Coming from India and being a new-age spiritual junkie, it’s not a big surprise that I chose to talk about yoga. I like to call it a spiritual workout.
Yoga is a highly underestimated practice. While reducing stress is one of its most obvious advantages, there’s a lot more depth behind it, and many people aren’t necessarily aware of the value that it adds to our lives.
The meaning of the word yoga itself is the union of mind and spirit — the ego and the transcendental self. This says a lot about the very essence of this practice.
The ego, or our individual psyche, is the three-dimensional mundane mind that tirelessly works every second of every day for the rest of our lives. It is where thoughts are generated, and it is what dominates the human aspect of us. Unfortunately, many of us lead lives completely dominated by our egos, and we act upon them.
This is precisely what yoga corrects. It helps us achieve a balance between the mundane and the spiritual.
In new-age spiritual terminology, we call our true essence the “I am” presence. It is the soul that exists beneath all the veils of humanness. What yoga helps us achieve is not just a relief from stress and anxiety, but also a sense of clarity. It gently teaches us to stay still amidst the turmoil around us.
Scientists and spiritual gurus alike can agree that all matter around us is just energy. Fundamentally, we are all energy. We translate energy into our lives as thoughts, emotions, and the things we see, hear and touch. But how many times do we really flow with this energy instead of resisting it?
You may be familiar with meditation, which helps to reduce our resistance to the free-flowing energy around us; Yoga is not much different. It’s a kind of movement meditation that focuses more on stillness and breathing as a way to exercise. Many health experts say that breathing — one of the most basic processes in our body — can cure almost any illnesses, weight problems and stress-related health issues. Yoga emphasizes the importance of practicing breathing correctly, which is why it goes hand-in-hand with meditation.
Our lives are completely filled with people to meet, jobs to finish, money to earn and responsibilities that are calling out to us from everywhere. For students, making it through a new semester in college, it can appear challenging to keep yourself together and stay centered, which is why I recommend starting your day with an hour of yoga. It can prepare you for the rest of the day in ways you cannot imagine and will lead you right back to a way of living that is less about surviving and more about thriving.