Each individual experiences some sort of stress which, irrespective of its intensity, causes mental, emotional and at times, physical disturbance. If we observe and introspect, we will find that the root cause of stress and disturbance is our own mind. It then becomes imperative to manage the mind better. A song from a Hindi film Kajal, ‘Tora mann, darpan kehlaye’ (your mind is your mirror), explains precisely what the mind is. Mind is the mirror and we are a reflection of our mind. Our mind directly impacts the way we function, therefore, none can escape it.
There is a saying in Sanskrit, ‘Mana eva manushyanam karanam bandha- mokshayoh’, that is, the mind plays a dual role and is the root cause of our bondage and liberation. This duality of mind in a single context is both great and glorious and it is our choice to stay bound or exercise freedom. A dull, negative, lethargic mind leads us to sorrow. However, if the mind is cheerful, we see brightness everywhere. Whatever the mental state, mind is the base.
One can run away from the world but no one can run away from the mind.
Sage Patanjali, who compiled the Yoga Sutras, says “Yogas chitta vritti nirodha”, which means, yoga is to make the mind free from various modifications that may be pleasant or unpleasant. To be a good vidhyarthi, student; grhastha, householder; professional, leader, manager or yogi, it is important to manage the mind, else one would end up being a bhogi, a person who overindulges in pleasing the senses, or a rogi, a person with an unfit, unhealthy body.
Thus, the essence of yoga is mind. Practice of Raja Yoga – the royal path – yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi – helps us deal with modulations of mind with a positive disposition and overcome stress and disturbances.
The root cause of our stress is the conflict within. Our body, breath and mind are not in harmony. Conjoining these three to attain harmony is the aim of yoga. Yoga starts with breath because breath is the medium that connects mind to the body. Our mind has two parts – conscious and unconscious. The conscious mind is active when you are awake and forms a very small part of the whole mind. Remaining awake, the mind is receiving, processing and acting through cognitive and active senses. But, a huge part of our mind is the unconscious mind. The purpose of yoga is to attain balanced mind and make this unconscious part of mind conscious.
Approaching the mind directly is difficult owing to its monkey nature. To overcome the negativity of mind one must learn to practise meditation which is an integral part of yoga. Some of the early steps one must follow are: to breathe correctly through diaphragm and practise yoga asanas and pranayama, which will help to establish a smooth link between the body and mind.
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