And it’s important to understand that yoga is about recovery and healing. It’s about wellness, and that should be the focus wherever yoga is practiced and taught.
Yoga is not “owned” by the far eastern Indian people. It is owned by any creature that can live in the moment, be in accordance with nature, and practice compassion. There have been many clans and tribes of people throughout history who understood the meaning of yoga.
One of the beautiful things about yoga is that you get a “two for one” every time. If you work on concentrating in the present moment you train your mind to be focused, which of course is of great benefit to a thinking rational creature. And you also get physical strength, flexibility, and relief from injury, not to mention a beautifully sculpted body over time.
In movements during yoga exercises, it’s necessary to stay with all the feelings and sensations in the body, including pain. There are different types of pain in our body. Some of it is directly caused by emotions and is held within us. Feelings get trapped in areas of the body and cause tension. Sometimes daily activities, improper diet, and stimulation cause us to have very narrow breathing. Concentrating on breathing during yoga (as well as other forms of exercise) will improve that situation.
There are three components to a Yoga Asana (essentially a type of controlled posturing). First, it is to control the body. Then, breath can be controlled. From that point, thoughts going through a person’s head can be controlled in such a way that the person can arrive at a single-minded focus.
I can have a single-minded focus. I can direct my attention to the present moment. At that point, in that space, I am able to realize universal truths. Many, many people do this all the time—it’s not really that extraordinary. There are many universal truths that should be realized. They are truths that underlie the nature of reality. And there are a tremendous number of them. Even while we are going about life on a day-to-day basis, we discover universal truths all the time.
Yoga meditation is different than yoga exercise; exercise does not require our complete focus. If your yoga practice is too easy for you, it doesn’t require complete focus either. but Yoga encourages this behavior. The idea is to practice yoga that is challenging enough to necessitate your single-minded focus. You train your mind to be still and be quiet, to follow the breath or perhaps make an adjustment in the posture.