As a student of yoga I find great value in understanding the gifts of the practice. However, there are so many gifts to the practice that understanding them all in a short window of an hour or an hour and a half is beyond the scope of reason. As would be expounding them in a short blog post. Rather, one at a time we unfold the wrapping of these magnificent presents, on and off the mat, in pursuit of truly understanding this wealth of knowledge that has been developing for centuries.
One of the most beautiful of the gifts of the practice is the profoundly rewarding gift of self-awareness. In the context of yoga, the practice of tuning our being into a state of continuous harmony with our hearts, our motives, our relationships, and our environments, self-awareness is the necessary tool to get the job done well. When we come to the mat and our gaze turns in, toward our breath and our body, it is essentially also an act of reaching into our toolbox to grab our tuning instruments.
Thousands of channels of energy run through our bodies. From the more gross channels of veins, nerves, muscles and connective tissues to nadis, belief structures, and the states of being in our hearts, we are constantly experiencing energy in motion. Sometimes the movement of energy through these countless channels becomes blocked, resulting in discord, discomfort, disease, and distress. The combined efforts of pranayama, asana, and contemplation, practiced in a consistent manner over an extended period of time, result in the clearing of such blockages, the healing of illness, the reduction of stress, and the harmonizing of the fragmented aspects of an unintegrated whole.
The significance of the practice and its effects on ones life are as multitudinous as the various asana poses, schools of yoga, and thoughts that run through ones head in the course of a lifetime. Over time, just as with the many aspects of the self, with return to the practice more and more will be revealed, assimilated, and transformed into something of use and value. Such gold then becomes useful on and off the mat to bring more luster into ones life, more choruses of harmony, and more sweetness of ease. This is the kind of gift that we unwrap over the course of our disciplined practice. This is the power of self-awareness that in time reveals much more than just that which first meets the eye.
“Practice and all is coming.” –Pattabhi Jois
With Love, Always, in All Ways, For Giving,