While some hit the yoga mat for a toned body, others are looking to connect with the practice on a spiritual level. For many people, spirituality is what makes yoga so special. In this article, we explore this in more detail and look at connecting to the seed of spiritual yoga.
There are many physical benefits of yoga. Regular practice develops your strength, stamina and flexibility and tones each muscle group. However, there is more to yoga than the physical benefits. It’s also a mental practice that enables you to overcome psychological challenges and emotional stress. If you attend a yoga class merely for the physical benefits, you’re missing out on a core part of the practice. While the health benefits of yoga are certainly worthwhile, without the spiritual side of the practice it’s nothing more than a gym session, a stretching class or a place for relaxation. If you allow yourself to delve deeper into yoga, you’ll find so much more.
If you want to get the most from your yoga practice, you must allow yourself to be aware of the spirit. In yoga, the spirit is not a supernatural being or a ghostly spirit; instead, it’s higher consciousness; a motivation, driving force and the reason behind everything we think and do. Being aware of the spirit is the first step to connecting to the seed of spiritual yoga.
Think of the mat as your mirror. When you’re on the mat, take time to learn about the different ways you think, act and react. Discover your true self and develop an awareness of yourself as you move deeper into the practice. By creating this awareness, you can transform your mind and better the way you live your life, think about yourself and how you interact with others.
Remember that awareness doesn’t always take you to the place you want to go to. The spiritual side of yoga is not about changing your life so you can be a better person, bag a new job or earn more money. The practice is not about removing the negative aspects of your lifestyle or personality by controlling your mind. Instead, awareness should do exactly what the word suggests – allow you to become aware of yourself and the world around you. Through this, we learn that there is no such thing as a perfect life. There will always be negative aspects of life that we would rather do without. However, connecting with the spiritual side of yoga can help you to stand tall regardless of your circumstances by being aware of yourself and your situation.
Often in life, we focus on our physical performance or analyse our actions instead of just being. To develop an awareness, you need to take the necessary time and space to connect with yourself. Thankfully, yoga allows us to do that. Most instructors teach the importance of a quiet mind. One of the best ways to do this is by pushing yourself through a series of postures until you’re tired enough to let go and let your mind wander into its inner, sacred space. When this happens, sit back, relax and simply be. Don’t force any thoughts or emotions, but if any do pop up, be aware of them. Be aware of how you feel and be grateful for everything around you. The ability to take this peace and gratitude away from the yoga mat is what makes yoga a spiritual practice.
The spiritual side of yoga aims to rid your mind of negative thoughts by relaxing it and promoting a positive atmosphere. When we hold asanas for an extended duration, the mind is transported into a peaceful state where it can focus on self-transformation.
Mantra chanting is another great way to connect to the seed of spiritual yoga. Repeating the divine sounds of OM Shanti, OM and Gayatri Mantra can quiet the mind and keep us present. Each mantra carries a spiritual energy that benefits the physical, emotional and spiritual health of those who practice it. The frequency of the chants can also alter the vibrations of life to benefit the body and mind. Spiritual mantra chanting was traditionally used in India but is now practised all over the world.
Though yoga is a spiritual practice, it’s not a religion. To connect to the seed of spiritual yoga, it doesn’t matter what faith you have, or if you have any at all. Yoga is not a religious practice and the spiritual side of it isn’t linked to any specific form of worship. When translated from Sanskrit, the word yoga means to unite. Practitioners interpret this union in different ways. Some people think of it as the union of the mind, body and spirit, others believe it to be the union of all aspects of yourself, while some yogis believe it to be the union of themselves and a spiritual force. To connect with the spiritual side of yoga, you can believe in a God or Gods, or nothing at all. Some practitioners compare an asana sequence to a prayer. You can move through the postures quietly and reverently while remained focused on your breath.
The spiritual side of yoga is all about cultivating wholeness and connecting with the inner self. While some practitioners unite with a higher being, others focus on the spiritual union of every aspect of themselves. If you’re struggling to clear your mind, you may find yoga jewellery beneficial. One of the most popular pieces works as a single tone flute to relax and focus the mind. Whichever way you choose to do it, sit back, relax and calm your mind to connect to the seed of spiritual yoga.