It is a popular trend, especially in the West, to take Yoga classes as a means of keeping our bodies fit. While the practice of yoga can be incredibly beneficial for the body, the true practice of yoga goes far beyond its physical benefits. As a matter of fact, yoga provides the platform of resilience that is the basic foundation of a happy life on earth.
Yoga essentially means, “to unite with the Divine.” The practice of yoga opens the subtle doors and channels of our bodies, and allows the Shakti, energy, to rise and unravel many mysteries that were hidden from our consciousness. We begin to feel the divine melody expressed in our mundane life, for yoga encompasses every little aspect of our daily efforts, making them vibrant with the light of God’s eternal Presence.
When we are in yoga, we remember God and His/Her infinite grace not only when miracles happen, that is when wishes are fulfilled and prayers granted, but also when we are struck with misery and failures, knowing full well that right behind the cloud is the light of the eternal sun. Yoga essentially brings us home so that we are face-to-face with God. The Divine is ready to meet us, but we are usually not at home!
We can only come home to God through earnest practice. Practice that is not another task, but practice that comes out of the depth of consciousness to be in tune with the whole of the cosmos, for Yoga in pure essence is the confluence of the microcosm with the macrocosm. We need to practice being more aware of the small things of daily life that carry the secret code of higher reality. We miss so much of the music of the soul when our mind is full of noise. We can begin to rid ourselves of the noise of our unconscious thoughts through our sincerest commitment to our daily practice.
In the path of Yoga, tapas is considered the bedrock of practice. The traditional interpretation of tapas is “fiery discipline,” the fiercely focused, constant, intense commitment necessary to burn off the impediments that keep us from being in the true state of yoga.
Tapas is the heat (stress) that is generated when we go through the roller coaster of daily life and how we transform that heat (stress) into a flame of Self Awareness. It is the most important single factor that decides the progress of the awakening of the soul.
Tapas is also the resilience which holds us together when we are faced with the storms of life. We may not like to practice daily yoga and pranayama (breathing practices), we may not like to eat healthy food mindfully and in a timely fashion, we may not like to go to bed early and rise early, we may not find our time for daily meditation, but all of this is the essence of tapas. Tapas means to do it, and do it lovingly, overriding all excuses to postpone it for the next day. This commitment and discipline helps you into moment-to-moment re-birthing. This is applied spirituality, with its immense benefits.
Yoga gives us new eyesight, the vision that can see not only the objects, but the subject, too. It is a double-arrowed vision. The seer and seen are in union. That is Yoga. When through the windows of our eyes God sees, and we see GOD!! What a JOY!!
Then we know: the source is one undivided universal Principle. The source is Divine. Every cell of our body vibrates through that one Principle, the energy that permeates the universe. Our eyes, our ears, the pulsation of our heart, every vibration of the physical body emanates from the Divine Light that is sourced within us.
Daily practice of yoga opens the floodgates of the Divine, allowing grace to pour into our body-mind, soaking it with a deeper sense of calm. We can then commune in humility with the Divine. Our prayers, mantra chanting, and practice then lift us to the higher dimension of the energy world, opening vision to the subtle world of reality beyond the veil of ignorance. The mind settles to its inner core, and joins in the music of the silence within. This is our truly calm mind, which no longer tries to cling to the external for the sake of happiness, but finds the root of all joy and celebration in life in the very essence of the mind in harmony with the Higher Mind, the Cosmic Mind that is God. God and His Grace are inseparable.
Divine Grace is transformational in its effect. Wherever it touches, the blossoming happens spontaneously. The practice of yoga attracts the flow of divine grace, and the aspiration of the yogi rises to meet this descending grace. The moment grace and aspiration meet, the miracle of enlightenment and wisdom dawns. Be in Yoga, and the Divine Source will reveal its Oneness.
Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari (Kolkata, India), is a globally acclaimed motivational and spiritual teacher, author, social advocate and peace maker. Founder of Stress Management Academy, his Simple Art of Managing Stress and Course in Mindfulness are known worldwide, inspiring corporate leadership, students and all seekers of peace and happiness to be the leaders of tomorrow.
Author of the internationally acclaimed Making Your Mind Your Best Friend, Shuddhaanandaa was the recipient of the Man of Peace Award from the World Organisation for Peace in Mexico, 2012. He is recognized as a visionary social advocate for his development of groundbreaking programs that serve thousands of poverty-stricken individuals in slums of Calcutta, India and remote villages of West Bengal. He founded Lokenath Divine Life Mission in 1985.
Please read his new book Cleaning the Mirror of Mind, available on Kindle.
For more information visit http://www.courseinmindfulness.com/