact or defect in proper function of any of these systems will lead to disease. It is therefore important, that sufficient asanas are given to the internal muscles that protect and preserve the health of body and mind.
One of the major benefits of Yoga is that it greatly reduces tension and stored energy in the body. One can usually experience this after just one class.
The science of Yoga is a gift from god, given to the Soul for the purpose of purification and self-evolvement, whilst it’s in the encasement of the physical and mental bodies. If you feel inclined to do Yoga, perhaps it’s your time to receive that wisdom. All that’s required from the student is sincere effort and a will to have a more pure mind and body.
Once you step onto this path and begin to comprehend its science and spiritual content, natural mental processes of life such as growing old, negativity and disease get left at bay.
Yoga keeps you young, therefore, growing old is something you look forward to, not fear, mental negativity is something you lose, not gain and disease is something the individual constitution becomes a guard against.
When there is clear understanding of the difference between the perceiver and the mind, all the various states of mind and what affects them become known. Then, the mind becomes a perfect instrument for the flawless perception of everything that need be known.
Yoga Sutra 3.49
An Interesting Hypothesis
It has been theorized that pranayama, which brings an influx of oxygen and subtle energy to every cell, may stimulate the creation of new stem cells, which in turn, regenerate the organs. It is known that four days after fertilisation, one single stem cell develops into the brain, the heart and so on. If performing pranayama helps to generate stem cells, could this simple process of conscious breathing reverse or slow the aging process? Is this why legends abound of yogis in the Himalayas who live hundreds of years?
This would be a fascinating subject for medical research.