Yoga for the Unique Harmony of Body, Mind, and Soul

Yes, yoga is not new to most of us. In fact, it is a practice that most of us probably heard or tried a long time ago, perhaps regularly incorporated into our lives. For this very reason, I couldn’t help sharing a question that stuck in my mind: What are we really doing yoga for? Is it just because it has become so popular recently, or are we really aware of the origins and philosophy of yoga, its varieties, and the physical, mental and spiritual stages of consciousness that it introduces us to?

Yoga addresses the body, mind, and soul at the same time. Therefore, when you talk about yoga, you should think of the concept of “wholeness”. As a philosophy of life, yoga aims to integrate the body, mind, and soul with the universe by working in harmony. I’m not just saying it, “Yuj” also says it, the root letter in Sanskrit from which yoga originated in India. “Yuj” word root includes meanings such as coming together, reunion. Likewise, one of the meanings of the word “yoga” derived from this root is to unite. That is to unite the body, mind, and soul. Pretty consistent, huh?

If we have some idea about the meaning of the word, we need to refer to its story in order to understand yoga and the philosophy it depends on. The origins of yoga go back to India about 50,000 years ago, and excavations in the Indus Valley have found figures on some stone seals that form the basis of our yoga postures today. Known as the first sources of knowledge about yoga today, 2000-year-old “farewells” are also discovered in India.

You may be wondering, though, who first discovered yoga? Let’s just say, the Indian thinker named Patanjali is considered the founder of yoga today. So much so that the text of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, in which he collected all his observations from historical texts to different yoga theories, is accepted as the basis of many different yoga practices today. This text stands out with another feature other than being a known ancient text describing the philosophy of yoga, which is that the sutras consist of 8 parts. The number 8 is important here because it also symbolizes the 8 steps people will take in their yoga journey.

Yoga Is the Journey of Body, Mind and Soul Alltogether

Yoga is a body and mind development discipline that dates back thousands of years. Yoga, a discipline originating in India, is a system that includes practices for a healthy life. In short, yoga is a system that improves the strength and flexibility balance of our body and regulates the balance of mind and body. Yoga has 8 stages, namely Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi. These 8 steps are a balancing method to keep the soul and body in harmony. Since yoga is not religious teaching, people of all religions can do it with peace of mind.

The most important thing in yoga is that you take time for yourself, you spend time with yourself. Everyone can do yoga, and someone who practices yoga in their youth will make the best investment in themselves to live a younger, more energetic, healthy, and balanced life. Some elderly people are more energetic and flexible than young people on a calendar basis. Some young people are forced to tie their shoelaces. That’s why people of all ages can practice yoga. Man is young with his energy, not by the number determined by age. Everyone from 7 to 70 can practice yoga.

Yoga is a system that works on the brain, soul, and body. Yoga plays an important role in preventing diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Women who cannot conceive, if they do not have a biological physiological reason, can throw out the negative energy that prevents them from getting pregnant and can get pregnant by doing yoga, balancing the body, soul, and mind. Because they expressed that with yoga, they get rid of the tension in their bodies and minds and relax.

Problems such as migraine, low back pain, abdominal pain, insomnia can be solved with yoga. It both relaxes the body and rests the soul. People who practice yoga can overcome stress more easily, their perspectives are wider, and they allow things to be viewed from a wider perspective. You learn to think differently and positively towards yourself in yoga. We live by breath. Breath means life for human beings, breath constitutes one of the 8 stages in yoga. Often we do not breathe deeply, but it is very important. Yoga is the harmony between breath and body. Breathing energizes and a person who takes his breath correctly does not get tired quickly and energetically completes the day. The thing that unites body and soul is the breath; You need to breathe correctly in order to feel full.

How to Practice Yoga in Order to Improve Your Body, Mind, and Soul

Yoga should definitely be done with an instructor at the first stage. I do not think, do not recommend, that the 8 steps of yoga can be learned completely and correctly by yourself. For example, movements cannot be done correctly without knowing breathing techniques. Yoga can be done alone with a teacher or in a group. There are many different types of yoga, some are calmer, and some are more active. The instructor also helps people choose the most suitable yoga for them. In addition, yoga instructors work with health registers.

One of the stages of yoga is limitations. With this you balance your thoughts, you do not go to extremes, you discipline yourself in every context. You are doing balance movements, these balance movements balance every point from the brain to the body, so you do not overeat. With yoga, many muscles of the bodywork, the muscles get stronger, and the fat decreases. Yoga is a system where many muscles can be exercised, such as swimming.

The journey of yoga is the union of body and soul and going on a trip. Every physical movement you make is reflected in your soul as energy, you feel much more energetic. Body and soul walk together. In yoga, you do everything in harmony, you develop your right and left brain together. In sports where concentration and balance are important, the sense of balance can be strengthened by doing yoga, such as golf or tennis.

What is beautiful in yoga is that everyone feels what they feel for themselves. Everyone’s definition is according to him. You purify your soul with yoga. One hour a week is enough for yourself. The most beautiful thing you can do for yourself in a calm environment without needing anyone. Yoga for me is like a holiday where you rest your body and soul and purify your thoughts.

Clear Mind, Flexible Body and Free Soul with Yoga

We get a new age every year since we were born. And at the same time, a brand new concept, whose awareness is increasing day by day, is included in our agenda: “well-aging”. Keeping our quality of life high in physical, mental, and spiritual dimensions while taking a new age is the most important factor that opens the door to a good life for all of us. At this point, the yoga practice that whispers the wisdom of the east into our ears comes into our lives. The word meaning in the Sanskrit language; We see that this thousand-year-old doctrine, which corresponds to the expressions of bringing together, forming the whole, is quite popular in the western world today.

Beyond being a visual frenzy reflected on the screen as inverted postures in today’s world, yoga is a very valuable tool that offers us countless benefits in terms of aging well. I think, Dr. Jigar Gor’s “Yoga is not being able to touch your toes. It’s what you’ve learned along the way up to that point.” statement is the best expression of how practice heals you spiritually through the body. Under the leadership of the age of digitalization and speed, being able to ground our tired minds a little and synchronize the breath with the body has become one of the greatest luxuries we can experience today. So, are you ready to open a more meaningful place in your life to the yoga experience that promises to offer you this luxury in life?

This famous Indian doctrine that strengthens the muscles while maintaining the flexibility of the spine has many different applications in the world; vinyasa yoga, hatha yoga, known for sequences of sun salutation, ashtanga yoga, kundalini yoga or a more restorative form of yin yoga, to name just a few. According to research conducted by Harvard Medical School in recent years; Yoga supports our body in the way of aging well by offering a better posture and a flexible spine, a high-minded eating habit, quality sleep, and eliminating cardiovascular disorders.

In addition, according to Stanford University health psychologist and yoga instructor Kelly McGonigal, people who practice yoga increase their ability to cope with stress and uncertainty, and they are individuals who can spiritually listen to the senses in the body, stay in the moment and enjoy life more. Here are a few suggestions to include the benefits of this practice, which plays an important role in our well-being, by helping us to maintain the integrity of the mind, body, and spirit:

  • For those who are new to their yoga journey, the YOGA101 program offered by many yoga classes can be a good start. You can even participate in these programs in the comfort of your home via zoom.
  • Our recommendation for those who have practiced yoga for a long time is the Yoga Uni website or Alo Moves application that offers different levels of practice under one roof. Get ready to experience different practices every day with world-famous yoga instructors.
  • To maximize the benefit of the practice, we recommend that you plan a light meal 2 hours before the lesson, this will help the body adjust to the flow.
  • Instead of dealing with how other participants do the movement during the practice, try to respect your limits by keeping your attention on your body. Remember, everybody is unique and it always knows the best for you.
  • During the practice, try to bring your attention to your breath and feel that breath is your most valuable guide.
  • Instead of sitting at the top of your to-do list right after the lesson, give yourself a five-minute of adjustment time.

Practice Yoga Every Day for Body, Mind and Soul Integrity

The biggest advice I would like to give you to make your life better is this: Take some time for yourself for your own well-being. Let’s say this time is 15 minutes. or 30 min. or 1 hour… And now determine what you want to do during this time, maybe 10 minutes. meditation, followed by 20 min. yoga or 10 min. breath, followed by 10 min. meditation… Whatever you do with ease and pleasure, whatever you crave… But be sure to choose certain things and be fixed in your chosen routine. And now apply it nicely. Everyday!

If you find it difficult to take the time to do this kind of favor for yourself, rest assured, then you are still not convinced that it is a necessary action. This is the important point here; be convinced of the necessity of your chosen routine! There are so many routines you do every day, like brushing your teeth… How many minutes it takes, a total of 5 minutes a day. Just like that. Just as brushing your teeth is necessary for your dental health and you are convinced of it (body) and you brush regularly every day, you need to devote time to meditation, breathing, or yoga for your mental health (cleaning, strengthening) exactly the same! It’s that simple.

