Yoga and meditation is a way of connecting to my soul~
Chopra Center Question – How does Yoga connect me to my soul?
Yoga takes you into the quiet stillness within your body, mind and spirit. Movement aligned with breath awareness is the key. Yoga when synchronized with breath, a long with one of the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success; you are better able to experience deeper levels of yourself. With a daily message, breath and gentle movement you can transcend your physical body, beyond the subtle body (mind, intellect, ego) and ultimately go to that universal state of oneness with yourself. When practicing; you feel a deep sense of being at home.
Yoga is not about the position, or asana as many Western schools of yoga teach, asana is just one limb of yoga as described by Sage, Rishi Patanjali. When we combine all eight branches of yoga, we become one with self and the universe. The branches of yoga are Yama (rules of social behavior) Niyama (rules of personal behavior), Asana (or seat), Pranayama (your life force or breath), Pratyahara (turning inward, withdrawing from sense stimulation) Dharana (mastery of attention and intention), Dhyana (development of witnessing awareness) and Samadhi (a state of being settled in pure, unbounded awareness). When we combine all eight branches of yoga, we experience oneness. Our ethics are unique, we practice right action, engage in conscious breathing practices to enhance health, and clarity. All positions or movements become graceful and we witness the messages our body’s make without judgment. Through withdrawing from sense stimulation and turning inward, we begin to experience Samadhi, or bliss, the union of mind, body and spirit. We go from a state of feeling individual or separate to a state of feeling universal, a oneness with all that is.
Through yoga and meditation, you begin to trust yourself, recognizing that fear is just a thought that comes from our subtle body, our mind, ego, or intelligence. Through trust, we allow our hearts to guide us to higher states of consciousness. When you truly begin to understand the messages of your body, and how your physiology ties into your thoughts, words, and deeds, you will find yourself desiring to choose the most nourishing choices for you and those you love, during all seasons of your life.
Yoga is perfect for all levels of condition, yoga nor meditation are competitive sports. Understand that each experience is unique and as you honor the needs of your body, you can perform yoga and meditation for longer periods of time, creating balance, harmony, rejuvenating and restoring a sense of perfect well being. Learn to just be, listen to the sound of your breath, and create a sacred space within your body for your soul. There may be days when you prefer to stay in savasana, or balasana, other days, you’ll practice head stands. Whatever you choose to do, enjoy, and don’t worry, yoga is the union of mind-body-spirit, it is the union with yourself. Meditate and radiate full, complete health, move with grace, effortlessly and easily. Be one with all and celebrate this space we call spirit.
Six Motions of the Spine
Energy enlivening poses: Six Motions of the Spine
The spine moves in six directions. To lengthen and strengthen the spine it is advisable to practice the six motions of the spine daily. Most importantly, be comfortable, sit straight like a king or a queen with your shoulders back and down. Sit in comfortable lotus, or easy sitting pose with ankles crossed. We will be following your breath, inhaling and exhaling with movement and full awareness. While sitting, it is important to keep the buttocks firmly pressed into the mat or chair. This sequence of movements align with breath and is fun to do and can be practiced on the mat, or in a chair.
The spine moves forward and back, opening the front and back of the chest. Performed with the movement of the breath and the benefits provide nourishment for the lungs as well as the spine. As you inhale, lift your face towards the sky-lifting through the chest, neck and face. Exhale, and bring your chin towards your chest, softening your lower back, contracting your stomach muscles inward, strengthening the core muscles in your abdomen. Do this movement for a minimum six times, tune into the slowness of the motion as you inhale, and exhale full deep breaths. Try saying ahhh through your mouth as you exhale breath.
Side to side movement of the spine is enhanced with breath. Inhale straighten the spine, exhale side bend to alternate sides. Do this for six sets. Flow with the breath, maintaining the hips on the floor, chair, or earth below you.
Now sitting straight, inhale raise arms to the sky, while exhaling, turn to the left with palm facing upward, opposite arm behind the body. Inhale straighten arms reaching towards the sky, and exhale to the opposite side with opposite hand on top of knee palm facing upward, hand flush against back.
Remember to allow the breath to guide the movement of your body. Allow your head to follow your arms, turning side to side. You may enjoy neck circles, making full, deep circles extending the neck muscles to follow the movement. Enjoy, and remember to say silently to yourself, “I am strong, I am healthy, I am fluid, I am flexible like a reed.”