In the yoga practice, particularly in the asana practice, we can explore the realms of the body and the mind; and, body-mind connection. If you have been practicing for a while, then you probably know how that the asana practice helps us create a deeper level of body awareness, which not only allows us to develop better and more beneficial physical alignment, but also allows us to immediately recognize whether something is feeling off in our body, thus avoiding any future discomfort and possible injuries from over-straining in certain asanas.
All our feelings are responses toward any input may be categorized into three main groups: like, dislike, and neutral. When we move our body during the asana practice, we are creating internal heat, and forcing the energy to flow in certain directions within our body — the nature of the particular posture you are performing can either create comfort, discomfort, or even a neutral state. Likewise, when the body moves through an asana sequence, different emotions different emotions or imprints on the mind that have been stored in our subconscious and in our muscles may be resurface — and, again, our feelings towards them may either be pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.
As these feelings occur in our practice, our breathing is what is going to allow us to observe all these fluctuations of the mind without getting attached to the said feelings. When we develop the ability to observe them, acknowledge them, and let them go, we begin to purify the mind, as this releasing process will reduce the amount and/or intensity of negative feelings such as anger, desire, or delusion — all of which are by-products of this lifetime and previous lives. Once we get detach ourselves and our mind from all of the anger, desire, and delusion through the powerful practice of acknowledgement, it is said that we will no longer be part of Samsara or the cycle of birth and death.
It is important to keep in mind that the asana practice can help you purify the mind only up to a certain extent because it mainly cultivates concentration, and not enough mindfulness, which is what is needed to be able to observe the full spectrum of the mind fluctuations. At one point, it is necessary to combine the asana practice with a form of mindfulness-based meditation.
A constant meditation practice will not only assist in purifying the mind and body in a deeper level, but will also allow you to do your asana practice in a more efficient way. The reason for this is because a mindfulness-based meditation will sharpen your awareness enough to be able to access different groups of muscles in a more subtle and refined way — particularly, your connection with your bandhas or energy locks will improve.
These are only a few of the endless benefits one may reap from a meditation practice. How will this affect your daily life? Find out as we discuss this in our next article.