Most yoga is challenging for everyday people.
Most popular yoga offered today is about physical grace and mastering challenging postures; which many of us just can't do. You don't need to master pretzel postures to benefit from yoga. It's not what yoga is about. Yoga is fundamentally about healing and balance. When done correctly it can relieve: stress, anxiety, depression and many of life's illnesses are related to the body-mind connection being out of balance.
The First Sutra (basic philosophical writings of yoga) by Patañjali begins with “Now begins the study of yoga.” and then defines it as the concentration which restricts the fluctuations of the mind-stuff (Chitta). Freed from them, the self attains self-expression. Chitta Vritti is basically the Sanskrit term for mind chatter. Vritti, literally means "whirlpool". So Chitta Vritti is the whirlpool of thoughts we experience. But is not who we are.
Neuroscience reveals that we have 60 - 80 thousand thoughts a day. Quite a bit of time spent avoiding who we really are and our true potential. And the whirlpool of thought is the source of a great deal of our problems in life.
The word yoga is derived from the Indo-Germanic root yuga, which means “bridle.” The word is closely related to the word “yoke” or union.
Yoga means "union, balance, and a harmonious state of mind; bridging the different aspects of life; connecting the individual consciousness with supreme consciousness (however we perceive that, since there are many interpretations: Christ consciousness, Cosmic Consciousness, Supreme Spirit… depending on ones' beliefs.)
Fundamentally though yoga is about unity, oneness, and harmony with yourself; which does not occur when the mind is in a whirlwind. So, it is probably not by accident that the first focus of the Yoga Sutras is concentrating on the reduction of Chitta (mind-stuff). Yet most yoga programs ignore this first and fundamental principle of restricting the whirling of the mind that we all experience. When we restrict the mind chatter, we can transform the tyranny of the stress that it creates to tranquilly.
“Neuroplasticity” is a modern term that demystifies what may have been considered a fuzzy, fluffy “story” that yoga and meditation practitioners have been telling for centuries. A person can actually change the size, shape and condition of their brain by thinking thoughts — both good and bad. The brain is not fixed. It is “neuroplastic” and can retrain itself. It's not magic; it's neurobiology and it has been proven by science.
The brain, mind, body, spirit connection
Yoga can supposedly improve depressive symptoms and immune function, as well as decrease chronic pain, reduce stress, reduce anxiety, and lower blood pressure, and more. These claims have all been made by yogis over the years, and it sounds like a lot of new age foolishness. However, everything in that list is supported by scientific research.
Source: Yoga: Changing The Brain's Stressful Habits
What neuroscience is revealing about yoga, meditation and mindfulness is exciting because essentially it's starting to catch up with yogic wisdom — yoga, meditation and mindfulness improve your brain/mind/body/spirit connection and makes you stronger, healthier, more relaxed, and more capable of self-actualization.
Source: The Neuroscience of How Yoga Helps Your Mental Health - Part 3
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