How Does Yoga Work?
The exercises or postures of Yoga – “ Yoga Asana” are designed to put pressure on the glandular systems of the body, thereby increasing its efficiency and total health while strengthening and toning the limbs and detoxifying the body simultaneously.
The body is looked upon as the primary instrument that enables us to work and evolve in the world. The Yoga student treats it with great care and respect, bringing it into balance through attention to alignment and efficient use of the breath.
Breathing techniques are based on the concept that breath is the source of life in the body. The Yoga student gently increases breath control to improve the health and function of mind and body which allows the union of breath and movement to clear the blocked or restricted”nadis” – (energy channels) located throughout the body.
This permits and promotes the free flow of Prana or life force through the entire body, energising, healing, detoxifying, opening and softening. These two systems of exercise and breathing then prepare the body and mind for meditation, and the student finds an easy approach to quietening the mind that allows silence, reflection and healing from everyday stress.
Connecting the mind, body and breath helps us to direct our attention inwards. Through this process of inward attention, we learn to recognize our habitual thought patterns without labeling them, judging them, or trying to change them.
We become more aware of our experiences from moment to moment. The awareness that we cultivate is what makes Yoga a practice, rather than a task or a goal to be completed.
Regular daily practice of these three parts of the eight limbed system of Yoga produce a clear, bright mind and a strong, flexible and capable body. While modern Western Yoga classes generally focus on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th limbs, when all eight limbs are practiced regularly in harmony with one another, Yoga not only helps us move through the life we have been given with kindness, compassion and sincerity towards ourselves and others but brings a clarity and stability of mind enabling us to cope with the often cruel and harsh events in our world and brings us step by step towards self -realization.
Yoga is a valuable method for helping in the management of stress and improving overall health and well-being. Yoga therapy is widely used as a holistic system for promoting harmony at physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual levels.
When the delicate balance of these elements are disturbed by accident, illness (physical or mental) or stress, Yoga therapy can help restore and unite, regaining the balance by tailoring a yoga life style based on Patanjali’s eight limbs to the individual needs of the practitioner based on their personal challenges or health problems.