Most of us don't associate material success with the Yoga discipline, even people who have practiced Yoga for a long time are not aware of some of the subtler benefits of this discipline. But even from the standpoint of energy management alone the advantages are enormous. Think about all the energy that we devote to stress and anxiety in our daily lives. What if we could free up all that energy and direct it towards the successful achievement of our tasks and goals? And this is just one of several powerful capabilities hidden in the highly under appreciated discipline of Yoga. Even though Yoga advertises itself as a solution for the mind and body, it is usually the body that gets the attention.
Tension, stress and anxiety are some of the consequences of current civilization, and for most of us, dealing with the underlying causes of these sometimes debilitating conditions is just too difficult, so we settle for methods and techniques for easing the symptoms, such as strenuous exercise and chemicals in the form of drugs and some of these methods carry a heavy price tag down the road. Add to that, the western cultures resistance to ancient eastern solutions, which is essentially a form of limiting our options, and we are faced with few possibilities for not only dealing with the causes but the symptoms as well.
When marketing the yoga discipline in the west, it was natural to focus on Yoga's benefits in the area of stress and anxiety and leave out its deeper capabilities, we don't mind becoming aware of our physical presence, but when you start talking about our psychology or the spiritual side of reality, well, we spend a lot of energy trying to avoid these kinds of involvements. But there are natural side affects to the practice of Yoga that are little known and not at all scary and yet have far reaching benefits for successful living.
For example; even those people who use Yoga strictly for the non chemical relief of the symptoms of stress and anxiety, are sometimes unaware of certain side effects such as the gradual development of mental self discipline. Many people do not realize that Yoga is a form of meditation and all meditation techniques are based on the development of the minds ability to hold its focus on one thing for a given length of time. I know, this may sound like a no brainer but just try to capture your attention and place it on, say your knee, for even a few minutes straight without drifting off to some thought crowded place in your mind.
Mental self discipline leads to the development of a particular kind of energy management capability. With normal meditation techniques we achieve this ability through the mind and in the case of Yoga, we achieve it through the body, either way we get there is ok. Mental self discipline allows us to take the energy we normally invest in stress and anxiety and redirect it into other more constructive activities. We not only become aware of our body, but we begin to develop an awareness of the activities of our own mind and this leads to a deeper understanding of how our thoughts affect our feelings and actions.
You probably already realize the enormous power that this represents all because you started out laying down and doing stretch and release exercises with Yoga to shed some stress, and suddenly whole new worlds are opening up to you. Now I have to be honest with you here, this is really exciting stuff, but many people experience that excitement as fear and so end up shutting down the development of this kind of awareness. The ability to control and manage our attention is the ability to manage our energy resources and utilize them in the most effective and efficient ways.
In a world where control equates to security it is extremely difficult to let go of that control and the illusion of the security that it affords us. Yet deep down in our hearts where the uncontaminated truth waits for us to find the courage to see it, we know that letting go and having faith in ourselves and our natural abilities is what living in the rhythm of life is all about. But faith in the unknown is exactly the opposite of controlling everything and everyone and is somewhat risky. But also, no risk, no gain! Comfort and security can become liabilities when they become too important in our lives. If we don't try we don't learn and if we don't learn we are not growing and if we are not growing we are not exploring our potential, and if we are not exploring are we truly living?
So the hidden powers and side effects of the Yoga discipline can be the doorway to success in many different areas of life, if you want to confine the power of this discipline to the simple easing of the troubling symptoms of stress and anxiety there is nothing wrong with that, but it is nice to know that you also have a huge power resource available to you when and if you decide to take it a few steps further.
Here is an excellent resource for yoga and meditation.