Need Spirituality In Your Life? Yoga Can Help.
(adapted from my 200hr Yoga Teacher Training essay)
“This we know: The earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” –Words of Chief Seattle
Yoga can simply be a good workout, and that is fabulous! But it can also help you tap into your spirituality. The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj, meaning “to yoke,” or “to unite”. The practice aims to create a union of mind, body, and spirit, as well as between the individual self and universal consciousness.
Photo from Yoga En Fortaleza, Summer 2019.
I believe the core of spirituality is the understanding that there is a higher "source" or "power" that unites us all. Studies show that tapping into this sense of oneness, regardless of your religion, is key to leading a happier life. The essence of oneness is Love. In my experience, our modern society fails to instill this attitude as a premise for our way of life. Little thought is given to what we do on a day to day basis, and how our actions cause an effect in our world. If our actions are not aligned with love and compassion, then the effects they are creating likely won't be either. Yoga can help grow one’s awareness of this, which is known as karma.
Sadly, modern society has miseducated people, creating a culture that values material things or "success" over everything else. We are conditioned from an early age to pass judgment on others instead of having compassion for them, and to place self-interest above conscience. Society trains us to work to make money, so that we can pay for stuff we don’t really need, to achieve status or success. But material success alone (without any connection to Love) does not nourish the spirit. To quote writer Charles Bukowski, “what a circus! We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.” People who live their lives searching for material success become more and more separated from their spiritual selves. These people grow unhappy, cynical, jaded, addicted to entertainment, social media, alcohol, drugs, etc. to fill the spiritual void within. Our society's miseducation therefore starves the spirit and breeds mindlessness: mindless entertainment, mindless pursuits and mindless people. And the worst part is people believe they are exercising free will and control over their lives.
The reason most people feel dissatisfied or disconnected is because they are abiding by fake social norms and rules made up by other flawed humans, not by Divine Truths. Because humans take a lot of information for granted without taking a pause to really think about it, they are not accessing their inner wisdom. As a result, people live in "survival mode," feeling powerless to their surroundings, which is also an illusion. A regular yoga practice helps you see through the illusion. I believe that Yoga helps provide a change in mindset, tapping into Love, creating a feeling of empowerment and inspiring positive growth.
“All of the sons of Adam are part of one single body,
They are of the same essence.
When time afflicts us with pain
In one part of that body
All the other parts feel it too.
If you fail to feel the pain of others
You do not deserve the name of man.”
― Saadi Shirazi
Indeed all of us are born out of the same source of existence, and we are connected by the elusive concept of Spirit. Think of humanity as one single organism, composed of cells, each of which is an individual person. Like in any organism, some cells are healthy and some may turn toxic. We each have a responsibility to maintain our wellness by "purifying" ourselves for the greater good of humanity. Yoga can help purify each "cell" in our single consciousness system, eradicating fear and ego by creating a space of inner peace.
I hope this was helpful to you in understanding Yoga and spirituality.
Photo by surfyogui