The ‘mental aspect’ of Yoga was posted by a user on reddit. The user asked “I see a lot of posts on here about “crying during yoga” or “feeling all the emotion” and I just haven’t experienced any emotion ever in my practice. I’m not sure if it’s because I haven’t really done in person classes or what. I always view it as more of the stretching and cool down part of my workout rather than some sort of emotional/spiritual experience.“
When people think of Yoga, they think mostly of Yoga asanas or Yoga poses. This is one of the biggest misconceptions about Yoga. People also fail to understand the true goal of Yoga.
This particular user was using one of the popular online apps (downdog) for learning Yoga. It’s a great app. However this app along with other few apps like daily yoga+fitness can do better on the meditative aspect of Yoga.
One of the essentials of meditation is that it’s important to get initiated into meditative practices through a teacher. They’ll guide you on how to do it the right way. For instance, there’s a routine to even get into Shavasana (corpse pose in yoga)
While most apps and online platforms for yoga and meditation are great, in my personal experience while they do a great job at the poses. There’s still a lot of open space for meditation, and pranayama.
Meditation is also a very personal thing. While you can be guided and initiated, you’ll still need a lot of practice to experience being in a meditative state.
In my personal experience, especially when I’ve been into deep meditation, there’s a stillness like none other. To get there, I personally have to struggle a lot in switching off my thoughts. My mind is constantly at work. In my initial stages, I used to experience a burst of emotions at times. I’ve even fallen asleep. Now it’s just stillness. Getting there takes time and I’m also not able to always successfully reach there. But there are good days and those days recharge and refresh me.
The true goal of Yoga defined in the original texts is to reach a state where the mind is still. In Sanskrit, it’s called as Citta, Vritti, Nirodaha, which translated into stilling the changing states of mind. It’s in that state you experience your soul according to the texts.
According to the texts (more specifically Patanjali’s Yoga sutras), to reach to that state, there’s a process which begins with moderation and then takes you towards discipline, fit body (poses), control on your breath and finally meditation where you go from lower states to higher states
- Yama – Moderation of everything in life
- Niyama – Discipline
- Asana (Fit body, which is what corresponds to Yoga poses)
- Pranayama – Control on your breath
- Meditation where you begin from lower states to higher states.