Yogash – chitta- vritti- nirodhah ~ Patanjali Sutra 1.2
Control of thought waves in the mind is yoga
Yoga is not something we only do with our body. One can stand on the head for hours – but change in awareness will not happen.
People can practice asanas and breath work for years without any change in the way they perceive the world.
The basic step is forgotten. The person has to change from within. Each change in body and breath must be followed by a change in the mind. Paying attention to everything that arises in your own mind is the most important part of yoga. How the mind reacts to everything around us; people, situations and things. What are the auto-pilot patterns? Do you get annoyed easily? Does the world seem unfair or unjust? What triggers you? When are you happy? Do you want to share your money, presence or compassion with people around you and extend it to also people you don’t know. Do you treat others with respect and kindness or are you selfish?
These kind of teachings are given in each major spiritual tradition. And yes they are very hard to follow for most. But it is the most fundamental practice without which it is impossible for any serious spiritual seeker to perceive the inner or outer reality of this universe.
The reason is simple, as long as the mind is at war or interested in anything outside, it will naturally flow towards those things.
As long as the person does not pay attention that these thoughts or reactions to people, things or situations are happening inside their mind; they will keep happening forever. The mind will keep running out, and with it the energy will flow out. To see the reality of our inner world our scattered energy has to move inside EFFORTLESSLY.
One can do any amount of yoga or pranayama or meditation and still would not have changed anything in the mind. And no change in the perception of consciousness will happen.
But an important part to understand here is that wherever you find yourself, thats okay.
If you find yourself being unkind, or being angry or being greedy or running after experiences in the material world, thats okay. If you do not wish to change for now, thats okay too. Thats also powerful practice. Because you know who you are, and are honest to yourself in the present. Self-observation and self-acceptance. Just bringing attention to the truth of where you are will help dissolve the patterns whenever you are ready wether in this lifetime or some other time.
For the serious seeker, who has the strong intention to realize the truth of their own existence; yoga is not a mere body, breath or meditation effort.
It is their whole life.Every breath, Every Action. Everything has to become an honest effort towards yoga.
A huge paradox happens; the whole world crumbles and so does our own self. At the same time the whole universe unites with us in each and every action.
When we do simple body exercise of yoga asana, the whole nature does the yoga asana.
When we sit to meditate, the whole nature sits with us.
When our mind holds everything in equanimity ; everything is equal to us and we are equal to everything. That’s when real yoga happens; the union of everything body, breath, thoughts, emotions, intellect, people, things and the entire outer and inner universe.
We discover our true nature.