This post is also available in: Български (Bulgarian)

People practice yoga because of various reasons. What unites them all is the desire to feel the beneficial effect of yoga on their health and self-development.

Very often yoga is perceived just as an activity with strong effect on the body, improving the flexibility and strength. Some are doing it to reduce their weight, others to get rid of the pain in the back or just to become more flexible. Definitely, yoga is much more than that. It’s a way of life, which leads to deep individual and spiritual growth. Yoga is a transformational process, which unites the body, spirit and mind. Each one of the asanas (the postures in yoga) has a concrete power, intention and meaning, that go far beyond the physical postures of the body. In the book “The pure heart of yoga” by dr. Robert Butera are described 10 main steps for self-development with yoga. These steps help us to understand the deeper meaning of the practice and to go with patience to ourselves and the process.

The 10 steps can be defined in the following groups:

Basic practices: The first 4 steps deal with the various aspects of the intent (a meaningful goal for practicing yoga, leading to immediate connection between mind, body and practice), attitude (this awareness is closely related to the intention to practice yoga. It helps us to realize the link with the nonphysical essence of yoga poses and can be applied also in everyday life), posture (the physical structure of yoga poses) and breathing (deep breathing is key in yoga, it releases the stress and affect deeply our body, mind and spirit). These steps are mandatory for the yoga practice and form its basis.

Inner Yoga: This group reveals different, deeper perspectives of yoga practice that will allow you to make new discoveries for yourself in a long term. The steps here are: archetypes (explaining the history of each yoga posture, revealing its origin), energy centers (deep awareness of the mind-body relationship and the chakras associated with the particular asanas), concentration (concentration on certain points of the body and how this affects of the performance of the asanas), energy stamps (mudras) and physical keys (bandhi) that deal with the energy power and the awareness of the energy flow in the body.

Self-awareness and psychology: the last two steps relate to the psychological barriers and emotional transformation (bhavana). They summarize the power and the psychology of yoga and how it help us to cope with different challenges in our life.

Here we have the Intention, Attitude, Mind Concentration, Energy Center, Psychological Barriers, and Emotional Transformation behind some of the most commonly practiced asanas in Yoga.

  1. Easy posture (Sukhasana):
  • Intention: Purity
  • Attitude: Striving for the true self; rooting the ground while we reach the sky
  • Concentration of the mind: the base of the body, the solar plexus, the heart, the third eye, the top of the head
  • Energy Center: Third Eye Chakra (6th Chakra) and chakras related to specific meditation techniques
  • Psychic barriers: Ignorance
  • Emotional Transformation: If you experience a negative emotion, meditate on its opposite emotion.

  1. Downward facing dog (Arda Mukha Svanasana)
  • Intent: Joy
  • Attitude: Optimism
  • Concentration of the mind: Heart, throat
  • Energy Center: Heart Chakra
  • Mental barriers: Attachment, a sense of ownership
  • Emotional transformation: Unconditional love, transformation of emotions with loyalty and devotion

Photo: www.yoga.ua

  1. Plow pose (Halasana)
  • Intention: silence
  • Attitude: Humbleness
  • Concentration of the mind: Throat
  • Energy Center: Throat Chakra
  • Psychic barriers: Fear
  • Emotional transformation: Willingness to be silent; overcoming the need for external justification

Photo:www.workouttrends.com

  1. Shoulder stand (Sarvangasana)
  • Intent: Introspection
  • Attitude: Wisdom
  • Concentration of the mind: Top of the head
  • Energy Center: Crown Chakra
  • Psychic barriers: Ego, fear of change
  • Emotional transformation: Recognition and acceptance of the limitations of our own point of view; feeling the difference between selfishness and selflessness; seeing things from a new position.

Photo: www.magicseaweed.com

5. Warrior 1 (Virabhdrasana)

  • Intention: Strength, Courage
  • Attitude: Self-esteem, perseverance
  • Mind concentration: The solar plexus
  • Energy Center: Solar Plexus Chakra
  • Psychic barriers: Fear, rejecting emotional challenges
  • Emotional transformation: Positive emotions can be develop with the necessary effort; as a spiritual warrior act with confidence and open heart

Photo: www.healthandsoul.ru

6. Cobra pose (Bhujangasana)

  • Intention: Transcendence
  • Attitude: Achievement
  • Concentration of the mind: Top of the head
  • Energy Center: Crown Chakra
  • Mental barriers: Not aware of the changing nature of life
  • Emotional transformation: Enjoy the inner peace while going through transformation

  1. Child’s pose (Balasana)
  • Intention: Openness, Connecting to infinity
  • Attitude: Humbleness through conscious receiving
  • Mind concentration: The hands and feet touching the floor; the point between the kidneys on the back of the body
  • Energy Center: Sacral Chakra
  • Psychic Barriers: Life escape
  • Emotional transformation: Feel the freedom of the little child who does not have any issues and the whole world takes care of him.

The deeper we enter into yoga as a philosophy and a way of life, the stronger we feel its purifying, freeing and transformation power. No matter which style you will choose and how advanced are you, yoga is a journey that will reveal unexpected horizons for you.

Source: “The pure heart of yoga”, dr. Robert Butera