Thank you to Adina V., teacher training graduate of the Dr. Bali Method, for contributing this piece.
Mind, body and soul are the constituent elements of human life. These three components of life collectively create our human experience. Through our body, we experience the world through the senses of hearing, sight, smell and touch, which provide the body with the information for perception. Our bodies enable the mind and soul with manual dexterity. Every organ and flawlessly designed system in the body is constantly being maintained and regulated by trillions of cells working together in perfect harmony nonstop. The body is a magical work of art, but what keeps this system of information and energy functioning the way it does is the invisible mind and soul. The mind is composed of the stream of thoughts that confine and captivate our mental state, dictating our physical state of being. Thoughts are merely images attached to perceptions which effect an individual’s mood and personality, situating a person in time and space based on their history and karma. The mind is usually full of thoughts and rationality, emotions, judgements, speculations and projections, but when the mental dialogue is quieted through practicing meditation, the mind becomes still and open. With a still mind comes a deeper awareness of the soul, or the invisible force that provides life and love. Yoga provides a system that quiets the mind and nervous system, making room for realizations and providing a holistic medicine for the entire body.
It is necessary to honour, celebrate and heal the mind, body and soul on a regular basis. Yoga poses, pranayama and meditation provide the tools to create an evolution of consciousness, which in turn positively effects the quality of a person’s life.
Yoga positively effects the entire body on a physical level through strengthening and stretching muscles, aiding the organs and detoxing systems, and allowing for a healthy flow of prana life force energy by maintaining the nadis and chackra energy centers. The meditative state that accompanies the physical workout allows for one-pointed concentration, significantly increasing the health benefits of a practice. Many postures help with circulation, which helps bodily functions and boosts the immune system. For example, practicing shoulder stands reverses the blood flow which helps the lymphatic system, responsible for a huge amount of bodily functions including properly expelling waste. The pose aids the thyroid and parathyroid glands and effortlessly pumps the heart with blood. Since I have been practicing this pose regularly, this winter I have not gotten sick a single time, and I used to get colds every other week. Asanas give the body an opportunity to tap into the inner pharmacy, awakening the powers of health, unity and the regulation of systems. Having a healthy body greatly effects a person’s quality of life and increases their human potential. On a physical level a person can find peace, unity and an infinity of resources through practicing yoga.
Yoga, however, is more than just a well balanced workout because it involves a healing and growing process for the mind. This is of the utmost importance because the mind is an imprint of the body and creates an individual’s reality. Clearing the mind during yoga and meditation allows a yoga aspirant to conserve and generate mental energy by creating a space of clarity. The mind has a logical purpose because it enables us to function in the world, but with an absence of mind the profound source becomes apparent and intuition is amplified. This silent place that yoga provides should be explored and used for self realizations, which enhance feelings of life fulfillment.
When the mental chatter (the active mind) is silenced during a yoga practice, a person is left at peace with their soul, their true nature, the essence of their being that is always there but is clouded by the constant dialogue of thoughts.
People are naturally inclined to constantly seek physical and emotional security, living in fear of what could happen and working to create a stable life, attached to a physical reality that is ever-changing. This creates a rollercoster of ups and downs, wins and losses all fueled by doubt, fear and distrust. By taming the mind, a person can work on fulfilling more profound spiritual goals such as feelings of love and compassion and a quest to receive and give back to the universe. When a person’s sense of spiritual security develops, it is beyond the physical world: ageless, timeless, omnipresent and eternal. Through introspection, yoga provides a path to a permanent spiritual security, which elevates the quality of life. A crucial transition must be made: a yoga aspirant must ultimately trust in the universe to become free.
Through a fundamental trust, yoga creates unity with the self and the exterior world, united by the source. This implies trust in an individual’s body and infinite healing powers, trust in the power of the mind and trust in the universe. With a strong sense of unity of the mind, body and soul comes liberation. When we are silent, lying on our backs observing the rise and fall of our breath, calming the nervous system, the left brain hemisphere becomes silent and all that is left is universal love and feelings of assimilation. Practicing being fully present, our potential completely opens up and we realize that we are a part of everything and we can do anything. Once a person becomes aware that they are a part of the universal love, that space of joy and health becomes forever available.
There is a field of invisible love around you at this given moment that you can consciously choose to tap into and utilize.
Thus, yoga provides a healthy evolution for the mind, body and soul that brings greater feelings of joy, fulfillment and spiritual security.