Spirituality is a concept open to many perspectives. One general understanding of spirituality is the state of total connect to something more meaningful than ourselves. Without that element in our yoga sessions, yoga offers not all that different benefit from any other form of exercise.
Through yoga, we can find our unique sense of spiritual being. We can achieve all of the benefits that come along with exploring a more profound understanding of what it means to be alive.
Consciousness is an idea that may be more easily expressed in terms of the ego. Until we can occupy a higher state of consciousness, our world revolves around ourselves, and our own successes and survival.
It is natural to live in this state of the ego or lower consciousness, where what we know is how to react or place blame on others, and we lack awareness of our true or higher purpose.
On our yoga mat, we come face to face with ourselves, as we slow down and see the problems in our ways and our imperfections. As acceptance of ourselves becomes like second nature, it too becomes more challenging to lack understanding and empathy for others and their faults.
We also begin to understand that the reactions of others are a result of their personal afflictions or primitive mindsets, rather than spend time concerning ourselves with how their actions involve or affect us.
As we treat ourselves and others with kindness through understanding, the world becomes a much more loving and lighter space for everyone to establish a sense of belonging.
Letting Go of Control
In yoga, the asanas or postures, teach us about ourselves. You may have heard the saying or reminder from your yoga teacher, that tells you yoga is not about what you look like in the posture, but how you arrive there.
By learning how you are in each moment, you can turn your focus instead to how you would like to be in each pose. By literally using the posture as a physical space to invite in more ease or relaxation, we learn to carry those qualities into our daily lives intentionally.
Similarly, the poses are a tool to gain acceptance as we notice things such as the fact that we are criticizing ourselves. Do we feel embarrassed because we can not reach our toes? Are we upset that we cannot achieve a fuller expression of the pose? Eventually, we learn to breathe through these feelings of self-judgment and start choosing self-talk that actually serves our best interest.
It is an incredible feeling to be liberated from our thoughts, through merely learning to accept them first. It is freeing to be able to lose balance and fall over in a class, and be okay with it, and know that we can also accept whatever else happens in our lives off of the yoga mat.
A Deeper Connection
Yoga brings about a higher level of awareness, and with that comes a deeper sense of the energetic world within and around us. When we begin to see and feel that the world is abundant with energy, we naturally tend to tap more into it and realize our infinite potential.
Furthermore, through cultivating a connection between our bodies and minds, we connect deeper with who we are, and not just on the surface level through which we have always defined ourselves.
Self-awareness has many benefits in and of itself and is the key to realizing not only the impact we have on this earth but the impact our minds have on our actions.
You have heard before that knowledge is power, and in this case, self-knowledge empowers us to make choices that resonate with us and make us happy, in order to live our fullest and most authentic lives.
Yoga not only teaches us to live in the present moment but reminds us that this present moment is all that truly exists. Through looking at the present with this lens, we begin to receive it as if it were a divine gift from a god or from the universe.
The ability to be grateful and cherish each moment is such a powerful practice because we become more selective and intentional about how we choose to spend our time here on earth.
The more value we place on our lives and livelihoods, the more naturally we begin to align with our purpose. Perhaps our purpose is simply to find more meaning in our days, and whatever we choose to connect more deeply with, whether it is ourselves, others, or nature, is a meaningful and sacred right.
Being in present also helps in getting rid of stress and anxiety, because we are not dwelling on a moment that has already happened or worried for one that is yet to come.
In this way, practicing presence is another way to learn acceptance; when we surrender to life as it is, we achieve spirituality because we have reached a harmonious state between ourselves and the universe.
Finding a Moral Code
What makes yoga different from other forms of exercise is that it is built on philosophical concepts and teaches fundamental principles in order to access all of these aforementioned spiritual benefits.
In yoga, we can choose to follow the guidelines written in yogic philosophy or ancient texts, such as non-violence or truthfulness. These core principles help and lead us to enlightenment, yet we are free to develop our own compasses as well.
For instance, many yoga practitioners may believe strongly in the idea of karma, but perform actions and make choices according to what they personally think aligns with karma.
No matter which moral laws or guidelines one may follow, if any, yoga remains a practice that helps people become more mentally disciplined, spiritually awakened.
Yoga helps focus the mind in order to manifest the self-control and mental strength necessary to achieve what we want out of this life and become our highest selves. Maybe your mantras, guidelines, focuses, or beliefs are simple. Perhaps the only moral code you adhere to in yoga is just to be more positive and optimistic towards life.
Nevertheless, to live each moment with faith and hope is to embrace the unseen, and there is nothing quite as spiritual as trusting ourselves us as we step out into the unknown.