Healing can be done in multiple ways and Yoga is one of them. Yoga is not about just doing some postures. Asanas or postures are one of the parts of Yoga. When our mind, body, and energy are at the optimum level leading to a balanced state of being, then we can say that we have healed. The yogic process works on all these three things resulting in a wonderful transformation that we are striving for. According to Patanjali, there are 8 limbs of Yoga – Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana & Samadhi. Following these 8 principles, one can achieve liberation. However, if you are not considering the ultimate goal but to just heal, then following these principles in moderation can work wonders too.
Before we go into 8 limbs, let’s first discuss some basic things in order to initiate the process of healing. You will be surprised to know that, in fact, we don’t even have to initiate the healing process. It happens on its own, however, we don’t see the transformation because we keep interrupting this process unconsciously. When a wound is inflicted on our body, the body itself starts the process of healing. The wound doesn’t heal if we keep scratching it. The same applies to our mental and emotional states. A certain kind of clarity is needed to deal with the deep-lying discomfort and pain.
Before we go into the yogic process, let’s see some pointers to be able to apply it to our lives effectively.
- What does healing mean for you? What do you want to be healed? Ask yourself these questions and find out your own answers. You may listen to wise persons or enlightened beings on this concept and it is quite helpful. They are the selfless beings who want your well-being and it is a blessing to be guided by them. But in the end, you will need to go deep into it on your own as you are your firsthand experience. By finding out what healing really means to you and its ambit, you will have some idea of what you are heading towards. This gives a steady direction.
- Surrender to the process. If you can’t surrender completely, then do it bit by bit at your own pace. Devotion towards the process is very significant. This means that you are ready for it and unless you are willing, you cannot tread any path, be it suggested by anyone else or your own.
- True healing happens when it is at all levels. Be prepared to work on all these dimensions of yours – body, mind, energy & consciousness. Keeping all these faculties in healthy condition will speed up the healing process.
- Have your own basic routine and accommodate the outside unavoidable routine in it too for balance. It would be better to have a concise follow-up, so making only a morning or evening routine will set you up for the time ahead. And for the rest, let the day decide what needs to be done. This will not turn you into some kind of disciplined tyrant and at the same time make room for your own things.
- Get in tune with at least one creative flair. Be it music, dance, art, or writing. When the healing process begins, periodically heavy emotions come up. This is a powerful energy and if channelized creatively, it can aid us in many ways.
- Speak less than usual. Forget about the compulsion people try to impose on having to socialize. When we are in the healing process, it is better to be by ourselves as much as we can.
- Avoid being hard on yourself. The truth is that we all anyway do our best. Maybe our best is not as per the standard of others or of our own mind. Going beyond our comfort zone has to be very mindful and a loving process. So do your best but without judgment.
- Meditate. Before you pick one of the techniques, research and try several techniques, such as vipassana, yoga sadhanas, dynamic, etc. Sometimes different techniques work in different phases of life. Even dancing is a kind of meditation if you completely get into the groove.
- Make silence a part of life. Being in a state of Silence is pure and very much essential for one’s transformation.
- Stay in touch with your close friends and family members if you are going to a new place for the healing process. This is healthy for your emotional state.
- Eat nutritious food. Basic changes in the type of food we eat and how much to eat can bring a lot of difference in life.
- Always remember your purpose. Don’t let others decide it for yourself. It is okay to listen to everyone. They might be saying it for your betterment but they do not know your state of being and what you are going through. They mostly judge based on your social presence. Stay in touch with your deeper state and go with the flow with constant effort to bring in the real transformation.
- Understand the difference between change and transformation. Seasons change but they repeat themselves as they are in the cycle. In transformation, there’s a permanent change. It’s more deep and stable.
The pointers above are the constant preparation for the transformation & healing to happen as well as an ongoing process too. Now let’s understand how Yoga brings light to life.
Yama – It is the social conduct or code to follow. To live in this world peacefully, one also tries to maintain conduct that will not create unnecessary trouble for him or her. However, if we look closely at the 5 elements of Yama, i.e., Non-violence, truthfulness, Non-stealing, Celibacy, and Non-possessiveness, we will understand that all of these establish our inner code in such a way that we don’t become answerable to anyone. It is a way of inner freedom which is essential to living a content life. Non-violence and non-stealing are self-explanatory. Truthfulness is an empowerment of the self. In this era, we are encouraged to lie now and then but if you are aware of what it does to you, you will prefer to be straightforward and truthful. When we are honest, we don’t have fear. Now let’s understand Celibacy a bit. It indicates two things – either absolute renunciation from establishing a sexual relationship or being with one partner throughout life. Then comes the quality of Non-possessiveness in Yama. It is a minimalistic approach toward life, to possess only the things that we need. Yama is a way to strengthen the mind.
Niyama – Niyama means rules. Despite the common notion that rules are there to break, we need to realize that sometimes due to our rebellious acts we might end up hurting our own growth. What we need is a discretionary mind as to what to imbibe and what not. In the yogic culture, there are 5 components of Niyama – Cleanliness, Contentment, Austerity, Study of Self & Surrender to the Supreme Power. It is our way of living day-to-day life in such a way that we ourselves do not become a roadblock.
Pranayama – It is a way of regulating your breath that has a direct positive impact on your mind, body, and energy level. Prana is a vital energy that keeps us alive. There are many pranayama techniques for different purposes. Some can cool the body, some can heat it up, some bring immense balance to the mind, some enhance coordination between mind and body, etc. Pranayama has many health benefits, be it physical, mental, or emotional. It has the power to increase our energy level, calm our emotions, bring our minds into control, and maintain the healthy functioning of the internal organs.
Asana – An asana is a yoga posture. Yoga is not just exercise. When a yogi does asana, his mind and body are completely conscious in a particular posture. An asana is first practiced in the way it has to be done, then the duration of staying stable in that particular posture is increased gradually, and lastly, efforts are made to bring mind, emotions, energy, and body to oneness.
Pratyahara – In simple words, Pratyahara is the withdrawal of senses. For e.g., It is quite common to withdraw from social media when we are tuning into ourselves. So a lot of people mildly follow Pratyahara from time to time. But it is not directed towards outside inputs only. It is about having a command over our senses so that we are not led by the desires created by them. This is real freedom. Otherwise one is constantly falling into the loop of creating desires and fulfilling them compulsively.
The other three limbs of Yoga Dharana, Dhyana & Samadhi are the major wheels to getting liberated. Dharana means concentration and Dhyana is meditation. We need both to heal deeply. Unless we can bring our minds to some state of stability and stillness, we will not be able to fulfill what we are intending to. Samadhi is transcending this dimension and reaching a state of being where we cannot be disturbed at any cost. It is a blissful state and the highest potential of a human being.
No one can heal us, they can help us to create a suitable environment but we are the ones who can do it for ourselves. Along with being kind to ourselves, we also need clarity. That is why Yoga is a brilliant tool to evolve into our full potential. It brings a complete transformation, not a superficial change. Unless we are in our best shape of mind, body, energy, and consciousness, we will keep running around in life. It is time that we take the matter of healing into our own hands and do the needful. That is true love.