It’s the inner quietness- the kind where you hear a penny drop. The quietness that allows you to hear birds chirping. The quietness that allows you to hear wind blowing The quietness that allows you to hear the natural buzzes of life.
This is why we do yoga. In the spaces of inner quietness, we begin to appreciate life on a different level. We begin to slow our brains down enough to be attentive to the little things in life. Put simply, we begin to “stop and smell the roses.”
How does this happen? Part of it is magic. The other part is science. The short scientific answer: breathing. The long answer: breathing allows our Parasympathetic Nervous System, our rest and restore control, to rejuvenate. We learn to calm ourselves down, essentially. This is one of the reasons why you might have noticed such a heavy focus on breathing in yoga classes.
First we practice physical Asana—this is the portion of yoga that most people are familiar with. Downward dogs, Warrior poses, child pose, etc. After the physical practice comes relaxation and meditation. Once we have exerted our bodies, we are more easily able to rest and relax. This is why you may have experienced some heavy relaxation during Savasana.
What you might not know is that the intended purpose of yoga is to prepare for meditation and reach a state of enlightenment. It is a means to an end. The end being: Enlightenment or Ananda—meaning complete and utter bliss. This is the 7th Chakra, located at the crown of the head. It is said that when you’ve hit your 7th chakra, your head blossoms a thousand lotus petals pointing in every direction.
The lotus blooms from the muddiest of waters. This is why people come to yoga for change, for transformation. It changes people–sometimes in little ways, sometimes in big ways. It turns mud into flowers. Whatever you come to yoga for, I can promise you that in some way you’ll leave different then when you came.
Yoga works for everybody because it’s a way of living, not a particular pose. It’s a way of living that emphasizes moral code, acceptance, breathing, and honoring all forms of life. It’s a way of living that acknowledges the light within all beings. May the light that resides within me honor the light that resides within you. Namaste.