Spiritual Connection: Spirituality helps everything. Period. Having a spiritual connection and practice soothes a human being to the very depths of their core. The spiritual connection is essential in coping with the stress of life.
The definition of Yoga from its origin is, “to join or to unite”. We can add to that, “Yoga is a unification practice of body, mind and spirit”. I know for me, this is true. I always feel the light of self-love, appreciation for my practice and a clearer mind to connect with the realm of higher consciousness.
From the Art of Living website, the author states, “Spirituality gives inner strength to manage difficult situations and to keep smiling. Being established in the Self, your inner peace spreads outward, and makes you a more responsible human being full of caring, sharing and love.”
Having a spiritual practice and connection will help the sufferer look outside of him/herself and stop the obsession that comes with focusing on ailments, pains, and dysfunctions of the body. What we focus on expands, so it is imperative that we focus on other things than what we feel in the body, particularly during a flare-up or crisis. These moments can last from days to months to years. The perpetuating depression, grief and negativity only worsens the emotional state, which will weaken the physical state and despair will soon become like an unwanted friend that refuses to leave. I know this from experience. The spiritual practice often associated with yoga (philosophy), can give that inner strength required to pull the emotional and mental state from that aligned with the physical suffering to an enlightened sense of wellbeing. It is a tough, mentally challenging aspect of chronic illness.
Lifting the spirit, will assist in separating thought forms from the physical suffering. It has been proven that “what we think about we bring about”. Quantum Physics, the science and philosophy of creating your life experience requires a lifted spirit in order to manifest the life we really want to live. By allowing yoga to life the spirit, this will create new patterns in the mind and body. Ultimately, a pattern of relaxation, peacefulness and connection is supremely important and integral in shifting the focus away from pain and debilitation into what is possible.
A regular yoga practice has been shown to cultivate peace, inner strength and and faith that all will work out. This sense of wellbeing is a connection to spirituality. For, true spirituality is all of those things. A sense of wellbeing, peacefulness, that all is working well and living in a state of ease and grace will lift the spirit out of feeling victim to pain and suffering.
From an article in www.Faithcounts.com, a recent U.S. military veteran states that with yoga his life was forever changed. He was able to rely on his mat to get him through the dark days of healing the traumatic effects of war-time. This is well documented throughout our modern history as more and more sufferers of PTSD are turning inward as a way to heal their spirits of the devastation they endured, witnessed and experienced.
Yoga Journal states, “Yoga is so much more than just asana (“Asana can be defined as a physical Yoga posture or position that is designed to help master the body and enhance the body’s functions”, recently written in Gaia.com). This path can also take you on an interior journey to meet your true Self.”
The “True Self” is equivalent to Higher Self, Spirit, Divinity and other labels. What this means is the part of you and the part of me that has always been. Beyond the cloak of the human shell, beyond our personality characteristics, beyond our careers, family life and origin of birth. Our True Self is the deepest part of each of us. It is the Heart behind the heart, the Mind behind the mind, the Spirit behind the spirit. It is the core essence of each one of us that is urging to emerge from each of us. The true essence of our nature is that of the Divine. Yoga assists us in capturing a glimpse of our “being-ness”. By working the body, clearing the emotions and quieting the mind, we have access to the stillness that is always there. We have a window of opportunity to connect to that sense of stillness and peace. The harmony and wellspring of connection exists here. Yoga helps us to reach that space.
From Psychology today, we learn this about physical ailments: “A physical crisis has the enormous potential of becoming a healing crisis—a shift in consciousness may occur as we heal and as a result, we may have the need and/or the desire to alter the structure of our life, choosing to radically change how we live”. I know this personally and have embraced the struggle of autoimmunity and have learned to love the journey I have been on BECAUSE of this disease.
Yoga has the opportunity to allow the practitioner to segway from working the body and quieting the mind, to deep, connection and introspection of the spirit. To me, this becomes a Holistic Practice and one that is a root toward healthfulness, prosperity in body, illumination of the mind and a strengthening of the spiritual connection. Once the body, mind and emotions has been wrung out of it’s toxicity, stress and the like, the spirit has an opening to communicate. The spirit has a window of opportunity to emerge. We become One with ourself, and with all others.
From a suffering standpoint, it is this connection that most calms the body, emotions and mind. It is this depth of stillness that we have a bigger chance to heal. The presence of peace overtakes all of the parts of the “self”, allowing the salve of unity and wholeness to surge through and create a paradigm of healing. That is my faith, my hope and my inspiration.
There are countless yoga postures, styles, teaching theories and traditions. Some are modern, some are ancient. Some are more geared toward a heavy workout, some flexibility, some philosophical, some all of the above. There is a yoga practice for every personality, race, culture, religion and creed. This is an ancient wisdom, when practiced with modern scientific research and anatomical safety, can be the catalyst to a better life. When the body, emotions and mind are healed, the spirit has a fighting chance to work in and through you. This is true unity.
The positive effects of a regular yoga practice when living and managing a chronic painful illness or autoimmunity, in unparalleled with any other form of exercise or ancient wisdom to date.
After all of this research and from my own personal experience, I am now even more convinced that my story to healing will continue as I commit to delving deeper into the yogic philosophy, my personal asana practice and allowing myself the freedom to remember the peacefulness I feel during each Shavasana I experience. As I remember this feeling and state of being when off the mat, I realize my body can remember this feeling at will. Thus, I am united in body, mind, emotions and spirit. The true essence of Yoga., on and off the mat.