While a physical yoga practice, or hatha yoga, leads to an overall healthy, strong and beautiful body, the real purpose of practicing yoga is to cultivate a healthy and peaceful mind, discovering the true self.
One of Yoga’s great sources of what it has become today is the Bhagavad Geeta. The Geeta is the last chapter of the ancient Indian epic poetic story the, Mahabarata. The story is said to represent man’s inner struggle to connect to the true self, the purusha or atman. The Geeta reminds us that though we often seek satisfaction in life in the world around us, happiness is already naturally inside of us.
In the 17th Chapter, the Geeta discusses the Five Noble Values of life in order to attain peace and happiness.
The Five Noble Values of Life:
1) Serenity of mind manaprasada – Connect to your breath. As the breath so is the mind and vice versa. Let negative thoughts float away like clouds, allowing your mind to rest peacefully refreshing itself for what is to come.
2) Kindness/Affection (Karuna/soumyatyam) – Cultivate this through affection for all living beings without discrimination.
3) Silence (Mauna) – Silence of speech originates from the relative silence of the mind. Detach yourself from distractions of desires and create inner noiseless calm.
4) Self-control (atma vinigrahah) – Positive elements of life are possible to maintain when we deliberately control our inner nature through yoga, meditation & pranayama (mindful breathing). The mind is like wild horses unable to tame unless we are vigilant – otherwise our desires can upset our inner balance and equanimity.
5) Honesty of Motive – self control is only possible when our motives are pure and harmonious for all. Once we have self control and an honest motive, it becomes natural to stick on constantly to the grand road to success is to assure to ourselves a happy journey to peace & happiness.
By doing the best that we can to follow these values, we come closer to our true self the atman or purusha, which is often in a haze of the business of our lives. When we arrive closer to our true self then it is easier to identify what we really want in life and pursue the path to achieve success, happiness and peace.