July 10, 2020
Over the years of practicing yoga diligently, I have noticed some pretty obvious benefits of yoga that everyone in today’s modern and urbanized world certainly needs to survive. These benefits fall into three main categories: physical, emotional-mental and spiritual. In my last two columns, I talked about the five main physical benefits and the four main emotional-mental benefits. This time, I tackle the last and highest benefit: the spiritual.
First is letting go and letting God. It is common in any yoga swing class to practice the asana (posture or pose) known as child pose or balasana. In this posture, your forehead is on the ground in reverence to a higher power. It is a great reminder that you are not supposed to have all the answers right now. You are not supposed to do everything on your own. There is a higher power at play who can offer you all you need, once you tune into its infinite energy.
Second is receiving guidance and direction. When you chant a mantra in a yoga class and tune into the vibrations of the mantra, you just might hear an answer to your prayers. Meditation is listening deeply to the sound of the soul, and chanting mantra is an effective way to cut through all your mental garbage and listen deeply beyond the mind and in connection with Divinity and your soul’s calling.
Third is knowing the unknown and seeing the unseen. It sounds all very mystical and silly, doesn’t it? However, through the practice of yoga, particularly eye focus exercises known as drishti — such as focusing on the point between the eyebrows, chin or crown of the head — you can stimulate the pituitary and the pineal gland to the point of being able to discern the consequence of your actions or words before they happen. Hence, you become a wise sage making less mistakes that harm yourself or others.
Fourth is connection with the divine forces at play in the universe. Through the practice of yoga trapeze postures that open the heart center, stimulate the third eye and open the crown chakra, we start to realize that there is more to life than my body, my goals, my thoughts, my emotions, my desires, my passions, my dreams, my fantasies. We start to tune into the bigger purpose of our life in relation to others and in relation to the divine forces. We are able to feel a divine connection that cannot be expressed in words yet gives us the ability to feel supported during the darkest times.
Fifth is Oneness. Oneness is a funny concept, and it is not limited to uniting mind, body and soul. Oneness is about moving beyond dualities like good and bad, right and wrong, black and white, rich and poor, happy and sad. Such dualities cause us pain and suffering. The practice aerial yoga hammock connects you with the source of creation. A source that is perfect. When you can feel this oneness, this wholeness, this perfectness of the Creator who has created Creation — the sun, the moon, oceans, seas, animals, birds, plant life, wind, air, fire, Mother Earth — it becomes much easier to carry gratitude and contentment in your life and accept both others and yourself, just as you are, regardless of all your perceived “flaws.”