Yoga and the human body
On the most basic level, let's take a look at the human body. Tight muscles cause tension in the mind. Yoga theory tells us that the mind and the body are linked. As a result of this, yoga asana—that is, the physical practice of yoga—teaches us to stretch out and relax out the muscles, giving us flexibility.
Yoga helps us become more flexible... in more ways than one!
Once we have a more flexible body, we also have a more flexible mind. It is this flexibility of mind that gives us the ability to view other people’s point of views and not just our own. We can then start to let go of our own ego, which is one of the greatest gifts that yoga practice bestows upon us.
There are many yoga postures that allow us to show humility towards the universe. For example, whenever we place two hands together in prayer pose or namaste mudra, we are showing respect and humility towards others.
Namit performing a yoga asana
Another example is the child’s pose or balasana, where we bow down and lower our head in respect for the world we live in. Yoga mudrasana is another posture that also opens us up to bowing our head before others and before the world.
The very philosophy of yoga points towards making our inner being ego-less. We are taught to let go of our vices—the most important of all the vices being the ego. Yoga means union. Letting go of the ego means that you can connect with others and be in union with others.
Put your hands together for namaste
The word namaste is another one. Used a lot in yoga practice, its translation means "the light in me (or the spirituality in me) bows down to the light in you". The word namaste comes from the Sanskrit root namrata, which specifically means humility.
Meditation and your inner self
Meditation, which is another aspect of yoga, teaches us to bring the mind to a point of inner stillness and inner silence. We are taught by an ancient sage named Patanjali that yoga is chitta vritti nirodha—that is, yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.
Meditation brings you inner peace
It is these chiita vrittis, or fluctuations in the mind, that are related to the ego, and when we teach the mind to come to a point of stillness, we really experience what it means to let go of our ego. It is then that the real beauty of the inner self shines through.
The flexibility of yoga
We can see then that everything in yoga practice, from physical practice (which gives us flexibility) to philosophy and meditation, teaches us to dissolve the ego and connect, communicate and work together much more effectively with the people around us.
All over the world, people are connecting with yoga. People in every country practice yoga. In other words, the practice of yoga has allowed for the letting go of the ego and of boundaries all across the globe. A real connection between human beings is happening as the practice of yoga continues to spread.