Why practice yoga?
The practice of yoga is a dive into the deep. In a way, there is no turning back, as we start to see ourselves, others, life in general in all its different expressions through new eyes. Are we ready for this change? Why embark on this practice?
The aim of yoga is to cultivate awareness. We train the mind to be concentrated and fully present, so that it does not get lost in memories or planning, in the past or the future, as it usually does, running away from what is the actual reality of the present moment, which may simply be that I am sitting still and breathing! In this way, we develop awareness of oneself, one's thoughts and emotional reactions. Taking that from the mat or meditation cushion into everyday life situations, in which there are usually more external disturbances and complicating factors, translates into being more aware of our relationship with others and the world as a whole. Through the practice of awareness, we create more harmonious relationships, again first with one's own self and then with others. To be concentrated (< con + centre) does not mean to isolate oneself, and cut oneself off from the surroundings; rather, concentration is about remaining in contact with one's centre, with one's sense of self in the deeper sense, one's essence and grounding, and with this true centre as a base to be fully involved and interact with the environment.
The basic underlying need of all beings is to be happy. By exploring one's own body and mind through yoga practice, investigating what is real and eternal, and what is a figment of our minds and therefore transient, what we have created as a layer of protection out of fear, we allow space for our basic goodness to surface, so that we become better, kinder and thus happier persons. Whether received or offered, kindness always feels good.
That is what the union of yoga is about; to recognize that in essence we are all the same, we all long for love and care. And this journey towards the other starts from the connection and loving relationship with oneself.