Instead of trying to summarize my entire spiritual and physical (emotional / mental / energetic!) journey into YOGA, here are a few, quick FUN FACTS I learned this month during my intensive training:
1. The definition of YOGA: UNION / to YOKE
To yoke an animal means to harness it, control it, work with it.
The mind flutters about, all the time. Millions of thoughts churn in our exhausted brains on a daily basis. To study yoga is to stop the churning of the mind.
2. The yogic journey is towards your Purusha (SOUL / HIGHER SELF).
Take an empty jelly jar and place it upside down on the floor. You are the jelly jar. The space inside the jelly jar is your Purusha. The space outside the jar is the Divine (Brahma, God, the cosmos etc etc). The study of yoga allows us to purify and clarify our body/mind, so that we might see our Purusha / Higher Self more easily and clearly -- enlightenment happens when the jar lifts off the floor completely and our soul becomes one with it's source.
3. We all have Samskara (habitual patterns in mind/body/lifestyle). Our duty is to become aware of these habitual patterns and eventually detach ourselves from them, to let them fall away.
5. According to Ayurveda, we all have a dominant DOSHA (are you quick to anger? get jealous? or have trouble committing? This is not YOU, this is your DOSHA out of balance!) An imbalanced dosha is the cause of disease! Want to know your dosha? Take the quiz:
4. Most of us have very shallow breath. We breathe into our chests and give short exhales. This breath pattern signals the body to signal to our brain that we are in a "Flight or Flight" situation. PANIC! So, if find yourself at 4am, unable to sleep and a slave to your restless mind: Reach your hands over your head. Then breathe normally. With your arms over head, your inhales go straight to your belly. This will enable your body to tell your brain that you are calm and there is no reason for panic (because really, there is no reason to panic at 4am in bed!). Before you realize you feel better you'll probably be asleep.
On that note, here's the skeleton who teaches me anatomy on Sunday afternoons.
He's in Shivasana (Corpse Pose):