One of the great benefits of yoga, in addition to increased strength and flexibility, is that it promotes the peaceful state necessary for self-reflection, letting us go “inward” to establish a “mind-body-spirit” connection and nourish our soul.
Other forms of physical exercise require a great deal of external focus, with our mind and body “engaged” with equipment and people around us.
Yoga allows me to “be in the moment”, quieting my mind to focus on “being where I am.”
To “be in the moment” is a goal of “meditation”. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder and former director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, developed “mindfulness meditation” to help people reduce the suffering coming from chronic pain and stress in their lives. This included a method of “moment-to-moment” awareness that allowed for increased “coping skills”.
Dr. Kabat-Zinn’s “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” (MBSR) program combined Hatha Yoga and meditation to achieve extraordinary health benefits. But, in writing “Wherever You Go, There You Are”, he beautifully described what all of us can achieve when we quiet the mind:
“From the perspective of meditation, every state is a special state, every moment a special moment.”
How cool is that? Our modern society does a great job of promoting life’s “special moments” but requires most of us to “purchase” these as luxuries.
The “movements of the body” in yoga connect us to the “moments in the mind” where we can “nourish our soul”.
My yoga practice allows me to achieve serenity and peace, what many people would describe as a “special moment”.
Namaste, Jennifer Miller