Yoga is often associated with physical flexibility, but I can say from personal experience that it is so much more than that. Physical poses are one beneficial aspect of yoga, but many more components help bring us into the realm of mental peace, stillness and happiness.
Yoga is like a ladder with multiple rungs, and more than half of these rungs are focused on the mental aspect of our well-being. Ancient yoga texts describe yoga as a practice to still the fluctuations of the mind, so if you’ve ever grappled with a noisy, restless mind, you’re not alone – it’s a universal human condition and not just a modern problem.
In this episode, I introduce you to the eight elements of yoga: the Yamas and Niyamas, which are attitudes and beliefs that create the conditions for a calm mind. The next is asana, the physical poses, followed by breathwork, sensory awareness (pratyahara), concentration, meditation, and finally, Samadhi – the blissful state of a completely still mind.
One of the most powerful revelations in yoga is the understanding that we are not our thoughts. For many of us, our thoughts define our identity, and it’s a challenging notion to accept that we are something more profound. I share how stepping back from your thoughts and recognising them as mere objects within your awareness can bring immense peace and relief, especially during stressful times.
Another secret to happiness that completely shifted my mental space is the recognition that our thoughts aren’t always true. While some thoughts reflect reality, many are partial truths or outright fabrications. Learning to challenge the truth of our thoughts and cultivating awareness can free us from the grip of negative thinking.
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