Discussing yoga what instantly strikes our mind is the union. And by union, we mean the union of soul, mind and body. But do we realise what yoga is? I think most of us are not familiar with the real meaning of the term yoga, and that is perfectly alright as this is what we have been reading these years. What if I say that yoga is indeed a union but not of mind, body and soul but your inner consciousness with your spiritual power? A little confusing right?
Let me explain it to you. Yoga has been in practice since ancient times. Various saints and sadhus have used it as a powerful tool to spirituality, connect with God and set their paths towards liberation.
These days we have considered yoga as a trend or rather a status symbol. The forms have also changed like aerial yoga, power yoga and yin yoga. The very existence and originality of the term yoga has been missing. Yoga is a feeling, and it is a way to express yourself. It is finding and connecting with God and realising one’s inner worth. It means quitting all the five senses and listening to the supreme power within yourself.
The true meaning of yoga is self-realisation. It is contemplating one’s thoughts and understanding oneself completely. It is attaining inner peace and happiness free from all worldly possessions. This might sound a little obnoxious in this scenario, but it provides freedom from all the sufferings and confusions surrounding you. One feels that he or she is complete and feels a sense of fulfilment. It makes you more creative and supportive.
Yoga is a way of life. Yoga is there in all aspects of life. The lessons learnt in yoga can be beneficial in the real world. It awakens your senses and cleanses your thoughts and actions. Yoga is a broad term encompassing all the methods and techniques of meditation. It prepares our mind by doing away with negative energy and ideas and helps us in attaining self-knowledge or awareness. It helps in connecting with nature and understanding our true inner worth.
In the physical context, yoga balances and strengthens the muscles, organs of the body. It promotes overall health and keeps away from diseases and ailments. Yoga is equally essential to maintain harmony between body and health and mind and peace. The various asanas in yoga are helpful in reducing stress and anxiety, provide relief from severe diseases and relax the mind and body.
Since ancient times yoga has been considered as a verb. It was later when it was regarded as a noun. The term yoga can be better understood if we consider yoga as a verb. The verb is the act of doing something. When we consider yoga as a verb, we become a participant and engage in the whole process instead of just letting it do what it does. It helps in engaging and connecting with oneself. Indulging in yoga involves paying attention and acting to connect with oneself.
Yoga helps in becoming self-aware and understanding one’s body. Tools like emotions and mind can be used to understand how this system of yoga works and is relevant in practical life. Yoga might mean different for different people. It is the feeling that they have had when practicing yoga. It means realising your inner consciousness and attaining inner peace and happiness.
Twists are one of the postures of yoga asanas. They are beneficial in many ways. They help to improve the motion of the spinal cord. It also gives stretching to the muscles of the body. Twisting posture involves moving the shoulder girdles to face in the opposite direction. There are different twist postures that target other parts of the body and provide immense health benefits to it. I am a fan of the twists postures in yoga as I have now been doing it for a year. I started with this when I was suffering from severe digestion problems. Along with medications, I was also asked to practise yoga for better and fast relief.
Practising yoga twists has a lot of benefits and advantages.
Let’s discuss some of them below.
One of the most effective advantages of practising twist yoga is that it helps in improving the digestive system. It increases the blood circulation in the organs and promotes better digestion of the food. Such asanas with twists will help in providing relief from constipation and bloating.
As the machine needs lubricant to work. Similarly, the body also requires lubricant to work efficiently. With use, the muscles and spines become stiff. So, practising twist yoga helps in keeping the spinal tissues and nerves relaxed and mobile.
Practising twist postures in yoga also help to relieve stress and anxiety. These postures help in cleaning out all the negativity and tension from the mind and relaxes it. It opens up the chest, shoulders and back, which decreases the feeling of anxiety and calms the breath.
Practising twist yoga will help in releasing the toxins out of the body and supply new blood into the organs. The posture will cut off the oxygen for a while, and when we inhale, it will bring back a fresh dose of oxygen into the body which will increase the circulation of the blood in the organs. This helps in detoxifying the body. It removes all the impurities from the body.
Practising twists in yoga help to strengthen the muscles and provides relief from back pain. We mostly develop back problem because of our irregular routine and practices. Doing yoga with twists will stretch and strengthen the muscles to the core.
Practising twist yoga also helps in reducing abdominal fat and losing weight. It cuts excessive fat and shapes the body.
Twist yoga asanas like parvatasna, Ardhamatsyendrasana and Konasana are quite beneficial.
Twists postures are quite beneficial and should be practised for improving the overall health of the body. There are different yoga asanas which involve twists and help you relieve your stress and anxiety.
