By Kimaya Singh
If yoga is all about the melding of mind, body and spirit, then how could yoga possibly heal a wounded person? In other words, could this lifestyle possibly remedy emotional turmoil, when an intellectual approach cannot unblock the problem?
Yoga is a Sanskrit word for union or joining together. It is much more than a series of exercises or asanas that stretch the human body physically. The student learns to function on an integrated whole, learning the powerful connection with proper breathing, focus, muscle control, etc.
When someone is experiencing emotional distress, they are not only acknowledging it in the brain, but the entire body is reacting through the vast nervous system. Our muscles have a tendency to tense up, our breathing could accelerate, stress hormones are released, inflammation can develop in the circulatory system, etc. Yoga teaches us to let go of the emotional toxicity that strikes us as human beings.
While performing yoga, the student immerses herself or himself in the movements, becoming conscious of one's organism. Not only do we feel the stretching, we become the stretching, not allowing our minds to wander, but to give total focus to our movements. As we adjust our body through various asanas and deep concentration, we are also releasing the constriction and liberating the flow of our prana or life force. The body and spirit are now relaxed, working in harmony with the mind to heal the emotional trauma.
Many experienced yoga teachers believe that we as human beings learn early on to block off painful experiences that we carry unconsciously throughout our lives. The gift of yoga teaches us to go deep and work with our emotions in a healthy way. There are even some asanas that may push one into confronting emotional issues, like the Camel. This position stretches just about every major muscle in the body. It's a vulnerable pose leaving your heart open. Some students have ended up sobbing following the Camel.
An old Yogic proverb says this: "Life is in the breath; therefore he who only half breathes, half lives."
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