Patanjali in his 2nd Yoga Sutra states that “The entire science of yoga is based on controlling the mental modifications of the mind”
The goal of yoga is to quiet the mind so that ‘Union’ within yourself can occur. At its core, yoga brings together the fragmented parts of yourself, creating a sense of being at home and at peace in your life.
Most people think of yoga as a set of physical moves and postures. These are really a means to a greater end, which is to discover, accept and harmonise your Whole Self, even the bits you don’t like. It is a spiritual path to access the Whole Self, not just a physical practice.
The monkey mind is the constant thinking and analysing side to ourselves or the ‘mental modifications’. It’s often in overdrive thinking about the past and future. It takes us out of the present moment. The uncontrolled monkey mind disturbs peace and increases stress levels within ourselves. My experience is when I ‘get out of my head and into my body’ with yoga, my thinking starts to slow down, I become present, answers to perceived problems emerge, I feel happy and at peace.
It got me thinking, how does this work? – The body when it’s in physical postures, acts as a grounding and focus point for the mind to settle – In physical postures, the mind has an opportunity to become present in the here and now – Certain breathing techniques and physical postures cleanse internal organs, support the nervous system, and balance energy centres in the body – Dopamine (feel good chemical in our brains) increases – Cortisol (the stress hormone) decreases – The chakras (energy centres) in the body are balanced – An increased opportunity to integrate with your Whole Self