Meditation & Yoga Blog | Reasons to Practice Yoga

Yoga Diary: Reasons to Practice Yoga

Current place: Condo in Sorrento Valley, San Diego CA 
Current music: Mr. Robot Season 4 Soundtrack (listen on Spotify)
Today's practice: yoga for 50 minutes (including 10 mins of final Savasana)

Sit in the Sun

My story is both simple and complicated at the same time. I do yoga to try and get out of the constant fight my life has been for as long as I can remember. Doing a silent meditation retreat and finding inner peace is my idea of happiness right now.

For some reason, I’ve been getting sick a lot lately with minor things like an odd ear infection I never normally get. My system is clearly out of balance and I need to do something about it.

I've tried a lot of things in the past and eventually turned to yoga, meditation and float therapy as powerful tools for self care and healing. So I started this diary to document my progress and steps on the journey to wellness and balance. It will be helpful to see at the experiential level what benefits my approach can yield over time.

I usually create my own sequence of yoga poses or follow routines from my teachers. I use the Insight Timer app to manage time, setting a one-hour practice with interval bells every two minutes. When I hear the bell, it's time to move to the next pose. Over the years, I've learned that the more control you let go of during practice, the better.

Yet, it's an intricate balance; learning to quiet the mind definitely requires good control over where you place your attention. For example, when you experience a sudden surge of negative self-talk, simply recognize it and gently refocus on the sensations in your body—warmth, throbbing, heaviness, or lightness anywhere  what can you feel? It also helps to remind yourself of the purpose—why are you doing this practice? 

What is The Purpose Of Yoga

The Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali, the basis of yoga philosophy, defines the purpose of the yoga practice as Chitta Vritti Nirodha, which means to still the fluctuations of the mind in Sanskrit. Here's a word by word translationChitta - mind, consciousness; Vritti - waves, fluctuations; Nirodhah: to control, to quiet. 

Urban yoga photo by Fela Adebiyi
Yoga photography: Fela Adebiyi

Yoga is one of the first steps on the the eightfold path that prepares the body and disciplines the mind to attain wisdom, and establish a strong foundation to reaching the state of self-awareness, freedom and liberation [from suffering].

“The physical asana are just the beginning to equip the Sadhaka for higher experience. This Hatha yoga is: cleaning, trimming, preparing the equipment-that is, the gross body-so that finally a gateway to the subtle body may be opened with the tools that have been prepared.”
— Swami Veda Bharati

Through yoga practice, we experience Chitta Vritti Nirodhah - the stilling of the mind's fluctuations. This state of tranquility allows us to see and accept reality as it is, not as we want it to see The goal isn't to forcefully control the mind, but to let it rest in its center, without trying to interfere with the natural flow of things.

Just as a river flows and the body breathes on its own, we can trust the Universe to handle many things without our constant oversight. It's challenging, but with practice, we can learn to let go. Speaking of which, it's time to practice!

My Balancing Hatha Yoga Sequence: 50 minutes

  1. Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
  2. Standing Half Forward Bend (Ardha Uttanasana)
  3. Rest - Savasana - 5 minutes
  4. Tree Pose (Vriksasana)
  5. Rest - Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
  6. Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana II)
  7. Rest - Savasana - 5 minutes
  8. Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana). Also called Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
  9. Final Savasana - 10 minutes
Simple Hatha Yoga Sequence - 1 hour, 9 asanas by Meditate Mate

One Hour Later...

How was your session? Here's my yoga reflections: I spent quite a while just sitting in Sukhasana (easy pose) in the beginning. This simple cross-legged sitting asana is my favorite way to start off a practice and get centered.

The north wind was howling ominously in the chimney reminding me of those long dark nights in my Penthouse-style apartment on the 32nd floor in Shanghai back in the 2000s.

The incense burner with a mix of eucalyptus and lavender oil helped create a calm and relaxed ambiance in the room, just how I like it.

I do not normally put music when I do yoga and prefer to practice in silence. It wasn’t always like that. I remember the early days when I couldn’t imagine during yoga without the music. I needed an external sound, a rhythm to tune myself into the flow. Now I wear my noise blocking headphones and silently scan through the body as I sit on the floor on my Manduka yoga mat in oceanic green. Trying to listen to my own music deep down but hearing nothing yet.

My mind was chewing on recent conversations and what I should have done differently. Questions kept popping up in my head as I repeatedly returned my attention to my body and breath, bombarded by distractions.

  • Can yoga heal a relationship?
  • Can yoga heal me?
  • How can I heal myself?

Time will tell. To be continued.

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