Yoga, Love and “Connection”

18 September 2013

Yoga is “Connection”

There’s numerous ways to define yoga, but each of the definitions are ultimately all about connection. In Sanskrit, the word ‘yoga’ is literally translated as “to join” or “to unite” and is used to signify any form of connection. So yoga means “union,” and the purpose of yoga practice is to connect. We can connect in many ways. We can connect with others or with a higher power. We can also connect our minds with our hearts; with our thoughts reflecting our feelings and vice versa. In fact, we need to connect our minds with our hearts first, because before we can connect to another, whether a thing, person, sentient being or higher power, we need to connect our brains to our emotions.

In its highest philosophical sense, yoga means conscious connection of the individual self with the highest Self, where you feel “at one” with the rhythms and cycles of the cosmos, God or the Universal Divine.

Yoga is first and foremost a science, a system of consciously practiced techniques and processes that enable you to be fully present and to realize your highest Self (aka Atman) which is inherently connected to all that is. Hence there is no dogma or belief system attached to yoga. Yoga simply instructs you to do a certain practice, to feel the effects and then to discover your true Self through that practice. For example, if you practice pranayama and breathe slowly and in a relaxed manner you will notice your heart rate slows, your mind becomes calm and focused, and deep insights are the result.

Whenever you totally experience this connection you are in the state of yoga; a balanced, blissful and life affirming state of being united and no longer a separate ego-based entity.

Love can also be “Connection”

Ironically, romantic and personal love both have their agendas, but “connecting” has no agendas. In order for love to truly be “connection” it must be universal and unconditional, it cannot exclude or choose a specific object (or person) to love. Have you ever noticed that when you love something, you feel connected to it? You start to observe the things you have in common rather than the differences that would tend to separate you. This is a beginning, a starting point where practice can help that love to expand, to become more and more inclusive.

Here you may observe your ability to love goes through different stages where the feeling of connectivity happens on multiple levels. At first you may notice that you wish for your love to be reciprocated, and as that wish is gradually replaced by feelings of selfless love, a new sense of freedom (or expansion) is experienced. This is where yoga practice and the development of selfless love meet.

As you begin to consciously practice love in a broader, less selfish and more expansive way, you’ll feel unity, or connectivity is beginning to dissolve the drama of your separateness and your ego-centered activities are abandoned in favor of a more compassionate approach. So continue to practice yoga and selfless love until you feel that your heart is so big and the love so infinite that you can hold the whole universe in your heart.

Closing thoughts:

The Bhagavad Gita recognizes the synchronous nature of creation and the underlying Divine/cosmic unity. The Hindu term, Brahman, refers to the fundamental connection of all things in the universe. The appearance of this Universal Oneness in the soul is called Atman.

The ancient Hindu mystics said everything in the universe was inextricably interconnected, and they used Indra’s Net to illustrate the concept. Stephen Mitchell, in his book The Enlightened Mind, wrote: “The Net of Indra is a profound and subtle metaphor for the structure of reality. Imagine a vast net; at each crossing point there is a jewel; each jewel is perfectly clear and reflects all the other jewels in the net, the way two mirrors placed opposite each other will reflect an image ad infinitum. The jewel in this metaphor stands for an individual being, or an individual consciousness, or a cell or an atom. Every jewel is intimately connected with all other jewels in the universe, and a change in one jewel means a change, however slight, in every other jewel.”

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