Yoga – Union with Life
The word Yoga means union with life and is both a system and a state. It is a holistic programme which increases your energy, and stretches, tones and reshapes your body.
However, the ultimate aim of yoga is to join with the self inside to the source of self-realisation. The system of yoga allows us to strip away the obstructions to the flow of life and uncover more and more of ourselves.
- Life Force
- The difference between a healthy plant and one that is withered.
- A healthy person and one who is sick.
- A negative depressed (de-pressed – what is pressed down) person and one who is full of life.
- A day when you are dragging yourself around with no motivation and one when you are full of ‘go’.
- Not just the absence of illness but something right with the entire person. Modern medicine often lacks this positive perspective but yoga builds up the body and mind so that we don’t become ill in the first place.
All the elements of yoga are designed to increase the flow of life force in you, so that you join with this energy inside you and allow it to flow through the body and into your life. They consist of:
Breathing: Where you learn to use your lung power as you increase your oxygen intake, burn food more efficiently and benefit from relaxation through proper breathing. By learning to focus on the breath, we develop concentration.
Yoga Postures: (adaptable to all ages and situations): The main purpose of yoga exercises is to allow more of the life force to flow through the body. Primarily we focus on the 7 centres or chakras, which are connected to the endocrine glands and through which the energy flows. Each posture puts pressure on a particular gland to increase the flow of energy through that centre, ultimately balancing all the centres and associated glands. The postures focus the mind on the movement, increase the flow of life, tones the muscles, increases flexibility and charges the body up like a battery.
Yoga Nutritional Programme: Quality not quantity – not based on counting calories but on the right combinations of food, and the acid and alkaline balance, which is important to health. Life force foods coat the nerves. You are what you eat and think. The benefits of supplements.
Relaxation: The whole system of yoga helps you to relax – deep breathing, slows the heart rate and thus has a calming effect, exercises which balance out the glands and increase our capacity to handle stress, correct nutrition is rich in vitamins and minerals, which are necessary for us to relax. The corpse position balances the body as it relaxes.
Positive Mental Attitude: Yoga trains us to relax the mind as you go about your normal activities by teaching you to focus your mind in the present, so that you are more in control. We have become conditioned through our upbringing into mental attitudes that prevent us from getting the most out of life. As you relax more, you release more of this life force into your life and automatically begin to feel more positive. Yoga teaches us to harness the power of the subconscious mind so we become ‘one-directional’.
Meditation: As we feel the flow of life/energy that is the beginning of meditation. The ultimate aim of meditation is to become one with the life force so we move from our own intuitive awareness.
The Concept of Yoga
Martin Forde, ND, DO Naturopathic Physician & President of the Irish Health Culture Association, talks about the real concept of yoga…
“Much of what passes for yoga completely misses the mark. The original concept of Hatha Yoga is to align the centres (chakras) of the body in life and have life/energy running up clearly through them and opening them all up. The concept in our yoga teaching is actually unique, the core idea being that you retain the breath and build up pressure in the glands during the postures.
Although it’s good to be fit, athletic, well-stretched and do the postures beautifully, it’s more important to retain the breath and direct the prana to the centres using the shape of the posture. The postures then can be done as muscle controls and in that way you influence the structure, composition of the body and stimulate the glands – even the growth hormone – once the proper degree of muscular control is put into the whole process, in conjunction with the breath retention.
With breath retention, we’re talking about holding the breath even up to a minute or more. That would give an instant effect on any of the glands, and this yoga system can be an extremely compact, intense and efficient way of tuning up the glands.
If you took the squat as an exercise, you focus on the gonads (sex glands), which produces an immediate increase in the available gonad hormones, eg, for a man, the level of testosterone. I believe that in any of the yoga exercises done properly you should be able to produce this type of effect, but you would have to both teach and practice it properly.
Obviously to get into some of the postures you do have to work on being stretched. In yoga the theory underlying stretching would be the use of unconscious attention.
Once unconscious attention is used, the body can be put into almost any kind of position. This can be demonstrated with people who have been struggling to perform a stretch, by simply instructing them in how to use their whole mind and then apply it to the posture. They can instantly do a stretch that may have eluded them for weeks. Seen in terms of unconscious attention; once you have activated the energy and life properly and let that run through you, then that will do the stretching for you.
A simple but accurate and focused combination of yoga postures and breathing can be a real help to a person in their life. Also when they understand the importance of aligning and activating the centres they can use the postures, including the corpse posture, as a rejuvenation system.
Yoga is brought back to basics by what we do – it’s about putting the person in touch with life and not their problems, worries, anxiety, depression, concerns, profession or any of those things. Instead, they gain a greater experience of life itself instead, and can go as far with this as they wish.
A simple but focused combination of yoga postures and breathing can be a real help to a person in their life.”