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The benefits of Yoga

Yoga is good for your body and mind, but what does that really mean?

For each of us it can be translated into something unique. It seems like we are all different and complicated. In reality, all derive the same benefits from yoga:

  • stability
  • vitality
  • clarity
  • wisdom
  • bliss

Some of these benefits are obvious. For instance, many people come to yoga looking for stability. Usually, that means physical balance, but there are those that recognize that yoga will balance emotions as well. Vitality comes naturally when you exercise your body and mind through yoga. Better sleep, and circulation as well as pain relief come under the benefit of vitality. Clarity is an interesting benefit. I bet you feel more clear-minded after your yoga class, you have a stronger understanding of what is and what is illusion. Clarity, wisdom, and bliss are more subtle. The definitions are not as clearly explained, and the path to them is not as clearly marked. Yoga asanas work on your many layers to integrate your whole self. You are working to activate your whole body as you quiet your mind. As the buzz of your active life fades, you cultivate clarity, invoke true wisdom, and experience bliss.

Books can offer some deeper understanding as you read and reread about yoga. A great book to reference is Light On Life, by B.K.S. Iyengar. In the second chapter (Stability-The Physical Body), the section titled Awareness: Every Pore of the Skin Has to Become an Eye, there is an interesting paragraph dealing with Silence and Action:

“When you cannot hold the body still, you cannot hold the brain still. If you do not know the silence of the body, you cannot understand the silence of the mind. Action and silence have to go together. If there is action, there must also be silence. If there is silence, there can be conscious action and not just motion. When action and silence combine like the two plates of a car’s clutch, it means that intelligence is in gear” (Iyengar, p 31)

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