Did you know that a systematic Yoga Practice affects your Past, Present, and Future? Yogic wisdom teaches that practicing Yoga Postures or Asana primarily affects your relationship to your past, Breathwork, or Pranayama to the present, and Meditation or Dhyana to your future.. How? Let’s dive in…
Asana – Your Past: From the day we are born until now, our body is storing every moment of our past. For example, if you exercise regularly, you are likely to stay healthy. If you neglect you start to get sick or unhealthy. Our lifestyle, food, environment, thoughts, and actions directly impact us - physically, mentally, and emotionally. Our body collects and manifests these stresses, and we start to experience them as resistance during physical practice as tightness or unease. However, after regular practice, you acknowledge the times of love, gratefulness, success, and ease. Our body starts to open up, and we experience less resistance. So, Yoga asana transforms our body response to past experiences.
Pranayama – Your Present: Have you ever observed your mind? You may find it to vacillate between past and future and rarely find it in the present moment. When the mind is focused on the past you may feel regret. When your mind is focused on the future you may feel anxious or nervous. The more the mind vacillates between these two states, the more you experience stress in your nervous system. Happiness is experienced in the present moment. So how to bring your mind to the present moment? The breathing practices or Pranayama bring your mind into the present.
Dhyana - Your Future: Meditation is the most subtle and powerful among the three. It gives rise to a deeper, and more profound level of perception. The mind becomes free from agitation, becomes calm, serene, and at peace. As you continue to practice meditation, a gradual transformation and inner healing start to begin from inside out. You will begin to make decisions from a clear state of self-knowing instead of conditional identity. You will change your habits, act, or react differently. Thus, you start to alter your future.
* * *
Technically speaking, if you are practicing asana as physical fitness ONLY without breath awareness, it is NOT Yoga.
* * *
Note: In my personal practice and while teaching, my intention is to bring these main components of yoga together for a deeper experience. Most of the modern or popular yoga classes today focus on the physical practice of yoga offering a feel-good experience to the body. However, I believe it is more beneficial to attempt to move beyond the body, move beyond the past, come into the present, and taste the transcendence. I am grateful to my teachers for their training, guidance, and support especially my current teacher Yogarupa Rod Stryker, for providing me with many tools and techniques supported by ancient wisdom, to help me grow as a yoga practitioner – a student and a teacher.