According to the book Practical Yoga Psychology by Dr. Rishi Vivekananda, yoga is a system of personal inquiry and experience that began when humans started asking questions of self-discovery when they first became aware.
Dr. Vivekananda explains how yoga is ancient because it dates back to when humans started having a desire to understand the body and its functions. Yoga postures, cleansing practices and breathing techniques were developed to keep the body healthy and strong. Self-awareness grew with a knowledge of the mind and its processes. Meditation practices evolved from a need for a calm, focused and clear mind to understand its processes. Self-realization began when humans became aware of a mystical energy. As communities and philosophies grew, so did questions about destiny and the meaning of life and one’s place in it. Yoga is a Sanskrit word – yug – which means “yoke” that expresses a joining together, a harmony between internal and external consciousness.
Dr. Vivekananda also writes that yoga dates back to more than 4000 years, and quickly spread all over the world.
I’ve always known yoga is ancient. But, I like this yoga Dr. Vivekananda speaks of that is more than just the physical. It is a practice of personal inquiry and experience.
When I settle on a yoga mat, I’m not there to twist myself into a pretzel or push my body until it hurts. I don’t like that. When a yoga class is completely physical, I start to compare myself to others in the room, wondering if I am as flexible as they are. I become self-conscious and don’t want to be there. Or, I block everyone out in my mind and take my time – adapting the postures to my level of flexibility when the yoga instructor has already transitioned to another pose.
I like a yoga practice that is slow and gentle, with guided meditation and breathing exercises, finishing off with relaxation. A practice that takes me into my body, connects me to my inner consciousness and slows me down enough that I can ask myself what is my place in life today? A yoga practice that gives me clarity of mind to ask myself how was I today? How did I grow? How was I just right?!! 🙂
It is my belief that yoga is not a workout, it truly is a system of personal inquiry and experience.
About me: Stephanie Wells
I am a Reiki Master Teacher of the Usui Shiki Ryoho System of Natural Healing, attuned both in Canada and India. As well, I am a student of the Bihar School of Yoga or Satyananda Yoga tradition and teacher-in-training of Yoga for Stress Management. My yoga teacher is Dr. V.P. Rajasekharan of the Wellness Yoga Foundation and Carnoustie Ayurveda & Wellness Resort, Kerala, India.
This blog series on Yoga Psychology are my reflections of my studies while reading Practical Yoga Psychology by Dr. Rishi Vivekananda as I work towards completing my Yoga for Stress Management course.
You can read my previous Yoga Psychology blogs by clicking on the below links: