The science of yoga is to acquire knowledge through observation and experimentation. The purpose of a yoga practice is to learn to be present, and all this requires is turning our focus within. Yoga teaches us to train our attention, allowing us to explore ourselves from the most superficial to the deepest part of our beings. Yoga is not only about personal development, but about personal acceptance, allowing ourselves to feel and sense everything happening at a particular moment in time.
We often think of intelligence and perception as taking place exclusively in our brains, but yoga teaches us that awareness, perception and intelligence permeates the body as well as the mind. While doing the physical Asanas (yoga poses) in our practice, we learn that physical strength is not the primary focus; one must develop the attention that allows us to connect with our body and our weight, and to work with the least effort possible. Concentrate on what body part is working, how much of the mind is working on this, and what part of the body has not been penetrated by the mind. The goal is to encourage the mind to cooperate and function as an extension of the body. As the body contracts or extends, intelligence shrinks or expands to reach every part of the body.
In my experience as both a student and teacher of yoga, I have noticed that following the path of Yoga can influence lives and outward interactions with others in a profound way. Life changes occur as our senses start to open up. Bit by bit, you start to understand why things are happening around you, and, thanks to the tools you have acquired in your practice, you learn how to pause, stay calm and understand.
For the more casual yogi, it is sometimes difficult to interpret the more involved spiritual understanding touted by those further along on their practices. Luckily, I find that the beauty of yoga lies in its simplicity. Focus on learning how to connect your mind and body on a very simple dimension, one that works with your own reality and level of understanding.
About the Author:
Karella Dugarte was born in Caracas, Venezuela and is currently residing in Miami, FL. After attending her first Ashtanga Yoga class back in 2003, she fell in love with yoga. Since then she has completed 200 Hours of Power Yoga, 200 Hours of Dharma Yoga, 500 Hours of Dharma Yoga, several workshops of Rocket Yoga and has worked as a teacher for over 6 years. Despite all of her training, she still considers herself an student of yoga and admits that she is still learning. Dugarte sees the practice of yoga as an infinite journey that she will never stop learning from and experiencing by going deeper.