Inside Yoga 21

Category : General advice 6th March 2011

(First published 15/6/09)

When we feel down, sad, anxious or other negative emotions, one of the feelings that arise is a sense of separation.

A feeling of disconnection – from our bodies, from those around us, or perhaps, from everything. From this arises a feeling of isolation. This is where suffering (and by this, I mean anything from a slight irritation to serious situations) resides and grows. It feeds off our sense of separation.

So when we focus on our body and mind through yoga, we start the process of reconnecting. By simply bringing attention to your breath, and nothing else, we can feel so much better – a feeling of connection, as we merge our consciousness with the breathing.

And if we take that a bit further, by practising yoga asanas (postures) we make that connection stronger, so that it’s not just the breath that we are connecting with, but also the body.

These simple and fundamental factors might appear so straightforward that we can be lulled into a sense of false security, thinking that not a lot needs to be done to achieve this connection.

But that is not allowing for the power of thought to distract us from the practice of making a connection. A few seconds of distraction and we are off again, down the avenue of despair and the path of daydreams. Of course, there is a time and place to enjoy the odd daydream, but if we are honest with ourselves, we spend most of our time not connected with ourselves – that being our body, mind and soul. Instead we spend the majority of our time either in the future – planning – or in the past – replaying an event.

And that is where the negativity festers. It loves it when we are distracted, and therefore disconnected.

So that’s why yoga places so much emphasis on being connected with the breath, with the mind, and with the body.

By the way, by the mind I refer to the collective that consists of our thoughts. In a sense the mind does not exist without thought. Whereas the conscious Self is permanent, existing behind all the chatter of the mind and its delusions. Some call this the Witness – silently watching.

One of the reasons why we strive in yoga to feel connected, is the teaching of interdependence. This teaching reveals how, ultimately, everything is connected. The Earth cannot exist without the atmosphere. Our heart needs our brain. We cannot eat food without the farmer who makes it (unless we live by fruit from the forest, and then, we are dependent on the trees)… everywhere we look we see the interdependency of all things.

And then, when it comes to ourselves, in our yoga practice we see the interdependence within us.

For example, when we practice a standing posture we see what we do with our feet will affect the position and balance of our body. An action in the hips will affect our neck, and so on. The focus on our breath will affect the ability to open into a posture. Our yoga asana is a microcosm that reflects the macrocosm in the world beyond.

This simple truth, interdependency of all things, within us and beyond, is far reaching. By realising the interdependency of all things we can embrace this feeling of being connected, because whatever fluctuations of the mind and heart, we are still connected to everything around us – we simply need to realise this at all times.
Easier said than done, but worth striving for.

See for yourself: reflect on the interdependency of everything. Think of something, call it A, and see what it depends upon for its existence, call that B, and then think what B depends upon for its existence; and so on.

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