It must be clear that it is not necessary to do complicated postures to achieve mental stability. Yoga is not an action you do, it’s an attitude that you cultivate.
It is intrinsic to life, pleasant and unpleasant moments. To improve quality of life we need exactly to pass the less pleasant moments in the best possible way. Going through the good times is easy.
Keeping the mind as calm as possible we avoid impulsivity and we facilitate conscious actions. Let´s call here unpleasant times problems. It’s much easier to solve a problem with the steady mind. Likewise, to go through the less pleasant, we should also keep emotions as positive as possible.
Emotions influence the production of enzymes and hormones. Negative emotions have an injurious chemical impact to cells and consequently to the immune system. If we can not cultivate auspicious emotions and a calm mind, go through unpleasant periods and solve problems becomes even more difficult. Therefore, the improvement of quality of life is directly linked to the ability to cultivate peaceful mind and healthy emotions.
It’s much more for the acquisition of emotional stability and mental health that we practice yoga, although a large number of practitioners nowadays seek only good shape. Good shape can be achieved with the help of various physical activities. In contrast, the emotional stability and mental health is a subject which the yoga technologies are highlighted for millennia.
There are many yogic techniques and methods for the acquisition of such stability, Hatha Yoga for instance, indicates, among other techniques, the practice of asanas, the psycho-physical postures of the yoga.
Strengthen muscles, protect joints, develop flexibility, promote postural alignment, eliminate toxins, develop greater awareness and body control and so on.
Develop concentration, investigate the link body-mind-emotions, understand the capabilities and limitations, work fears and etc.
To maintain stable mind and emotions is not an easy task, so the yogis of the past realized they needed a well-defined strategy. Found it much easier to develop mastery over the physical body, touchable and visible, and that the concentration needed for that is the same concentration needed for the management of stable mind and emotions. Therefore, the physical work of yoga is only a way to develops more control over the mind. That is, not seeking good shape, but mastery over the mind.
Asanas most contortionists and the simple ones, represent a time of crisis. Maintain stability even during this critical time is a training for the difficult times that will come in real life.
Higher the concentration and mastery over the body is, higher the ability to keep the mind and emotions stable. More the mind and emotions are in peace, easier is to maintain health and state of happiness.
Every practitioner has different strength and flexibility, as well as, more or less control over mind and emotions. Practicing yoga is to take consciousness of the self, discover the capabilities and limitations and in the process, expand capacities. Some, can well make complex postures and be far to maintain mental stability, while others, even when doing seemingly simple postures are able to maintain control over the mind and emotions. Yoga is a journey of self-knowledge. In Yoga there is no competition.
To keep the mind and emotions steady, breathing has a critical role in yoga, but this is a subject for another article.
Be healthy and in peace
I was born in São Paulo, Brazil and I teach since 2001. I studied in India with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and Swami Dayananda Saraswati. Living in Europe these last 10 years, I teach regularly in Croatia, France, Portugal and in Denmark, where I am currently living. Besides Yoga, I am Bachelor in International Relations with specialization in Political Science at Sciences Po – Bordeaux. I think my diverse education helps me to see yoga as lifestyle that can balance the individual and result in a healthy society.