How Yoga Works

Yoga provides clearer skies in your mind for smoother sailing!
Yoga provides clearer skies in your mind for smoother sailing!

Yoga practice provides a systematic way to create more harmony to address problems and fears and to bring inspiration and creativity. Here’s the map from confusion to solution.

Stage 1. Emotional Obsessive Thinking

A mind out of balance experiences looping thoughts about problems. This emotionally-colored thinking  prevents understanding — you try the same thing and expect different results or you get angry at the circumstances. Yoga helps to bring about concentration that puts pauses into the obsessive replaying of thoughts.

Stage 2. Enough Calming of Emotions to Think Clearly

Having paused the part of your thinking that is emotionally-charged confused analysis, you start to be able to get a more logical, more detached, clearer assessment of what’s going on. You can draw on your experience to find some answers.

Stage 3. Enough Calming of Mind to Open to Inspiration

Continued practice of stilling your mind begins to create an experience of the distinction between your constant engagement with the world through your senses and a background consciousness. You begin to have moments of being without thinking or doing. This opens a channel for ideas that seem to come from elsewhere, rather than only trying permutations of something you’ve tried before. That inspirational fount provides a new source of intelligence to complement your analytical thinking.

Stage 4. Enough Inspiration to See How the World is Working

When you have enough regular experience of stillness of mind (samadhi, in Sanskrit), you begin to shine your inspiration in ways that help you understand how life works. Then you see the patterns, changes, and progressions that make up your experiences. You appreciate what inevitably changes and what transcends  change. Then life is less surprise and more cause for wonderment. Creativity and inspiration flow. Problems become no more than tasks to be dealt with, you trust your decisions, and your life has more of a quality of gracefulness.

Practice Makes It Happen

While yoga done with a knowledgeable teacher has worked over and over to bring practitioners through these stages, it is more than just knowing the information. It’s the practice itself that does the work. When done seriously over a period of time, the practice delivers its results: the move from obsessive confusion to graceful inspiration.

Peter teaches classes, workshops, and trainings in New York and DC this winter. Check here for details.