You should take care of your mind and soul as much as you take care of your body, right? And don’t tell me that I’m listening to music, fishing, dancing for my mental health. Listening to music allows you to shift the mind’s focus to another area, yes it makes you stay in the moment wonderfully, but it never cleans. These activities only change our focus; Let’s call it sweeping the dirt under the carpet. Make sure that whatever you listen to when the carpet is full, doesn’t make any profit anymore, you change the songs. You sweep not on that carpet, but on the other carpet. It is also filling up …

Make sure that changing the focus, being busy with something else for a while does not “clear your mind”. It allows you to bury the mess under that thing you are busy with, you “think” I let go. But one day you explode in a simple situation because of that subject. One day your patience runs out. Because your bag of patience was never empty. You understand at that moment. Therefore, remind yourself that it is essential that you take a while for your mental health as well as your dental health. Because only then will you be able to clean. And cleaning will not only relax you but also broaden your perspective, allowing you to discover different and easier solutions to challenges.

Moreover, your connection with your inner world, your feelings and thoughts and most importantly your heart will be strengthened. Some days maybe you will cry, one of your emotions will be discharged and the next day you will have another emotion, maybe some days you will hear you shout out what you have thrown into you, and then some days you will meet with self-love, the next day with gratitude, for all that the universe has given you and what it has not given you. You will understand and admire and smile with the power of love in your heart. Give yourself this time and keep your promise of goodness to yourself. Look how beautiful it will be. Remember your body, mind, and spirit integrity “every day”!

Oh, if you’re having trouble keeping the promises you made to yourself, then you don’t feel that those promises have a responsibility. If so, then make this promise to the “inner child”. Make him happy, do this for him. Sit down and meditate like combing or knitting her hair. Take care of it (yourself). It will be like the advertisement word, but it is coming; “Because you are worth it.”

At this point, it comes to my mind, why do I care about your well-being? Because when you are good, the grocer, the officer, and the doctor will be good. Mothers, fathers, teachers will also be good. Because when you are good, the negative charge in the collective consciousness will be removed and I will feel that I am breathing in a clean world. Your wellbeing means we are all well. My well-being means your well-being, your well-being means having a good child, having a good child means a clear future.

8 Step Yoga Journey: Combining Body, Mind, and Soul

If you start yoga today, you should understand that the first step of your journey is Yama. There are five points that are essential in this stage, which is also known as “the purification of negativities”; Nonviolence, honesty, not stealing, control of desires, and being able to let go, that is, let go of events, feelings, people we don’t need. The second step is Niyama, “strengthening the positives.” This stage includes inner and outer purity (purity), being happy with what life offers us (being content), protecting our inner discipline (fervent effort), educating ourselves, and continuing to work devotedly (devotion).

Today, most yoga lovers come to Asana, which is actually the third step, and not beyond. Asana means “yoga pose” and is a stage that focuses on bodily posture techniques. Then there is the transition to Pranayama; breath comes into play here. The control of breath, which is considered to be the vital energy in yoga, is very important at this stage. Next stages; Pratyahara (Sensory Control), Dharana (Concentration Techniques), Dhyana (Meditation Techniques), and Samadhi (Supreme Concentration Techniques, Consciousness Control). Finally, let me add that this 8-step way of yoga is also known as “Ashtanga Yoga”. There are many types of yoga, but I would like to specifically mention the most basic ones:

  • Ashtanga Yoga

As I have just mentioned, Ashtanga Yoga is based on Patanjali’s concept of eight steps of yoga. The aim of Ashtanga Yoga is to focus on certain parts of the body while practicing each pose with one breath. You can imagine that this requires serious concentration and body strength. The feature of this form of yoga is that it allows the person to sweat a lot and remove toxins.

  • Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa Yoga is actually a form of yoga developed based on the Ashtanga style. It is also one of the most suitable styles for yoga beginners. It is based on passing from one pose to another in harmony with the breath.

  • Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga is one of the most common yoga styles and its most prominent feature is that it is balancing. It aims to balance the contrasts that exist in our body and soul, such as masculine and feminine energies, with basic yoga postures.

  • Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini Yoga is a type of yoga where meditation is predominant. There is an energy called kundalini at the bottom of our spine and Kundalini Yoga aims to increase this energy. Besides physical practices, I recommend Kundalini Yoga for those who want to have a spiritual experience.

There is also Laughter Yoga that I would like to mention to you in particular; Before I begin to explain this technique, I have to give you the following information, our brain cannot distinguish between real and fake laughter. Going back to the technique now, laughter yoga is a technique discovered by the Indian medical doctor, Dr. Madam Kataria. It is actually the combination of laughter and yoga breathing techniques. The laughter exercise is initiated in a group and the laughter continues to increase as people have eye contact. This increases the oxygen going to the brain, making you feel happier and more energetic.

The Best Reasons for Practicing Yoga

I do not want to talk to you at length about the mental and physical health benefits of yoga, these are things you can easily find when you search the internet. In this section, I will talk to you about the issues I have personally experienced as a regular yoga practitioner for about 2 months, and I will explain why you should practice yoga in my opinion.

First of all, it is a fact that yoga is mostly viewed as a stress reduction method. Yes, it is true, when you do yoga, you experience an increase in your calm and peaceful moods in your daily life, especially when you include breathing exercises in the poses, you witness your muscles relax and therefore your stress level decreases, but I think it is not right to see yoga only this way. Above all, yoga keeps you in the moment. At the end of the day, you learn new poses and explore the limits of your body, so you need to focus on your yoga poses no matter how full and confused your mind is at that moment.

After I started practicing yoga, I must say that not only my mind but also my mood improved with a noticeable difference. I became a much more aware, grateful, happy, and balanced person. When I researched it, I found that I was not alone in experiencing this positive effect. According to a study conducted at Boston University School of Medicine in 2011, people who practiced yoga regularly for 12 weeks had a serious reduction in their anxiety problems. This is because the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid in the brain increases after practicing yoga.

This is what I will say, especially for those who are also interested in other sports. I train three times a week, regularly, and since I have introduced yoga into my life, I have observed that my balance, focus, and endurance skills have increased in my training as well. If you ask why; Your ability to stretch and balance improves significantly in yoga. In addition; You get to know your body better and realize your strong and weak muscles. This awareness alone is enough to improve you in other areas. Actually, I am talking about a very clear awareness; After I started to practice yoga, I noticed that I woke up most mornings with an aching abdomen and waist.

I am not saying I was aware, or my pain was gone. I wasn’t even aware of these pains! Yoga started to awaken me so beautifully, painlessly, and energetically that I had a great awareness compared to my previous awakenings. Another emotion that yoga has developed in my life is self-confidence. Believe me, when you push your own limits and realize that you can do poses that you could not do before, you start to have tremendous confidence in your body and mind. You appreciate yourself and congratulate you on your effort and dedication. I am sure that this now affects the decisions I make in my daily life.

Yoga is a journey of self-knowledge. Believe me, it is very fascinating to be on this journey; As you explore yourself more deeply (I’m coming back to the point I said at the beginning of my post) you realize the integrity and harmony of the universe, you just want to be a part of it. This allows you to have a deep, deep love for everything around you. Let’s put all this aside, the shortest and clearest answer I will give to someone who asks me why I should do yoga would be: to take time for himself.

That you go on all day to rest your mind a little, which you have filled with countless information, memories, and discourses. To establish a true relationship with yourself, to show the value you give to your body and soul. To be freed from all your attributes, to be “you” only, without any judgment. There will be some days, your mind will prevail. That’s when you remember what we talked about. Do not go on yourself, do not be angry saying “I should not have hesitated”, do not blame yourself. Instead, make the intention, say “I’ll do it tomorrow” and never give up.

Documentary and Book Recommendations on Yoga

Before I consult movies and books on the philosophy of yoga, I thought you’d want to take a look at his story and methods. The 2014 documentary Awake: The Life of Yogananda tells the story of Yogananda, who introduced the Western world to Hindu culture and yoga philosophy in the 1920s with his book “Autobiography of a Yogini”. With this film, you will learn that Yogananda is a person who has had a great impact on science, religion and culture as well as the prevalence of yoga today. My book recommendation is a guide for those who want to practice yoga at home, both physically and mentally.

Although not directly related to yoga, I will suggest to you a film that parallels many of the teachings of yoga philosophy and many positive effects it aims for: Samsara. This documentary was shot in 5 years, in 5 continents and 25 countries; reveals scenes of human, civilization, and nature from different corners of the world. Remember, Samsara means “the eternal cycle of nature” in Sanskrit. If you have prepared your foundation for the philosophy of yoga visually and audibly, then it’s time to dig deeper to open your soul and mind… Mircea Eliade’s book Yoga: Immortality and Freedom explains in detail the four concepts at the heart of Hindu spirituality, karma, mãyã, nirvana, and yoga.

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Savaş Ateş

I like meditation and yoga. I read a lot of books about them. I applied them in my daily life. I want to write about my experiences.

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