THE MYRIAD benefits of sustaining a yoga practice are quite obvious to most people by now; not only to find comfort, suppleness and strength in our bodies but also to enjoy the manifest quietening and relaxing effects on our mind.
If this is all that we seek then that is already more than helpful, however if we were to delve deeper into the spiritual reasons for our practice we might come to experience revolutionary realisations that arise spontaneously and compel us to dive even deeper to dismantle everything that we believe about ourselves.
The nature of yoga is to shine the light of awareness into the darkest corners of the mind/body matrix, which becomes a laboratory of consciousness, a field of exploration into the truth of our own existence.
The beauty of yoga is that it is non-denominational; it is not a religious practice rather it is a spiritual practice, although it does embrace all belief systems.
Ultimately, liberation is the main reason why we practice yoga and remains our endgame through the trials and joys of our practice.
We gradually develop spiritual intelligence with our practice that includes bodywork, breath work and mind focus, as we willingly proceed to peel off, like shedding an onionskin, each layer of falsity, or whom we are not to expose the real occluded Self.
It is revealed that it is only the thoughts and the illusions that they weave that stand between who we think we are and who we are.
When we are not attached to whom we think we are, life can move through us, playing us like an instrument.
Understanding how everything is in continual transformation, we release our futile attempts to control circumstances.
When we live in this easy connection with life, we live in joy; the compelling gift that keeps us on the path of yoga.
Freedom from conditioned existence
The real meaning of yoga is ‘union’ (‘yuj’ meaning to yoke together) - to unite our individual consciousness with universal consciousness or the absolute.
Yoga is not just something we do, it is a state of Being that is both the path and the final goal to transcend our egoic sense of self and realise that our highest human potential is infinite, eternal and whole.
Yoga offers us a systematic process of physical, psychological and spiritual purification to attain freedom (Kaivalya) from the entrenched, conditioned patterns that subconsciously drive our negative behaviours and bind us to the wheel of suffering.
Yoga is a way to loosen and delete the negative conditioning, so that we may experience life and the world as they truly are and not according to painful imprints of our past.
Yoga is a state of being where we are fully present to ourselves and to the world around us.
In the words of Jack Kornfield: “Enlightenment is intimacy with all things.”
Yogis see the world saturated with the spirit of the Divine and that includes our self; our true Self as immortal, Superconscious Being and as that Being, we are unlimited and free.
Indeed, the impulse towards transcendence is a primary and omnipresent force intrinsic to human life, even if it is mostly occluded.
We are subject to feelings of sorrow, insecurity and fear because we have separated ourselves from the experience of the whole.
Our human conditioning means we identify ourselves with the limitations of the body, mind and senses, leaving us feeling incomplete and limited.
This is called Avidya or ‘not seeing’.
Between heaven and earth
Our bodies and our breath are the essential tools that are immediately available to us to proceed with this spiritual work and they bring us directly into present time and our interior world.
Yoga is very much about how we relate to the earth by coming home to the sensing, feeling body and aligning it with ease to the Natural forces that surround it so completely.
Yoga could be broadly termed as how we consciously conduct ourselves between earth and the sky (heaven).
The sensing body is not a programmed machine but an active and open form, continually improvising its relation to things and the world.
Yoga helps us harness and better utilise our proportioned Prana, the very life force itself and increases our awareness and receptivity of how it flows through us.
Moving towards Stillness
The great yogic sage Patanjali’s 2nd Sutra, defines that the foremost aspiration of yoga is to quieten the fluctuations of the mind. (Yoga chitta vritti nirodha).
The disciplines of asana (poses) and pranayama (breath work) help us find comfort and spaciousness in the body and enhance our ability to sustain single-pointed focus (meditation).
Eventually this leads us into the perfect stillness of the mind, which is the essential precursor to Self-realisation – the awakening to our intrinsic blissful nature.
The body and mind gracefully and spontaneously moves towards stillness, which becomes the natural and spiritually fruitful conclusion to our practice.
Utter stillness in the midst of motion and commotion is the essential characteristic of reality; free of will, direction and time. It is a complete letting be of what is from moment to moment.
At last we truly understand why we do yoga.
Prana rich plants and oils - the Yogi’s allies
Specific regenerative herbs and extracts treat and prevent disease but are also invaluable for awakening our higher faculties.
Plants help catalyse processes that are otherwise not easy to achieve for the disciplined spiritual practitioner when great demands are made on the body and mind.
Herbs that calm the central nervous system and facilitate the process of insight and meditation are pertinent choices for the serious aspirant.
Herbs work mainly at the energetic level, beyond the physical body and their effects are subtler than food and at a heavier level than mental and sensory influences.
They enhance the pranic processes of growth and elimination, linking body and mind together, stimulating its flow throughout the myriad energy (nadi) network.
Essential nervine herbs improve the function of the mind, senses and perception.
Purifying the body is a foundational yogic practice so cooling, cleansing and detoxifying herbs help facilitate this.
In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra IV.I it is suggested that aspiring yogis may achieve accomplishments with the help of medicinal plants, herbs and incense along with devotional practice, profound meditation and mantras.
All of the Tinderbox pure plant products support and enhance the sattvic (harmonious) yogic lifestyle, because they all promote a healthful, holistic life, whereby all facets of the human being are honoured, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
Indeed each pure plant product catalyses the realisation of our innate healing nature, they all enhance the flow of vital force, igniting the intrinsic spark within to shine more brightly.
We become ready to grow out of a limited way of being into a lighter, higher functioning, vibrating Being of love, light and bliss.
Tinderbox offers you an informative collection of Yoga posters to adorn your Yoga studio or your personal practice space. Each poster encapsulates the fundamental philosophies of Yoga; simple, accessible concepts in a visually beautiful and compelling design.
This ultimate collection reminds us why we do yoga: to realise the vastness of our Spirit awake and make our human body a shrine to that Spirit.
Ten, full-colour laminated A3 posters are available individually or as a complete set.