If someone were to ask me what yoga was all about, I would tell them that it was about connection. Connecting the seemingly separate, and restoring the bond where things feel disconnected.
The word Yoga, translated from sanskrit, means to yoke, to join, a union. So in essence, yoga intends to join things together so one can experience, or remember, unity. Those of us who have stepped onto the yogic path have experienced glimmers of this unity, the immense feeling of connectedness. It is that direct experience with unity that enlivens us and draws us back time and time again.
How Yoga Cultivates Connection
During a yoga practice we feel more connected to our physical body, our mind moves into matter. Our awareness inhabits the present moment and our physical being within that moment. Any time spent truly awake in the present moment is profound and impactful and is something we all deeply crave in our modern day experience of being human. We awaken to feeling again in the present moment and connect again to feeling centers of our being, our heart and our gut. This place of being connected to self, to body, to feeling then sets the stage to feel the ripples of connection move out into the world in which we live.
-The asana practice of yoga improves vagal tone, improving the function of the vagus nerve. This nerve is directly connected to our sense of well being and our ability to feel connected to the world around us.
-Pranayama practice (breath work) empowers us to see the connection between seemingly opposite states of perception, the inhale and the exhale.
-Meditation allows us to clear the coloring of the mind to connect with the true self, and from that place see that we are connected to all things.
-Group practice, or practice with a teacher guiding you, also extends the capacity for connection. Studies have shown that synchronized movement experiences are opportunities for the mind to identify as a bonding experience with others. As we move and breathe as one, we feel we are one.
The artful asana practice informs us that we must move mindfully as each action has a reaction. Yoga teaches us to act, speak, and even think with intention, knowing that there will be a ripple out to all we do that will impact those around us. We learn to live with consideration for others because we remember we are connected to others, we are one. The desire to strengthen that connection can build stronger communities, healthy relations, and help us all to be better stewards for this planet. So yes, I would say yoga is all about connection.
Recommended Practices & Events
Livestream Discussion w/ David Procyshyn
David Procyshyn on Instagram Live on February 9th at 1pm PST for a livestream on this month's theme of Connection.
Classes to Strengthen Connection
Programs to Strengthen Connection
Meditation to Strengthen Connection
Join the Sangha Session (Community Conversation) in the forum: "What does connection mean to you?"
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