Updated: Sep 11, 2021
The practice of physical postures (asana) is the form of yoga familiar to most people, but there are other practices that can also be very powerful. Each of these practices enhances the asana practice, which in turn enhances the others. Taken together, yoga is unbeatable as a path to a life of lasting peace and contentment.
In addition to other benefits, asana practice makes meditation easier and more productive. Sitting still becomes more comfortable, and energy can flow more freely, which sharpens our ability to observe what comes up.
There are several breathing practices that can have a calming and grounding effect, in addition to releasing obstructions to the flow of energy in our bodies.
Meditation is also a practice of yoga!
Chanting has the power to take us out of our minds and into a clearer sense of who we really are. While repetition of Sanskrit syllables, each of which invokes a particular energy, can be both calming and grounding, it can also create a greater receptivity to other yoga practices.
Serving others with no expectation of receiving anything in return breaks down the illusion that we are separate from one another. It helps us stop the process we all engage in consciously or unconsciously of reinforcing our egos, which generally leads to suffering.
Yoga includes a set of practices focused on how we relate to and interact with others. These practices are simple to describe and challenging to do. They can provide yet another means of distinguishing the old patterns and stories of the mind from the clarity and presence of our true selves.