the essence of yoga
Join Deepak Chopra M.D, creator of ‘The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga: a Practical Guide to Healing Body, Mind, and Spirit‘ as he brings body-centered, restful awareness into your daily yoga practice and into your life.
Within your physical domain, you have an extended body, a personal body, and an energetic body. Your extended body is the environment, containing the never-ending supply of energy and information that is available to you. Every sound, sensation, sight, flavor and aroma that you ingest from the environment influences your body and mind. Each breath that you inhale and exhale is a reminder of the continuous conversation taking place between your physical body and your environment.
This recognition requires you to take responsibility for what is happening in your environment. As a yogi, you are an environmentalist because you recognize that the rivers flowing through the valleys and those flowing through your veins are intimately related. The breath of an old-growth forest and your most recent breath are inextricably intertwined. The quality of the soil in which your food is raised is directly connected to the health of your tissues and organs. Your environment is your extended body. You are inseparably interwoven with your ecosystem.
The vast majority of the cells in your body are derived from the food you eat. To create and maintain a healthy body, yogis pay attention to the food they consume, minimizing the toxicity they ingest while maximizing the nourishment they receive. Certain foods are said to be particularly conducive to a yogic lifestyle. These foods are known as sattvic, which means they contribute to the purity of the body.
The four most sattvic foods revered by yogis are almonds, honey, milk and ghee (clarified butter). Getting a daily dose of these foods benefits the body, mind and soul of a person dedicated to creating greater mind-body integration. When acknowledging the relationship between your personal and extended bodies, be certain to consume only organic dairy products.
Expanding the vision of life beyond a purely biochemical perspective, yoga reminds us that we live life simultaneously on many levels. The essence of yoga is to find unity in the diversity of our multidimensionality.
Everything we ingest and inhale is a part of everything else: keeping our physical bodies healthy and nurtured in turn brings health and wellbeing to our environment, and vice versa. Uncovering the layers that mask the essential unbounded nature of our physical, subtle, and causal body—our body, mind, and soul—is living in the true essence of yoga.