Yoga is not a workout; it’s a work in.
The main distinction between Yoga and other fitness practices is the direction of the flow of energy. Due to wrong conditioning over the years, energy flows outwards towards thoughts and objects.
The essence of Yoga is changing this flow of energy from outwards to inwards.
In other practices, the mind is the leader that pushes the body for a desired output; to compete with others, to please others or in fear of ill health can motivate the practice. But in real, competition, comparison and fears are the major cause of suffering.
In Yoga, we use our body and breath to bring the mind back into the heart, which leads to peace; harmony and love, bringing true happiness.
In a traditional Yoga practice, we start with centering, by bringing the presence of mind using breathing and diverting the attention inwards. Each yoga pose focuses on specific muscle groups and aligns the body in a certain way, which directs the energy inwards making the person more meditative.
Throughout the session, the instructor helps the practitioners to keep the attention inside their body with his guidance and his presence. We are essentially training our minds to change the direction inwards, so it stays inside the heart. Thus, we are activating our intelligence and intuitive capacities so that one can respond to day-to-day situations with love and wisdom.
When the mind goes outwards in the form of thoughts and desires it always looks for experiences, seeking pleasure. In this process, it creates its own misery with temporary pleasures and meeting disappointments.
When the mind stays inside the heart, it learns to accept life and stays present each moment to witness and enjoy the magnificence of life.