How the Sacred Practice of Shakti Yoga can Heal the Whole Body
Yoga is not something new, and it is certainly not solely a physical practice of twisting ourselves into contorted positions.
Ancient Yoga was considered to be a whole and complete system of spirituality, and at the same time, a most potent source for health and healing. Yoga for healing is less known these days, however, despite its anonymity, the fact remains that the original, authentic form of Yoga is held in high regard as an incredible curative system that can heal all aspects of your being – the physical, mental, emotional, energetic and even karmic. To understand fully we first need to distinguish the original Yoga.
A great spiritual system was born thousands of years ago and rooted in the ancient tradition and customs of India where spiritual masters developed a fascinating science of evolution in which they entitled Yoga. The name originates from the sanskrit word “yug”, which means “union”, or ‘yoking’.
Originally Yoga was known as a complete and structured science for spiritual self-development. It was considered a technology of sorts where practitioners, or yogis, applied scientific knowledge for practical purposes. There existed famous lineages of sages and seers who achieved the ultimate spiritual success of self-realization or enlightenment by becoming serious practitioners of the yogic system. This is what makes original and authentic Yoga a science. It is a system of knowledge, which brings proven results and guaranteed, predictable outcomes.
To practice Yoga to heal the mind and body, we must start with the clarity that it is much more than a fitness or lifestyle choice.
Since becoming mainstream and migrating to the West, Yoga has undergone a transformation, and in my opinion, not for the better. Nowadays it is viewed as a mere form of sports or exercise and lumped into the same category as an aerobics class, Pilates, or Crossfit. This stretchy form of modern gymnastics is a far cry from the sophisticated and comprehensive path for evolution that the great Yoga masters created. Devoid of its original heritage and meaning, modern Yoga has become a lost cause from a health and healing perspective. Much of the early teachings have become obscure and this powerful approach to holistic, whole health and rejuvenation is mostly unknown these days.
Energy governs the physical body
It is well known in the ancient yogic tradition that there is much more to a human being than the gross physical structure, which is both visible and tangible. Beyond our physical body exists an energetic substructure, known as the human aura, and it surrounds and overlaps with our manifested form.
The physical body does not govern these energetic layers but, rather, these energetic layers govern and regulate the physical body. If there is an interruption in the flow of energy – also known as prana in the Yoga tradition, or chi or ki in other traditions – within this human energy field, then it is only a matter of time before the disturbance is revealed in the physical body. The energetic substructure is a blueprint, so to speak, for the physiological tissues and processes.
Energy is unique because it has an unlimited potential, making it the most extraordinary and under used healing tool available to us all.
According to the yogis and yoginis, it is here, in this human energy field, that the origin of illness and disease truly lies. What ultimately materializes in the body in the form of symptoms is simply a by-product of a disturbance or imbalance that is impregnated at a deep, subtle, and energetic level.
Therefore, in order to permanently and wholly remedy any health disturbance, it makes sense to heal and rejuvenate at the energetic level first and foremost, rather than solely addressing the physical manifestations of any disease. And this is exactly what Yoga can do.
Yoga eliminates the true cause
Now that we understand the genuine meaning of Yoga and we are aware that we are more than just a physical body, we can more clearly make the connection between Yoga and health.
There are two foundational characteristics that define Yoga:
- Firstly, the harnessing of universal energies, or in other words, incorporating various energies found in the universe into the Yoga practice for personal development. This is the same principle as can be found in Shamanic practices.
- Secondly, the concentration of the mind. The yogis and yoginis even went as far as to say, there is no Yoga without concentration of the mind. The mind is ultimately what attracts and then directs the energy.
Energy is unique because it has unlimited potential, making it the most extraordinary healing tool on the planet. It is so powerful that it has the possibility of surpassing the gross body, penetrating the aura, and bringing life force to the deep, subtle layers that need it most. By remedying the energetic flaw, the energy matrix becomes healthy and the physical body has no choice but to follow suit.
