Yoga is often translated to mean union, but of what? For me as student and teacher, there is the intent to move body, breath, mind and spirit into better harmony. They all feed into each other. With asana, the body and also breath can be the catalyst to alter the mind and spirit. As we turn our mind to positive thoughts and let go of judging ourselves and others, we can feel a sense of lightness in how we carry ourselves and breathe more freely as tightness in the chest releases. When we start to notice these interrelationships, we can find our own ingrained patterns that pull us away from balance, and then intercede in numerous ways to reconnect the threads of ourselves.
If we tend to live in our heads, and suppress the needs of our body, it can be helpful to cultivate the space and silence to invite the body to let us know what it needs. Time on our mat with our yoga practice can give us this. We can ask the body what it needs, and with open heart, be receptive to what comes back. We can learn to be a friend to ourselves. Similarly with our sense of spirit, we can ask if there is anything we can give it to better nourish it. So go ahead and ask the questions: You may be surprised by what you hear.
Ruth is a yoga therapist and yoga teacher based in Cheltenham, UK. She emphasises yoga as a tool for well-being, for individuals and in her classes, in person or via zoom.