3 Stages Behind The Practice of Yoga
Many people are curious about what yoga means and what are its true benefits. Others like it because is becoming a fashion trend, because yoga leggings and mats look cool, etc.
However, I have classified the practice of yoga in 3 stages:
1- Superficial: It’s the type of yoga we all start practicing. Even though the teacher might be trying to show you the essence of yoga, you would only see it as a physical practice. You will focus on getting more strong or achieving more flexibility, etc. At this point, you work really hard on reaching your yoga goals, and aim to look perfect on your asana or posture (This might even have a fitness focus or physical health aim). Even if you don’t see the essence of yoga at this point, the medial and deep stages will have some sort of effect in you. So, congratulations! You’re entering a beautiful and liberating path <3
2- Medial: In this stage, you start realising that yoga really affects your mind and emotions. You see this as a direct response to your physical practice, but you probably don’t understand much about the energy world behind yoga (its essence). So you keep breathing and noticing the effect that your breath has under difficult poses (or certain circumstances in life). At this point, there’s something else about your yoga practice that really keeps you engaging beyond your previous yoga goals. You want to practice more and more, and not because you only want to perfect your poses, but because you know something else is happening on a deeper level but you are not sure what it is. Don’t worry! You’re very close to find out more 🙂
3- Deep: After a while, you recognise the value that yoga brings to your life on a deeper level (your yoga poses look much better but you don’t care too much about this perfection as you did before). Here you can see how yoga helps you connect with your higher self. This happens not only when you meditate on your mat, but also off your mat, in your daily life. There’s an inner state about yourself that becomes more present throughout your yoga practice and guides you in every moment of your life. It’s the divine spark within you. It’s your Higher-Self, who is experiencing the world from a perspective far away from your Ego. At this stage, you become more interested in the Philosophy of yoga and the evolution of your soul. You incorporate the philosophy of yoga (The 8 Limbs of Yoga and the Path of Yoga you choose) to your own religion or beliefs (even if you consider yourself atheist). Spiritual teachings go beyond any type of religion in the world, and that’s what makes it so powerful. As many teachers say: Yoga can make you a better Catholic, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist… In summary, the philosophy of Yoga can make you a better person (without using any labels). Congratulations! The Deep stage is actually the beginning of many changes in your life. When you are here you can’t go back. You have changed. Your soul wants you to keep studying and progressing towards a peaceful life of FREEDOM. Well done!
My point of view about Yoga Asanas and its benefits (in general):
When you practice asanas or postures, which are only one of the limbs of the path of yoga (in the yogic philosophy), the benefits are many, but I like to mention some of the basics:
– You can cultivate inner peace through the movement of the body and the way you focus your mind during each practice.
– When you are fully aware during your yoga practice, you can connect better with your breath and this allows you relax your mind and calm down your emotions getting rid of all the tension your body might be accumulating.
– You get to know better your body capacities and limits, thus you learn how to go beyond those limits and leave any judgments behind. Your self-esteem increases.
– You connect with your higher self and learn how to get rid of your Ego, thus improving your relationships and quality of life. You become the owner of your thoughts and emotions. Not the other way around.
The information above is only my opinion and perspective about yoga according to my own experience in the yoga world for about 8 years. This is also part of what I have understood from many yoga teachers, books and articles. Take only what helps you in your personal path and your journey to find inner peace.