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Nutrition for the Human Soul: Understanding the Science of Yoga

Yoga and meditation for healthy soul
What makes human beings different?  The capacity to transcend our biological roots and the biological processes that affect your survival, this is one reason that make humans unique beings. Our self perception and our belief in the human soul and its importance in our life enable us to go beyond what biology has endowed on us, we go beyond feeding, survival and reproduction as we desire for something deeper, more meaningful and more purposeful.
Meditation and Yoga Therapy for the Soul
Our search for something deeper or more meaningful is probably one of the reasons why we stumbled upon yoga and meditation. It is undeniable that these practices have numerous benefits for us, both physically and psychologically. It is no wonder why health sectors are embracing the practice of yoga to promote health and well being. But do we truly understand the concepts of yoga and meditation? Do we know where they root from? Do we really appreciate its essence?
Understanding Yoga and Meditation Therapy
Most people understand yoga or meditation as a form of “exercise” or activity that promotes health and well being.  Pop culture made these as ways to lose weight, including it to all their “miracle” weight loss campaigns. Although there is some truth to this (as yoga and meditation has a lot of health benefits), this understanding limits yoga and meditation into something physical. To truly understand yoga and meditation, one must transcend from the physical and go into a transpersonal, psychological and spiritual realm. To truly understand yoga and to be able to practice it accordingly, one must know its philosophy: Advaita Vedanta. This is from an ancient Sanskrit word which translates to non duality, this is the absence of the separation of the mind-body entity. It is said that a person’s egoistic sense of separation resists the spiritual sense of being a part of the cosmic whole. To put simply, the philosophy talks about the union of the smaller self and the infinite self, when there is a struggle between the two, manifestations such as depression, anxiety and low self esteem follows.
We do not truly understand yoga if we do not know the philosophy from which it is revolves around and ill understanding also leads to ill implementation of the practice. When practices are misunderstood and misinterpreted, problems would soon follow, example, for most Westerners, the lengthy preparation phase for yoga is skipped and they typically begin with asana (the physical practice), pranayama (breathing) and at times dhyana (meditation). But in yoga, the physical practices don’t stand alone as they are a part of an integrated whole, it also defeats the primary philosophy of yoga which is nonduality or union, if the practice itself reflects separation, then people might not be reaping full benefits from something that is  truly meant to help people towards wholeness and wellness.
Another defining characteristic of yoga truly reflective of its non-dual nature is the interrelatedness of the five bodies identified in the practice of yoga: the five bodies comprises of koshas, the human being, prana, the energy, Buddhi or discrimination, sublime or bliss and mental or one’s personal mind. How these five bodies are interconnected and interrelated to each other is what defines our life. Such interconnectedness between the body and something that is beyond the physical is also observed and even talked about by other fields of study. The Freudian era for example proposes the existence of the conscious and the subconscious, a realm that goes beyond physical and cognition but is unexplained by science. Even other practices such as acupuncture and Tai Chi revolves around the same belief that there exists an energy way beyond the cognitive abilities of human beings and when these are channeled properly, changes can be brought in the body.
Yoga practices this through channeling prana (energy) in 72,000 nadis. These nadis are sites in the body similar to that of acupuncture meridians; these are then distributed via chakras or the so called energy centers. Each of the chakra is related to a specific area of the physical body and in turn would reflect health or disease in that part. Fully understanding the chakras shed light on one’s emotional and mental health; in a reciprocal manner one’s mental and emotional health would shed light on the person’s psychological or emotional experience. Example, breathing, meditation and stretching exercises release the so called “psychic knots” and help restore one’s mentality into a healthy state, if we skip on these BS If we do not fully understand this, we totally miss the point; it’s like watching 3D movies only without the glasses.
Our quest towards health and wellness transcends beyond making our bodies well, as quoted from a well known philosopher, the most important things in the world are the things that we do not see.
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