Yoga means union and, from within the context of manifesting our vision, union is critical. There are many kinds of Yoga. Some involve meditation only, some involve physical exertion and movement (Hatha Yoga). The objectives are the same – to connect us with inner cues and to progressively deepen and strengthen those connections.
Yoga uses breath to bring the body and mind and the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems into balance. Controlled breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system relaxing, decreasing heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature while increasing “feel good” endorphins and resistance to infection. In our competitive world the sympathetic nervous system dominates repeatedly stimulating the stress response. It causes us to feel anxious most of the time while increasing heart rate and blood pressure and constricting blood vessels.
Yoga strengthens our ability to control the nervous system specifically by increasing our ability to engage the parasympathitic response. Controlled breathing is fairly easy while we’re sitting comfortably. It becomes more difficult to control while practicing Yoga poses. But with practice breathing stays slow and controlled through the most difficult poses. Through Yoga practice we strengthen our ability to remain voluntarily calm.