What is the aim of yoga? or what is the aim for the person who practices yoga? Well clearly there are many benefits and reasons to practice yoga. There are also many varied reasons why people become interested in yoga. This is all good.
Looking at the fundamental and essential nature of yoga we find that the real goal is that of quieting the mind. Not making it dull, not turning it off. The mind like a muscle is useful and has it’s purpose. However we tend to find our minds all over the place allot of the time. Most of our real problems emanate from the mind.
In other articles I have looked at Raja yoga and Hatha yoga. Hatha (any physical yoga) was created to prepare one for raja yoga (yoga of the mind). Therefore when practising yoga and following yoga we will potentially become engaged with the real purpose of yoga. Yoga means union, union of what? To all of our nature, a harmonious interplay of our different aspects. Our mind is the control centre and that is the main focus for yoga.
To still the mind, “Cessation of the fluctuations of the mind stuff” (patanajali yoga sutras). If we are to still the mind we will need to meditate. In order to meditate we need to be able to sit still long enough to meditate without discomfort. When we practice postures (physical yoga) and breathing (pranayama) we need to ensure we are cultivating the cornerstones for yoga.
Therefore when practising any form of yoga, any type of practice it must help cultivate following qualities, or at least not disturb them.
- Quite mind
- Develop Concentration
- Heighten Awareness
- Bring you close to the moment of now
In order to achieve these things we can focus our practice on.
- Opening the body to be able to sit for meditation without discomfort.
- Cultivate concentration and awareness
- Remove the afflictions of body any mind
- Learn to meditate whilst practicing yoga
- Gain an understanding of the effects of yoga off the mat
- Realise that yoga is practiceable during ones whole day
During a typical yoga class you can work on these qualities and goals in order to explore the real purpose and meaning behind yoga. You can work your practice to be more mindful, to develop a meditative approach. There is allot you can do to deepen your yoga practice on and off the matt, and in and out of class.
On meditation it’s important to note sitting meditation is not the only way to medidate, but it is an important one.
Posted in About Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga (Yoga Sutras)