The 3 most powerful Yoga practices for health
The Yoga system is comprised of many tools and techniques including asanas, meditation, pranayama, mudras, bandhas, mantras and kriyas. Three of them are most notable in terms of their health and healing properties.
1. Meditative Asanas
Most simply defined, asanas are yoga poses or positions. In the Shakti Yoga system, asanas are not diminished to a physical practice or a way to stretch and tone the muscles. They serve a much more mystical and crucial purpose. When done correctly – with mental concentration and a focus on energy – asanas will bring great vitality and rejuvenating energy to the physical, energetic, emotional, and mental bodies (the layers of the aura).
Shakti Yoga is a more meditative type of practice whereby the practitioner aims to hold a certain asana with deep conscious awareness, creating an energetic accumulation and therefore the healing potential.
2. Chakra Energy Awareness
In yoga, all of the systems of the body, the mind, and the spirit are seen as a whole, inextricably linked, each with its part to play in the daily destiny of human beings. No one can be affected exclusively; any impact on one part of any of these systems affects each of the others.
Shakti Yoga works with the chakras, which are subtle energy centres located along a central channel in our bodies. There are seven main chakras, running from the base of the spine up through the crown of the head. Each is associated with different aspects of our being. For example, the second chakra—located about two inches below the navel—is associated with sexuality. The fourth, or heart, chakra is involved in our capacity to love, and the seventh, or crown, chakra is the gateway to spiritual realization.
These Chakras are linked to substantial nerve centres in the body. All of them contain sets of nerves and major organs together with emotional, spiritual, and psychological states of being. These Chakras must be kept open, fluid, and aligned so that the flow of energy will not be interrupted should a blockage occurs. By reaching the maximum energetic flow you can become immune to any disease, tap into the fountain of youth and reach incredible spiritual heights.
Pranayama is a highly sophisticated technology of Yoga. When authentic techniques are at the forefront of this practice, the healing effects are profound when taught correctly and not used to create an overuse of masculine energy, as seen in some dynamic yoga asana classes. In the same way that asanas have been reduced to mere stretches for the physical body, pranayama is likened to breathing gymnastics and hyperventilation techniques nowadays. In actual fact, pranayama is the controlling of the prana, or life force energy. This energy is slighter and subtler than the air we breathe.
You have the power to heal…but you must take responsibility.
If you truly desire whole body health and healing, then effort and determination are key. There is no magic pill or shortcuts in Yoga, not in terms of evolution nor in healing. Many of us assume a lazy approach to our health in which we relinquish our health destiny into the hands of the allopathic medical community and our trusted doctors. Rarely is health truly restored with this method, and moreover, we become further and further disconnected from ourselves.
If you can overcome this habitual pattern and mindset that someone outside of you holds the key to your health and find the inner strength and willpower to make your wellbeing a top priority, then Yoga for health can and will bring miracles into your life. You will experience increased vitality, inner peace, and harmony, mental freedom and happiness, plus much more.
A holistic, whole-body solution…a yoking or union.
To truly practice and live Yoga, with the aim to heal and to live a heart-centered joyful life, we must start with the clarity that it is much more than a fitness or lifestyle choice. We cannot find the comprehensive healing that Yoga has to offer in the modern gymnastics fitness approach. By using meditative asanas, with deep chakra awareness and activation, and pranayama we can influence the energetic structure of our inner being, which brings a re-alignment of the energy and a resurgence of the vital force. Yoga has been proven as a reliable and holistic solution to modern ailments, disharmonies, and diseases that plague many individuals today.
Hopefully you can see beyond the superficial facade of modern Yoga and develop a renewed appreciation for the ancient knowledge that it truly is. From spiritual evolution and self-realization to unprecedented healing and rejuvenation, as well as emotional and psychological transformation – the original yogic knowledge and teachings are comprehensive beyond belief.