Sitting with a cup of tea in hand, I realize how yoga has helped me understand my own mind and live a peaceful life within myself. This realization has inspired me to write an article about the connection between mental wellbeing and yoga. I believe that our mind is a remarkable tool provided by nature for our survival, and it’s crucial to care for it.
Think of the mind as a tree, with its thoughts as flowers and emotions as their fragrant essence. Our mind enables us to read, communicate, and learn from our ancestors. It has evolved over millions of years, accumulating valuable knowledge and experiences passed down through generations.
We should view our mind as a trusted friend and take good care of it. However, we often lack education on understanding our own mind—its composition, functions, and potential. This is where yoga comes in, offering practical ways to comprehend the mind.
In the realm of yoga, there is a chapter called “Manomaya Kosha” or Mental Body. According to yogic wisdom, the mind is composed of thoughts and emotions shaped by our upbringing, education, society, and personal experiences. Our mind can lean towards positivity, negativity, or neutrality, resulting in feelings of liking, disliking, or indifference. Positive emotions promote wellbeing, while negative ones can harm our bodies and future.
It’s essential to examine the nature of our own mind. What mental state predominates within us? Does it dwell in complaints, judgments, and condemnation, or does it embrace thankfulness, friendliness, and appreciation of the world? We must understand our predominant emotional state—positive or negative. Studying our mind helps us uncover these insights.
Once we identify our predominant mind and emotional state, it is crucial to take full responsibility for our inner condition. This is considered maturity in the yogic system.
To cultivate mental wellbeing, yogic wisdom advises paying attention to the quality of the food and water we consume. If they are of poor quality, our bodies and minds will suffer. Additionally, we should consider the literature we read. Does it lead us towards healthy patterns or create unnecessary problems?
The media we consume, such as movies, television, and social media, also influence our mental state. It’s important to evaluate their impact on us. Moreover, the company we keep plays a significant role. Surrounding ourselves with negative people can create more problems for our minds. Therefore, seeking the company of individuals who support and inspire us to become better versions of ourselves is crucial.
Our mental world—our thoughts and emotions—is shaped by what we consume, see, read, and the people we spend time with. These factors have a profound impact on every aspect of our lives.
Once we understand this, yoga provides a practical methodology. It begins with accepting ourselves as we are and avoiding self-violence. Then, we can explore the five main states of the deeper mind: continuous desire, anger, greed, attachments, and the superiority/inferiority complex. By identifying our dominant issue, we can start working on it.
Furthermore, negative emotions, stress, tension, and trauma manifest as physical tension in our bodies. Our muscles and joints become tight and rigid, often leading to various physical problems. Here, yoga postures (asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayama) come into play. They are designed to release emotional stress through physical movement. Suppressed emotions often accumulate in specific body areas, such as the hips, lower back, upper back, shoulders, and neck, adversely affecting organs like the liver, lungs, spleen, kidneys, and the overall energetic balance.
By practicing yoga asanas and pranayama, we can release these negative impacts on both the body and mind. These practices help alleviate tension and promote overall wellbeing.
However, the most vital aspect of yogic wisdom is meditation, which even science recognizes for its benefits. Meditation allows us to bring our minds into the present moment. Our minds are conditioned to dwell on the past or worry about the future. Yogic meditations are designed to connect us with the here and now, enabling us to manage our minds and cultivate peace and serenity.
Ultimately, yoga is a conscious decision to take responsibility for our health and happiness. It provides us with the tools, methods, and wisdom to nourish ourselves and live a fulfilling life, both internally and in relation to the world around us.
In a nutshell, through yoga, we take a practical journey toward inner peace and mental wellbeing. By understanding and caring for our minds, making conscious choices about what we consume, surrounding ourselves with positive influences, and engaging in yoga practices such as asanas, pranayama, and meditation, we invite a state of tranquility and a way to live a fulfilling life.
This is a step by step methodology, we are sharing in our Yoga New Vision teacher training in bali.
With warm regards, Deep
Led Teacher at Yoga New Vision