Can Yoga help you become a better person or live a better life? Every day you wake up with goals, intensions, and commitments that keep you busy throughout the day accomplishing them, and by the end you either feel happy or disappointed. This is a routine we all go through in life. The states of happiness or disappointment are the fruit of our actions (Karma). Not happy about your state! You need to re-evaluate and manage your life. You live a happy state! You need to maintain and develop it till you live a continuous state of happiness and satisfaction.
Deepak Chopra says: “Success in life could be defined as the continuous expression of happiness. The ability to fulfill your desires with effortless ease.”
If you think of Yoga as a way of life, discipline and success are guaranteed. Yoga is far from just being a practice it is a way of discipline and healthy life. Your decision to use the qualities of Yoga in your life is your first step to success.
At the beginning, a seeker “Sadhaka” has to know the answer to (Who am I?) “Atman”, and (What am I doing in life?) “Dharma.” Without knowing the answers to these two questions; discipline is impossible.
All parts of Yoga help us understand the ‘self’,’ how to reach it and control it. The seeker has to lose the social mask he wears to face the world, to impress and receive. This mask represents ones ‘ego’ or “Ahamkara”. losing it will reveal the pure mask we are naturally born with in which the seeker will face the world with simplicity, humbleness, and will learn to give and live in infinite peace.
Next for the seeker is to know what his aim in life is? What is his duty? The answer is once again affected by his ego. Lose the ego and set down the behaviors and natural laws in life that are necessary to maintain the natural order of things. Let your goal in life is to ‘give’; instead of living to receive, live to give, and as the world turns around you will naturally receive back with happiness, this will encourage you to give even more. Keep these cycles going on, do good to receive good, be good to become better.
Yoga in Practice
Through the eight stages of Yoga described by Patanjali a seeker can develop a good understanding of his own self. They are integrated together perfectly that a seeker will discover what was unknown to him and will live step by step in the highest state of realization within Yoga, which we know as “Samadhi.”
Yamas and Niyamas
Applying the rules of “Yamas and Niyamas” in life, will ensure the seeker is approaching self-realization the right way. There are vows or rules of ethical discipline to be taken to control desires and wants, and calm the disturbed mind. It teaches the seeker to be truthful, honest to himself and others, accepting himself and his life as they are, and stay pure internally and externally by building constructive thoughts and creating right attitudes.
Yogic physical postures “Asanas” will teach us to listen to our body, see our limitations, and deal with them wisely; it will bring health and strength to the body, mind, and soul.
Breath control “Pranayama” brings the positive energy “Prana” pointed in the air we breathe to all systems of the body, it will teach us how to take in this energy (Puraka), retain it (Kumbhaka), and release the negative energy “Apana” from within (Rechaka).
The law of sense withdrawal; a seeker withdraws his senses from the outer world and turn all his attention inwards. bringing mind and senses under control.
Dharana and Dhyana
Dharana is to concentrate; Bringing all attention into one thing; when it continues it becomes Meditation “Dhyana”, bringing stillness to the mind and control over consciousness.
When meditation continues for a long time without interruption a seeker may experience samadhi; the highest level of self-realization where ego and consciousness are completely lost.
What a beautiful way to live our lives, where everything is under control while we are at our usual awareness, the power is in our hands to heal, to control, to love, to live in happiness, and become a better person.
I believe every individual has to experience the highest state of joy (Ananda). Life is short; allow the path of yoga to get you out of darkness and into the light. Live with healthy pure body, peace of mind, and strong well-being.
Mariam Alansari is a certified Yoga teacher. She teaches Yoga classes in Bahrain.