The Indian God Shiva, at the ancient Khmer ruins Prasat Pueai Noi, in northeast Thailand

The Indian God Shiva, at the ancient Khmer ruins Prasat Pueai Noi, in northeast Thailand

 

Yoga has been around for millennia; “the development of yoga can be traced back over 5,000 years ago, but some researchers think that yoga may be up to 10,000 years old.”

It is believed that yoga started in the ancient Samskrithi culture of Bharata, (India).

The origin of; “the word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit ‘Yuj’ which essentially means to join or unite. The union referred to is that of the individual or the self-uniting with Cosmic Consciousness or the Universal Spirit.”

If you’re interested, check out the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, one of the ancient Indian texts that is often cited as the basis of the philosophy behind yoga. There are eight limbs of yoga, made up of 195 sutras that focus on gaining mastery over the mind and emotions in order to grow spiritually.

Mind-Body

There is mounting medical evidence (MRI’s and other)) confirming what was known long ago, that practicing yoga has numerous health benefits. This includes but is not limited to; increased strength, balance and circulation, better immunity, breathing and posture and reduced stress, anxiety, improved mood and greater self-awareness.

The remainder of this post takes an abbreviated look at that part of the mind known as ego. If you have a curious “mind” and want to know more about the ego and self-realization, there is an abundance of information about this subject online.

Some background

An article on Psychcentral.com advises that: “though the term ‘ego’ is commonly used to describe one who boasts, is arrogant, treats others with scorn, lacks empathy, and the like, the concept of ego is neutral in itself.

The word ‘ego’ is a Greek word for I”, meaning the core sense of self, a distinct and unique expression of personhood, albeit one that paradoxically exists in connection or in relation to life and others.”

Our ego by this definition then, is necessary and when at rest, neutral. It’s also capable of misbehaving though, as described in the following paragraph!

Doing Yoga or Ego?

A post in the Elephant Journal comments: “when ego mind is the performer of postures, our mind is actively engaged in self-criticism, comparing our performance with others, and judging ourself and others. Our mind is agitated and engaged in internal conflict even as our body is engaged in performing postures. As a result of constant internal conflict, our mind is restless. Whenever we are mentally agitated, restless, emotionally reactive to whatever we are facing at any given moment, we are engaged in the posture of ego.”

LotusLearning how to transcend or calm a “restless mind” is an invaluable life skill that is transferable outside the yoga studio.

I’m open to the possibility of “self-uniting with Cosmic Consciousness or the Universal Spirit” but also pleased to be doing yoga and not ego on a more consistent basis.

It does however require showing up, practice and some sweat!

Brian