Connection. It’s a pretty important word for human beings. Nowadays many of us would be lost without things like the Internet, email, electricity, mobile phones…and back in the day, I’m sure people wondered how they ever survived without letters, stamps and telegrams.
Within the context of yoga, the word also has real significance. As a yogi and a yoga teacher, I really value the word connection because it gives my life, my work and my practice, real depth and meaning. I’ve come to realise that my ability to facilitate this connection on the mat, between my breath, my mind and my body, leads to greater connection off the mat, with friends, family, my partner, colleagues and strangers, and even my environment.
So here are 5 ways yoga helps me feel more connected. I hope it does the same for you!
1. Mind And Body Become More Synchronised
I always start my yoga classes by encouraging people to arrive in the room because whilst they are obviously there physically, often people’s minds are absent, perhaps they’re back at work thinking about the day, or at home wondering what to cook for dinner. Before yoga, I was often absent-minded, there was a total disconnection between what my body was doing and where my mind was...and this led to me feeling fragmented, disjointed and exhausted.
Now, by consciously connecting my mind and body, through the breath and through postures, I become present-minded and much more focused. When we are present, we so often have more clarity and more energy, and who doesn’t want those things?!
2. Relationships Become More Meaningful
We are all connected to each other by the prana (vital life force) that flows within and around us and we often refer to this prana as energy. You know how you can be really affected by other people; some can make you feel uplifted, others can leave you feeling drained? This is an example of how we are actually connected energetically.
Understanding this sense of connection, and knowing that I have an energetic effect on people through my words, my actions, even my thoughts means I want to treat others with respect and loving kindness. This understanding not only altered my perception of others, it has also improved all relationships in my life; friends, colleagues, family members and strangers and I know I have yoga to thank.
3. Feel Part Of Your Immediate Environment
Tree huggers, this one’s for you! Practicing yoga outside has to be one of my favourite things to do. It can be incredibly invigorating and leave you feeling deeply connected to your immediate environment. That same energetic connection we experience with each other also extends to our environment, as prana flows through creation at every level, environment included. Practicing outdoors, particularly in a place of natural beauty, can be both an incredibly uplifting and deeply peaceful experience. Colours become brighter, smells become enhanced (avoid practicing around a garbage dump) and I know that when I feel connected to my environment, I’m even more motivated to respect and care for it.
4. Clarity And Insight Through Connecting With Our Intuition
Creating the time to connect with my intuition has become really important for me, not just as a yogi, as a person. All the best decisions I have made in my life have come from a very strong and clear message from my intuition. When I try to mull over decisions, weighing up the pros and cons and contemplating the various outcomes, I tie myself into a mental knot and end up feeling exhausted and dull. While all yoga helps, meditation is the key yoga practice to facilitate intuitive connection because it gives the lower mind a chance to stop and rest. When the lower mind is stilled, a space has been created for the intuition to pour in and guide us with its awesome insight and clarity.
5. Connect With A Community Of Yogis
Fellow yogis! Our collective interest in (and love of) yoga, has brought us all here to this incredible website where we share our experiences, knowledge, thoughts and ideas about yoga. This is indicative of how this practice can bring a global community together in a really positive way and is a powerful example of yet another form of awesome connection through yoga.
I firmly believe that the more connected we are in life, the happier we are, the kinder we are to others, the better we feel and the more fun we have!
Does your yoga help you feel more connected? Write your comments below and connect with your fellow yogis!