There is no simple answer and definition of yoga. For each individual, the ancient art and science of yoga could translate into varied experiences and feelings. Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word yuj, meaning union of the individual consciousness or soul with the universal consciousness or spirit. In recent times, yoga has gained popularity due to the numerous health benefits it provides. For many people yoga is only a form of physical exercise. But for true yoga enthusiasts, yoga invokes various outcomes. Some are particularly inspired by the spiritual element that yoga provides; while others swear by the resulting fitness and flexibility. Some people find solutions to suffering from varied health disorders and there are others who achieve a calm, stress-free mind and a fit body. Yoga is a method, technique through which the restless mind is calmed and the energy directed into constructive channels. The continued practice of yoga leads to a sense of peace and well-being, helping encounter reality as it is and making one look inwards.
The practice of yoga makes the body strong and flexible, improving functioning of the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and hormonal systems. When the body becomes more flexible, tensions, blockages, pains, fears, anxiety get released. With the practice of yoga asanas (postures), contraction and relaxation of the muscles occur together, along with the expansion and contraction of the breath and the synergy creates a flow, in sync with the rhythm of life and becoming one with it.
Osho says the whole yoga is a methodology: how to uncover it which is so hidden, how to open the doors within yourself, how to enter the temple that you are, how to discover yourself. Yoga tries step by step, to penetrate the inner mystery. With the practice of asanas and pranayams, doubts, fears, depression, stress… get disintegrated and the mind achieves a state of calmness. When mind is calm, there is an experience and sense of peace, emptiness and nothingness. This state of mind with regular and deeper practice, helps one to be calm, yet alert, look inwards, be in the centre and at peace with oneself, the surroundings and feel freedom from the past and fears of the future.
Yoga makes one look at life with faith, tolerance, joy, gratitude and helps one be more accepting of the present moment. This peace is no longer a fleeting feeling or moment, but part of one’s entire being.
Age is no bar, when it comes to the practice of yoga. Anyone and everyone can practice yoga, irrespective of age, body type, strength or experience. It’s never too late to start yoga and improve one’s body, mind and experience wellness, peace, strength and stability. All you need is to believe in yourself, have the will and dedication to practice and also a love to never give up and walk the path of a better life.
As one prepares to enter the path of yoga, one needs initiation, support, guidance and motivation, as in any other discipline, be it dance, martial arts, applied art… A disciple, says Osho, is one who is centered, humble, receptive, open, waiting, prayerful. In yoga, a master or teacher is absolutely necessary, for when you are in close proximity with a being who is centered, your own centering happens. When one is humble, receptive, one will become empty and the guru, master or teacher can pour himself\herself into you. With time, discipline and constant work, one can practice alone to discover and experience the changes that the practice brings in one’s life and being. If a bond with the master, is established, it will never be broken and the practitioner can keep returning to the master and go to the next level and dispel doubts and apprehensions.
Yoga can be beneficial during pregnancy, under the guidance of an experienced teacher. Yoga helps one breathe, relax, calms the mind and body, providing physical and emotional relief needed during pregnancy. For every trimester, there are specific asanas and pranayamas, and must be practiced under guidance and after consultation and approval of one’s doctor.
Yoga requires no complicated and extensive equipment, gadgets or props. All you need to begin the journey is a simple mat, made of either rubber or cotton and a cushion for those who need more support.
Yoga is freedom from bondages; it takes you beyond boundaries created by the mind and breaks barriers that are constructed with conditioning. Osho says yoga is the cessation of the mind, it takes you to a place where you can be a witness, when you don’t judge, condemn, and choose. One needs will power, discipline, dedication and complete surrender to practice yoga. You can choose to feel the power of yoga in a guided class or simply sit and practice in silence on your own. The choice is yours, the path is yours and it is all within you to liberate yourself and experience bliss.