My intention, always, is that we can learn something about ourselves as spiritual beings through our practices in yoga. If we can see the body as a gateway to get to the deeper essence of our being, the body becomes a tool for tremendous growth that is possible for everyone. If we see the body as something to manipulate in order to satisfy our own vanity and ego, the body disparagingly becomes more material matter that hinders our growth.
For most of us, the experience of addressing these larger issues within during our yoga practice isn't exactly smooth sailing. There are days when the message being transmitted is, "How is this practice ON the mat affording me an opportunity to see my true self OFF the mat?" We may even start to see that if this practice is going to serve us well, then we need to be able to connect to ourselves not just when we are "being yogic" on the mat, but we also need to understand the dimensions of our being that consist of blockages that prevent the transmission of this higher understanding to reach into our everyday lives.
Patanjali tells us that there are 5 major disturbances of the mind. These disturbances of the mind all stem form the main disturbance, which is Avidya, or incorrect perception of who we really are. Through excessive focus on the material things, it's easy to sway from where our true center is. We've reached for something outside of ourselves to try and find peace inside our being. The inner compass becomes buried deeper, and on we are to the next distraction. It's not difficult to see the pattern of disappointment that will inevitably ensue when we continue searching for lasting sustenance from fleeting cravings.
Having the resolve to stay present and committed to our yoga practice can allow us to ground ourselves in these times. By redirecting awareness inwardly in yoga asana we not only make the body more flexible and toned, but we also clear the body and mind of impurities and toxins that take us away from moving into the higher seat of own souls. The practice of asana teaches us to go beyond the body and lessen our fixation on seeing the body (material) as a complete reality. In other words, we start to bring awareness inwards back to its source and recognize our true Selves. When we can recognize this truth in ourselves, we can be open to recognize the truth and greatness in one another with clarity. Creating a practice grounded in deeper understanding of this higher and greater Self frees us from the bondage of Avidya, bringing a wave of peace and positivity to our interconnected lives.