One of the main things that gets me out to the Yoga Shed early each morning is the fact that doing practice helps soothe my mind.
The mental benefits of practice never interested me in the beginning. I thought yoga was going to help with weight loss and build muscles. And, I admit, the show-off in me liked the fact that even from my first class, I could do some advanced poses.
Soothing the eddies of the mind – citta vrtti nirodha – seems much more important as I’ve gotten older. There are more challenges with ageing and yoga is a proven aid in directing the mind to focus on what really matters.
Vyn Bailey, the Australian Catholic priest who took up yoga in his sixties, writes about the effects of practising in his commentary on Chapter II-2. He talks about yoga as an instrument for the integration of the whole person – physical, mental and spiritual. Then, he goes on to explain that samadhi means putting things together in the right way so they fit.
Yoga is for the development of the ‘fitting togetherness’ of all the elements in our make-up; achieving harmony in the oneness of our being.*
I think we all want that ‘fitting togetherness’ but don’t know how to go about it. Patanjali has created a road map. All we have to do is have the persistence to study and apply it.
[This yoga is] For the development of contemplation and the diminution of afflictions.*
*Patanjali’s Meditation Yoga, translation and commentary by Vyn Bailey.