Peace and connection
First of all, the philosophy of yoga talks about stopping the fluctuations, or ‘chitta vrittis’, in the mind. Holding yoga postures for long periods of time, for example, brings silence and stillness to the mind. Meditation, also an important part of yoga practice, also has the same effect.
Meditation helps you find peace
One of the reasons why yoga has been very popular in the history of humankind is that it isn't just a philosophy only understood and interpreted by scholars or holy men - it is in fact something that can be put directly into practice. Yoga is, and always has been, something very practical. Asanas or physical postures can be learned easily, and holding the postures gives you a direct experience of the sense of peace that yoga is all about.
It is this direct experience of peace that has made yoga so different to other philosophies in history, and is the primary reason why yoga stands out and has always stood out amongst all the others. Yoga means union, and every human being has an innate desire for connection, an ideal that appeals to most people.
Yoga philosophy also teaches that our original nature is one of peace. Most people spend their lives searching for something that is missing in their lives and they never find it because they are looking outside, but yoga promotes the understanding that real peace is and always has been deep inside them.
It is through meditation, asana practice, pranayama (breath control) and studying of the scriptures that yoga helps people to connect back with their original state of peace. It is this recognition of yoga being a genuine path to finding peace within ourselves that appeals to people.
Yoga as a personal practice
Another big advantage of yoga is that yoga teaches you the student that you are an individual. Yoga teaches you to work at your own level and your own pace. The benefits of yoga practice, including good health and the sensation of peace, are intended for yourself, so there should not be any competition. The world of competition draws us towards stress, and yoga, meanwhile, draws us away from this.
Yoga is a personal practice
Yoga teaches you to focus on yourself. And when you do this, you are a better person. You cannot have compassion for others until you first have had compassion for yourself. It is this respect for the self, the moving away from the sense of competition, the elimination of stress, and the moving towards a deep sense of peace that make yoga a special philosophy in modern times.
Overall then, the benefits of yoga practice are very real. In this modern world, there are many reasons to feel stress, but yoga gives us a very direct and immediate connection with our original sense of peace. Because of this, yoga has and always will have an important place in the world.
Has yoga helped you personally in gaining peace? How important do you think yoga is in the modern world? Comment below or share with us your personal experiences; we would love to hear from you!