What is yoga?
After delving (just a little) into the history of yoga last month, our understanding of this ancient practice and discipline increases. But the wealth of yogic knowledge out there in the world – from the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad-Gita to modern-day tomes and the never-ending sources of information on the internet – tells us yoga is much more than history. So… what is yoga?
According to the Bishnu Ghosh lineage of yoga – as followed at Hot Yoga Ibiza – there are five qualities of mind you will have to instill in yourself to reach your goal of silencing the mind and reaching a meditative state, in addition to the physical limbs of yoga. These qualities are listed as faith, self-control, determination, concentration and patience, and over the coming months we will cover each in detail. By learning to master the mind – essentially the communication system between the physical body and the spirit – you can connect with your true self.
But first of all, as the great George Michael once sang, you’ve got to have faith.
Faith supplies the foundations for controlling the mind. But what is faith? The word itself has numerous connotations, and is generally defined as belief, confidence or trust in a person, object, religion, idea or view. In our school of yoga, faith begins with you. You must believe in yourself to progress – not only in your practice, but also in your life. You are worthy. You are loved. You are strong. You are respected. You are good. You are valued. You deserve to be happy.
A simple tool to help you practice faith is to get into the habit of asking yourself – when faced with a choice in life – if the action shows faith in yourself, or disrespect to yourself and your body. Knowing the difference between right and wrong is easy. Consciously making the right choice and resisting negativity is practicing faith. This becomes easier over time, as your belief in your self grows with your practice.
Let your teacher instill his faith in you, and watch your faith in yourself increase. As your practice evolves, and your body changes through the practice, you will start to see and feel differences in yourself. You are giving yourself a gift, and as your self-esteem increases through the physical practice, you will start to notice changes in the mind. This is faith.
Let your fellow students help build your faith. Your yoga studio is your community, charging you with their energy, their power and their faith. A like-minded group of fellow souls coming from many different walks of life. Your fellow students can influence you positively, help you realise your dreams and goals and can encourage you on your own journey. Draw on this faith and in turn, encourage faith in those students around you.
Faith is powerful. Faith doesn’t need to be complicated. But it does need to exist – you cannot simply ‘say’ you have faith if you do not truly believe it. Once you have faith in yourself, you can establish faith in the world around you. Which leads you to the next step in mastering the mind, self-control…