How to Stay Young through Yoga
Written by Carmela Cattuti.
Yoga in the 21st century is the process of uncovering the self. It is a way to stay centered and calm in a turbulent world. Throughout the centuries yogis have used yoga postures to teach students how to live in two distinct worlds: the physical and the spiritual. The physical and spiritual dimensions are now embracing one another. They are like long lost lovers who, after many centuries, connect and meld. In the 1990s most yoga instructors treated them as separate entities. Now, as they say, times have changed and we need to live in both dimensions simultaneously.
In order to withstand the changes occurring on the planet we must be diligent in the care of our physical body. Aging is a process that belongs to the 20th century. Those of us who have practiced yoga for years have slowed the aging process dramatically or stopped it completely. This is no accident. Our consciousness knew (back in the 1980s) that it was crucial for us to commit to the physical practice of yoga. Some of us are here to show others how to embrace and transcend the tremendous changes to come on this planet and part of that process involves age reversal. We need to have youthful stamina to withstand the planetary shift.
It doesn't matter what your fitness level is; yoga is doable for everyone. As spiritual beings and inhabitants of planet Earth we have the right to longevity through vibrant, perfect health. Yoga assists in the release of static energy from our bodies. Many of us carry trauma within our bodies from this and other lifetimes. We now have the opportunity to permanently release them. When we connect to our essence (core energy) we embrace ourselves and struggle becomes a distant memory. When yoga is practiced with detachment we begin to let go of limitations; we grow spiritually and transform physically. Aches and pains disappear and our skin glows. Our intuition expands and we make better choices for our lives. We move with more ease and at times it feels like we can float and still stay grounded.
This e-book is designed for both the novice and seasoned practitioner. I hope to create a road map for seekers who desire a retreat from the old world and a path to easy growth. We age because of our thoughts and beliefs. In this e-book we'll observe our thoughts as we're in yoga postures and notice which thoughts need to be changed to accelerate age reversal. Always remember to have fun and enjoy the journey.
Control of Personal Energies
We have all watched movies and read novels that have a character with mystical powers. We've all fantasized about what it would be like to possess such abilities. A good example of these powers is Prince Vlad in Bram Stoker's "Dracula." The Count is over four hundred years old and can will himself young and shape shift into any form he desires. Linear time does not dictate to Dracula; he transcends it. He controls his life force and is his own authority. On the surface he does all this through drinking human blood but he also possesses clear beliefs in his supernatural powers. We need to affirm beliefs in ourselves so that Yoga can assist us in the control of our energy and move it in the direction that benefits us.
Yoga is an alchemical practice. Usually, if a person does not want to change they leave the practice. It's simply too painful both physically and psychically. Yoga shows us our limitations and abilities. It takes us to the proverbial mountaintop and gives us an expansive view of our inner landscape. During a practice we have the opportunity to observe our interior landscape with non-judgment. When we move into a posture like the pigeon we can see with our third eye (between the brows) and feel the congested energy sitting in the hips. We can move into the pose as deeply as we like and slowly release stale energy, creating space in our hips. We don't need to live with the tightness. We can release it with our intention while we're in posture.
Where we put our focus is critical in directing our personal energies. Intentionally directing our energy is what creates our reality. When we are present to where we are we can change. This keeps us from becoming victims of our unconsciousness. The depth of awareness we bring to our yoga practice is in relation to the amount of change we see in our lives. The deeper we go in postures the more we recognize core beliefs formed in this and other lifetimes. A regular yoga practice peels away layers of beliefs that are no longer beneficial.
Yoga gives us confidence. When we spend time in savasana (dead man's pose) we integrate all the qualities of the postures we've practiced. We need to be silent and listen to ourselves. We need to observe our internal energy. How is it moving? What is it saying? Our energy is never static. It may become stagnant sometimes but we can move it if we choose to. This is where the alchemy takes place. Shedding light on any thoughts or feelings while remaining detached is an alchemical state. We have been taught that detachment is bad or wrong but it is actually imperative if we want to grow spiritually. Through detachment we can decide which beliefs to keep and which to release. It gives us choice.
