Yoga is a personal transformation process. This simple fact is something that has become more and more evident to me during the years that I have been practicing yoga. While people practice yoga for many reasons, everyone comes to realize its benefits of self-improvement and healing.
Over the years, I have seen people join yoga programs to lose weight, improve their study skills, reduce stress, heal injuries, strengthen their body and mind, find compassion, feel better, and the list goes on. We all face challenges in life and struggle to transcend them. Yoga is a great way of doing just that. Yoga is far more than just a physical activity. It is a lifestyle that merges esoteric philosophy with the practical realities of daily living.
As a philosophy of holistic wellness, yoga leads to profound personal and spiritual growth. As you come to understand yoga as a way of life, practicing yoga both “on the mat” and in your daily life becomes an immensely powerful tool. The Pure Heart of Yoga offers a step-by-step, integrated mind-body-spirit approach to experiencing the true personal transformational power of yoga poses.
This article gives you the tools you will need to chart a course of personal transformation. All that you need is an open mind and heart, a desire to learn the depth and breadth of yoga, and a sincere willingness to commit to your personal transformation. The desire to deepen your yoga practice doesn’t come with any other requirements. Practitioners of every level can use the principles outlined in this article.
The Ten Step Approach to Mastering Yoga Poses for Personal Transformation
The foundation of The Pure Heart of Yoga is based on the following ten steps that I have experienced and fine-tuned throughout my personal experience with yoga:
- ONE Intention (Samkalpa)
- TWO Attitude (Bhava)
- THREE Posture (Asana)
- FOUR Breathing (Pranayama)
- FIVE Archetypes (Purvaja)
- SIX Energy Centers (Chakras)
- SEVEN Concentration (Dharana)
- EIGHT Locks (Bandhas) and Seals (Mudras)
- NINE Psychological Blocks (Klesas)
- TEN Emotional Transformation (Bhavana)
Treat this material as a gateway to experiencing the richness that yoga has to offer rather than as a strict, methodological program. Working through the steps is not a timed, set program; you will move back and forth, depending on your challenges and goals.
While the steps do build upon each other, don’t get caught up in “checking off” the steps to get to the “finish.” Even experienced yogis at times come back to the beginning steps in their yoga practice. The steps are a template that will grow with you over time as certain steps become more relevant at different times in your life than others.
Be careful not to be in a rush to experience all the benefits these ten steps have to offer. Enjoy the process and honor your patience, and in doing so, you will notice shifts in your practice in the months and years to come.
Ten Essential Steps for Personal Transformation with Yoga
- Do not force, strain, or stretch further if any pain is noticed. Success in yoga poses is not measured by flexibility. Learn to find inner peace from yoga.
- Do not eat a heavy meal within two hours of practicing yoga poses.
- Do not hold your breath for longer than six seconds in any pose. Breathe normally anytime you need air.
- If your back hurts from sitting on the floor, please use a chair; no extreme discomfort should be felt.
- During group discussion, speak only from your own experience. Do not advise others in the group unless a question is addressed to you. If you strongly disagree with a person in the class or the instructor, discuss your issue in private.
- For beginners, try six to eight yoga classes to determine if you plan to continue with yoga over the long term. Remember that there are a variety of yoga styles, so what you experience in one class will be different in another class. Normally, it requires one year to integrate the first level of yoga principles into your life: relaxation, deep breathing, stress management, and flexibility. Ten minutes to an hour of daily practice at home is recommended for maximum benefits.
- Classical yoga is a non-sectarian, non-dogmatic, philosophical approach to healthy living. People of all faiths are welcome to learn yoga as well as those who consider themselves atheist or agnostic.
- For women:
- In the case of pregnancy, please notify the instructor at any stage. Forward bending, backward bending, inverted poses, and twists may need to be modified or avoided during pregnancy. Yoga’s relaxation is beneficial, but stretching must be adapted to pregnancy.
- During menstruation, inverted poses (Shoulder Stand) are to be modified due to the shift of blood flow that may disturb the natural process of the body. Also, any position that causes strain may be modified.
Also Read: Basic Breathing Tips for Yoga Beginners