Yoga is a 6000-year-old spiritual practice to cultivate wholeness. It means union, and in its philosophy, the world we experience is a dance of opposites. With yoga, we unify them through practices that bring about conscious awareness that we are not separate from anything around us. And we change. We experience wholeness; we experience joy; and we experience freedom.

As described by my teacher, Swami Jaya Devi Bhagavati, “Yoga teaches us to live fully in the present moment . . . The path of yoga encourages us to be aware, grounded, responsible beings who are not constantly limited by fear.”

Yoga is an eight-limbed path to enlightenment, or consciousness of the oneness of all that is, was and ever will be. Its practices are designed to unite the individual soul of the practitioner (your Higher Self) with the universal soul (the Universal Self). In the United States in particular, we think of yoga as the practice of physical postures. However, the physical postures of yoga—called asana—are only one of the 8 limbs of yoga. Asana is a tool to open the body (and thereby the heart and the mind) to facilitate meditation and ultimately, to attain wholeness, or consciousness, through union with the universal, indivisible divine. But it is only one small part of an entire spiritual tradition. By contrast, four of the eight limbs of classical yoga are dedicated to the internal exploration of the Self and to its union with the divine.

While New Age philosophies may draw upon tenets of Eastern spiritual traditions, including yoga, there is nothing New Age about yoga itself. It has been practiced for thousands of years. And its practices have been refined and amplified through repetition to align you with not only your Self, but the universal Self.

Science is now proving what yogis have known for hundreds of centuries. The universe (and everything in it) is a vibration. You vibrate. The air around you vibrates. The water in the glass on your desk while you work vibrates. Every piece of matter (and everything in the universe has some matter) vibrates. It is a law of nature.

You don’t have to be a quantum physicist to understand this. Really. Remember elementary school science? Matter exists in different states as gas, liquid or solid, and the movement (vibration) of the molecules (and their parts) varies with state. The molecules in a gas move (vibrate) at a faster rate that the molecules in either a liquid or a solid; and the molecules in a solid move (vibrate) at a slower rate than those in a liquid or a gas.

The practices of yoga are designed to attune you to the vibration of your higher Self and unite it with the universal Self—and have been practiced and refined for thousands of years. Asana (physical postures) is designed to open and align the body. Pranayama (breathwork) is designed to open the heart and connect the body, mind and spirit. Mantra (chant or repeated affirmation) is designed to quiet the mind and align your being with the vibration of universe. What is so powerful and impactful about yoga is that its effect is immediate. It cuts through the BS.

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