The Purpose of Yoga: Finding Yourself - Yoga Practice Blog

The Purpose of Yoga: Finding Yourself

finding yourselfBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP

Can Yoga help you with finding yourself? Some people claim to find themselves after practicing Yoga faithfully – but how can this be? Yoga is an art of living. In fact, Yoga is a 5,000 year old archive of solutions for the many forms of suffering, which plague humankind. What causes most of humankind’s suffering? A lack of something can cause suffering. Which is worse: Lack of food, lack of water, lack of a job, or lack of good health? All of them are bad, and some of these situations are potentially fatal. We now know that lack of something critical can cause serious suffering. Lack of oxygen will shorten our lives in minutes.


Money and the Blame Game

Many people blame lack of money for all of their suffering. If they had a million dollars, then they would be able to enjoy their family and their life. The mindset is, “If life was fair, I’d be rich.”  Yet, most of the world’s rich and famous do not really seem to be living in a state of bliss. For them, money and power can be the source of their suffering. True intentions in business, relationships, marriages, and friendships, can be murky when money and power are at stake. However, lack of thought is a common thread in many types of suffering. If you fall into a lake, with water over your head, and think you are finished – you could be. If you think losing your job is the end of the world – it might be. The real problem is not having a solution to the problem at hand.


It is also very difficult to come up with solutions to problems, without the proper training. Yet, Yoga trains your mind and body for logical thinking in a variety of critical situations.  If you are able to handle any situation that comes your way, your mind and body have been trained, conditioned, and prepared, for most of what life has to offer. It is not a coincidence when someone responds to a stressful situation with logical solutions and answers. Being able to react to problems, with solutions, will also help you find that a problem could be the gateway to a better life. How is that possible?

A Practical Example of Finding One’s Self

There are times in life when years fly by. Our family situation is stable and we day dream about better times ahead. There are also times that go by slow in an unstable family, an unstable job, or both. Here is just one example: Mary has a dead end job, but her family situation is good.  She has worked for her company for three years. She never gets a raise. She shows up to work on time, every day, never takes time off, and she works overtime, when she is asked.


Mary is ethical, honest, respected by her fellow workers, and has positive suggestions, but management does not care, and they have promoted less qualified people over her head.  She has many choices, even if she does not see them. She could wait for her wage to go up. She could also wait for recognition. She could wait for an opening in another department. Do you believe Mary will be rewarded by waiting? Based on the company’s performance, it is highly unlikely that Mary will ever be promoted, appreciated, noticed, or rewarded. In a good economy, Mary’s best solution might be to work at another company, which will appreciate her skills and work ethic – or work for herself.  This solution may seem logical to you and I, but for Mary, this is a great leap forward.  Unless her mind is trained to realize her self-worth, she will stay at her present job, hoping for success, but receiving no recognition, frustration, and regret.


In truth, Mary will benefit from a Yoga class, where she will find self-worth, confidence, and build a better self-image. Yoga training will create a true state of self-realization. Mary will become aware of her true value at work, in life, and at home. Mary decides to react to this situation, with a logical solution, and finding the right job, results in a 15% to 70% wage increase at a company, which appreciates her skills and character.  She saw going into business at this time as too risky, but Mary is finding herself, and her family will benefit as a result of her solution.


Side Notes About Finding One’s Self

Creative thoughts, dreams and desires are a form of energy, which wait for us to help them become reality.  Before the first light bulb glowed, it was a thought in someone’s mind.  It is quite likely that it was a thought in many minds, for many years, before a viable light bulb was invented.  One lesson every Yoga practitioner should be aware of is the immense power of a thought, a plan, and an action.  You might make a mistake, but who has never made a mistake?  Very often, mistakes are the foundation of success.  The application of Yogic principles toward daily life create a better world, where you achieve a state of finding yourself and your life purpose.

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