Why do yoga?

Yoga can be done for many reasons. The physical exercises have similar benefits as classical workout or physical therapy, in terms of strengthening your body, releasing tensions, and getting new energy. However, in the original yoga traditions, you can receive so much more than that. By combining the physical exercises with an increased awareness of your movements, you become more present in your body. This increased body awareness is in itself closely related to a state of well-being, and it also gives you a sort of robustness towards stress. Furthermore, by lying for extended periods of time in the yoga and stretching poses, your tensions will have no chance but to let go. This can be contrasted with e.g. massage, where the tensions usually only temporarily disappear. The physical exercises also prepare for yoga's other approaches of dealing with tensions and problems: through the breath and through the mind.

In yoga, all problems are believed to have three aspects - in the body, in the breath, and in the mind - and you therefore use all these three arenas to work with yourself. Regarding the breath, you have probably yourself noticed how your breath tells you something about your state: if you are nervous, for instance, your breath is usually quite fast and shallow, and then it usually helps you to just "take a few deep breaths". In yoga we have generalized this breath-state observation into a science of its own, using precise exercises which deal with the second aspect of your tensions, and which also prepares you for the third and last aspect: the mental aspect.

By preparing the body and mind by the physical and breathing exercises, you will notice that meditation in this type of yoga will come pretty naturally. Likewise, also the meditation is done in a process which follows the natural unfolding of the mind. This first involves passing through the various "problems" you might have, in terms of daily worries, and then more deep-lying issues. Compared to therapy, however, you pass through these contents within your mind in a non-judgmental way, where the various aspects can be seen and released in a rather effortless fashion. Once you have passed through all these layers in your mind (which to some extent will happen in each yoga session), you will end up in a content-free state, where you simply rest in a state of being.

To reach this state of being is one of several reasons why yoga brings balance to your life. In yoga you consider life as having two aspects: being and becoming. The becoming aspect is what you do during virtually all of your waking time. However, in yoga you learn to meet your other side: the state of doing-free being. By travelling to this state you will therefore get to know a new and vitally important side of yourself, and - equally important - you will also learn to come from a state of being in all your sub-sequent doings. These yoga-sessions will therefore put your whole life in a new perspective. Finally, by being able to reach and work with all these different facets of your being, you will also achieve a completely new understanding for yourself, where you also feel that how life proceeds is more and more in your own control. And that is a great feeling!