Mind cannot be controlled directly, because such a thing as Mind doesn't exist. How can something that doesn't exist be controlled? It is not, and there is nobody to control it. The inner emptiness - consciousness - can see what is taking place, but it cannot directly control. Consciousness can look, it can observe, but cannot control. Yet, paradoxically, the very looking is the way to control, the very phenomenon of observation, of witnessing, becomes the controlling mechanism because the mind disappears in that very looking. It is just like in a dark night, you are running fast because you have become afraid of somebody following you, and that somebody is nobody but your own shadow. And the more you run, the more the shadow gets closer to you. Howsoever fast you run makes no difference; the shadow is there. Whenever you look back, the shadow is there.
That is not the way to escape from it, and that is not the way to control it. You will have to look deeper into the shadow. Stand still and look deeper into the shadow; the shadow disappears because the shadow is not. A shadow is just an absence of light. Mind is nothing but the absence of your presence. When you sit silently, when you look deep in the mind, it will not be found, mind simply disappears. Thoughts will remain, they are existential, but mind will not be found.
But when the mind is gone then a second perception becomes possible: you can see thoughts are not yours. Of course they come, and sometimes they rest a little while in you, and then they go. You may be a resting place, but they don’t originate in you. Have you ever watched that not even a single thought has arisen out of you? Not a single thought has come through your being. They always come from the outside. They don’t belong to you. Rootless, homeless, they hover. Sometimes they rest in you, that’s all; a cloud resting on top of a hill. Then they will move on their own; you need not do anything. If you simply watch, control is attained.
The word 'control' is not very good, because words are not very good. Words belong to the mind, to the world of thoughts. Words cannot be very, very penetrating; they are shallow. The word 'control' is not good because there is nobody to control and there is nobody to be controlled. But tentatively, it helps to understand a certain thing which happens. When you simply look deeply, as a consequence, mind is controlled.
Suddenly you have become the master. Thoughts are there but they are no more masters of you, they cannot do anything to you; they simply come and go. You remain untouched just like a lotus flower amidst rainfall: drops of water fall on the petals but they go on slipping, they don’t even touch. The lotus remains untouched.
That’s why in the East lotus became so much significant, became so much symbolic. The greatest symbol that has come out of the East is the lotus. It carries the whole meaning of the eastern consciousness. It says, "Be like a lotus, that’s all. Remain untouched, and you are in control. Remain untouched and you are the master.”
Few things more about the mind before we can enter Patanjali’s sutras. From one standpoint, mind is like waves – a disturbance. When the ocean is calm and quiet, undisturbed, the waves are not there. When the ocean is disturbed in a tide or strong wind, when tremendous waves arise and whole surface is just a chaos, mind from one standpoint...
These are all metaphors just to help you to understand certain quality inside which cannot be said through words. These metaphors are poetic. If you try to understand them with sympathy, you will attain to an understanding. But if you try to understand them logically, you will miss the point. They are metaphors.
Mind is a disturbance of consciousness, just like an ocean with waves is a disturbance. Something foreign has entered – the wind. Something from the outside has happened to the ocean, or to the consciousness – the thoughts, or the wind, and there is a chaos. But the chaos is always on the surface. The waves are always on the surface. There are no waves in the depth – cannot be because in the depth the wind cannot enter. So everything is just on the surface. If you move inwards, control is attained. If you move inwards from the surface you go to the center; suddenly, the surface may still be disturbed but you are not disturbed.
The whole yoga is nothing but centering, moving towards the center, getting rooted there, abiding there. And from there the whole perspective changes. Now still the waves may be there, but they don’t reach you. And now you can see they don’t belong to you, just a conflict on the surface with something foreign. And from the center, when you look, by and by, the conflict ceases. By and by, you relax. By and by, you accept that of course there is strong wind and waves will arise; you are not worried, and when you are not worried even waves can be enjoyed. Nothing is wrong in them.
The problem arises because you are also on the surface. You are in a small boat on the surface and strong wind comes and it is tide, and the whole ocean goes mad. Of course, you are worried; you are scared to death. You are in danger. Any moment the waves can throw your small boat; any moment death can occur. What you can do with your small boat? How can you control? If you start fighting with the waves you will be defeated. Fight won’t help. You will have to accept the waves. In fact, if you can accept the waves and let your boat, howsoever small, move with them not against them, then there is no danger.
That is the meaning of Tilopa – ”loose and natural”. Waves are there; you simply allow. You simply allow yourself to move with them, not against them. You become part of them. Then tremendous happiness happens. That is the whole art of surfing: moving with the waves – not against, with them – so much so that you are not different from them. Surfing can become a great meditation. It can give you glimpses of the inner because it is not a fight, it is a let-go. Once you know that even waves can be enjoyed – and that can be known when you look the whole phenomenon from the center.
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