According to Abraham Maslow, when the needs on one level are met an individual seeks to fulfill the needs on the next level, and so on. In his revised theory, he added the final state of the human need to be SELF TRANSCENDENCE where a person moves past themselves as an individual and focuses on the spiritual connectedness we all share. In common parlance, we understand it as spirituality. Now, what has this got to do with the practice of Yoga? Read on to know.
It is a well-known fact that the word “Yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word “yog”, which means to unite. To unite, in this context, means essentially being one with the greater whole. Yoga has proven to be effective in physical transformation. Whether it is increased flexibility or improved cardiovascular health, respiratory health, enhanced metabolic rate, better nervous system, or smoother endocrinal functioning, the physiological benefits of Yoga are innumerable. An individual often embarks on her/his Yogic journey for one or more of the above reasons but invariably stumbles upon their spiritual path. Such is the nature of this ancient practice.
Inherently, the asanas, i.e. the physical posture of Yoga exercises, bring about improved body alignment and balance for starters. Further on, it includes regulated breathing whereby one becomes increasingly aware of her breath. This awareness brings about a calming effect on the mind and frees up the stiffness of the body in turn making the individual more receptive and open –the inevitable first step towards spiritual learning.
Regular practice of Yoga causes heightened self-observation and awareness over time. Each student senses new body-mind-spirit experiences while enjoying the renewed physical energy. Whether they can make sense of these novel experiences completely depends on the teachings imparted by the Yoga teacher. Nonetheless, each one gets hooked on the journey and evolves along the way. Here, Maslow’s theory of Self-transcendence could possibly explain the reason for the hook.
Whether one is acquainted with the Ancient Indian philosophy of Yoga or not the Yogicjourney brings the individual closer to their own spiritual nature eventually. In the word Yoga itself, it contains its entire essence.