“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” Carl Jung
More than a year ago I wrote about how meditation changed my life, but the real change began a few years before when I decided to sign up to pilates classes due to my back issues.By then I did not know that decision was the begining of my journey. Some might think it was destiny. I rather think everything I have experience after that moment led me to this precise moment in which I write these lines somewhere in the middle of India. What my Pilates teacher taught me was to heal my body through postures from the ancient art of yoga. Today I have learned to heal my mind and to find my true self and I use yoga techniques aswell.
For westerners yoga is just a bunch of weird poses that helps us strecthing our muscles and corrects our body posture. We may not be prepared to know the whole truth. After years of practice I know now physical yoga is only a tiny part of what the word implies. Yoga means literally union and in the West we have translated it as “Union of body, mind and soul”. Actually, the body is only a tool to achieve the true purpose of yoga, “Samadhi”. This word in Sanskrit means “eternal rest” and it is similar to what Buddhists call “Nirvana”.
This summer a friend asked me why it is such an addictive practice. I think the reason is because it allows us to get to know ourselves, not only in a physically way but also in a spiritually way. We use yoga to awaken our consciousness and start the path to our true self making the unconscious conscios, as the German psychologist Carl Jung says.
In the year 300 BC, Patanjali wrote the “Yoga Sutras”, known as the yoga bible. He collected all the information written in India until the moment about yoga practice. Patanjali describes 8 components:
– Yamas: Self-control and habits for a healthy life.
– Niyamas: Positive practices or spiritual disciplines
– Pranayama: Energy control through the breath
– Asana: It literally means posture and is what in the West we know as yoga. However the meaning is much deeper. We should perform the posture with the body, but also with the senses, the mind, the intellect and our whole self.
– Prathayara: Withdrawal of the senses or internalize them so that they do not deconcentrate us.
– Dharana: Concentration
– Dhyana: Meditation
– Samadhi: Complete absorption or eternal rest
These 8 principles describe what I have been practicing in my life since I began in the yoga path. It has not been easy but everything has a reward. Thanks to yoga I have learnt to take care of myself, to start knowing myself, to heal myself, to respect myself, to love myself, how to detach, to drop my ego, to stop comparing myself with others and million other things I am still working on. I simply practice yoga because Google can not answer all the questions.