Our energy is part of the flow of the universe. The more we bring yoga into our life we realize that nothing is separate. We are all part of a greater whole. When practicing yoga we tap into this universal energy. It gives us an abundance of behaviors to choose from. For example, through a consistent yoga practice we are no longer at the mercy of our reactions. We can consciously choose to act differently. Control of personal energies takes time to develop. We've stored up fear, anger and resentment from many lifetimes so it's always good to cultivate a practice of patience.
Many qualities are required for a long-term yoga practice and patience is number one on the list. We need to work on some postures for years, satisfying ourselves with slow but definite progress. If we're willing to cultivate detachment and enjoy the process then we're utilizing yoga as it was intended, for self-awareness. Once we have a practice of yoga for self-awareness then we get the other benefits: spiritual enlightenment and perfect health. There are signposts of progress along the way such as making healthier choices in regard to food and decreasing the amount of alcohol consumed. Sometime there are also changes in relationships. These are signs that you're on the right path in your practice.
If change is not happening for us then we need to observe our mind set while practicing. Have we approached yoga with a sense of wonder and playfulness or are we attempting to keep up with the person on a neighboring mat? All yogic movement is initiated from the inside. If we're looking outside ourselves for information then we're mismanaging our practice. That's not to say we don't need to work with a teacher. We all need a teacher to monitor proper alignment, for inspiration, and support, but ultimately yoga is about the practitioner.
Persistence is another quality that needs to be developed in the individual who commits to a lifetime of yoga. An equestrian who falls off the horse gets back on regardless of fear. The same is true of the yogi. Poses may be difficult and painful be we continue to revisit them, gaining more and more awareness and wisdom each time we practice.
Like Dracula we are utilizing high magi, harnessing personal and universal energy to induce transformation. In the Middle Ages the alchemist mixed formulas for youth and vitality. In the 21st century a consistent yoga practice does the same thing. A Medieval alchemist with a spiritual practice that empowered the individual was silenced (burning at the stake, torture). That's why high magic was done in secret. Today there's no need for the yogi to have a clandestine practice; yoga is in every health club in the U.S. This proliferation of yoga could not have been imagined twenty-five years ago. In fact, conversations about yoga didn't exist in the main stream back then. Everyone has a reason for practicing yoga: reduce stress, improve body image, and become flexible. The most powerful focus you can have is self-realization, the other benefits are by-products.
How does controlling personal energy reverse the aging process? Yoga releases thoughts and feelings from the cells of our bodies, just through our awareness. Our cells become relaxed and new life can be directed into those cells. They no longer have to rely on constriction to survive. Our cells can relax and expand when we direct our energy into them. We can fill that space with breath and regenerate our cells. When we breathe in we take in fresh energy. The in breath pushes out old stale air and along with it toxins and old beliefs. When the cells expand we glow, especially in the face. It gives the skin a younger appearance. When we consciously breathe and intentionally release old beliefs we 5 Rejuvenate the cells giving them a longer life.
When we release old beliefs our bodies become lighter. This may or may not involve weight loss. Gravity has less of a hold on us and our spines become straighter. We look leaner and less weighted. In the 20th century our bodies were held together by fear of what might happen in the future. This fear constricted our bodies and interfered with energy flows. It's no longer necessary to feel constricted or fearful. (In fact, those who continue to remain inflexible will most likely experience more conflict and disease). Yoga assists us in the leap outside of linear time. Releasing the confines of linear time is essential for the flow of creativity. As yogis we make art with our bodies every time we enter a posture; we construct and de-construct form. Creativity brings us that youthful energy that is indestructible. Our thought process changes as we no longer think of linear time as tangible. Of course, we need to get to work on time and be on time for appointments, but our movement will take on a fluid quality and we will be confident that we have all the time in the world.
Once we challenge the validity of linear time we begin to think higher thoughts. Solutions to our perceived problems become apparent, sometimes during a yoga practice or after. We understand on a cellular level that struggle is not necessary and what we need comes to us easily and effortlessly. We want to feel that we are connected to the entire universe at the end of a practice. Separateness fades and an overwhelming sense of belonging pervades our body, mind, and spirit.
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