The work of “going within” has tangible benefits in the “real world” because your life is a series of actions that are all based on something that occurs within you. [In the yoga context, all thoughts, words and actions are actions.]
Your life is also a web of relationships. This is true even if you are on a desert island because you are in relationship with yourself. And yes, how you engage in relationship is also based on how you feel inside.
The asana (physical) practice serves as a mirror for your relationships. It shows you your feelings and misperceptions as you have them. This is invaluable and helpful. It shows you relationship boundaries—your hamstring only stretch so far—and how you deal with limits. Finally, it can show you your patterns. In fact yoga is particularly adept at this.
The vast majority of the way we deal with the world is based on patterns. For repetitive tasks, such as walking and driving, this is very helpful. However to truly feel alive and vibrant, it’s necessary to be in relationship moment to moment. This brings a freshness and authenticity that no pattern can replicate.
Thus, much of the work of yoga is seeing, working with and letting of your patterns.
1) Are they are based on reality? That is, what is actually going on instead of what went on yesterday or twenty-five years ago? Your body doesn’t know the difference between what is real or imagined—or remembered. Fear is fear. Joy is joy.
2) Are they serving you? Do they contribute to a healthy, balanced, loving life—or are they “bringing you down”?
A consistent practice gives you more opportunities to see and interact with your patterns and thus free yourself from them. This is one of the reasons why yoga is best practiced many times a week.
Yoga also allows you to be seen and heard. We all need this. We need to express and be acknowledged…and we can do this for ourselves. You can give yourself the love, comfort, and safety you crave. In turn you will find this reflected in who is in your life and how you act with them. Going inside manifests outside, which is why yoga can change your life, for the better.
Sacramento Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Kate Saal teaches Yoga classes daily in East Sacramento at One Flow Yoga Studio. She practices yoga to enhance the quality of her relationships and because chocolate tastes better. You can connect with her on Google+.