6. The side effects of yoga
Although yoga is a mean to achieve moksha or liberation, one can benefit from it without reaching the end.
The fact that we can be conscious of ourselves, does not mean that we are. Not always. In fact we rarely use this ability. Most of the time we are on autopilot mode.
Being conscious means being alive. If we are not conscious we are not living life in its full glory. Whichever simple thing we do, if we do it automatically or compulsively, we miss it altogether. When we do it consciously, we feel it, we experience it, we live it. Yoga improves the quality of our lives by making us more conscious.
Most of the sufferings in our lives are caused by the inability to see things as they are. Our minds are so hopelessly polluted by the memories of our past experiences that we are unable to see them as they are. Yoga helps us to see things more clearly.
Through the practice of yoga, when we gain the ability to efficiently handle our minds, thoughts, emotions and our bodies. We gain calmness and peace.
Yoga sharpens our minds. Efficient execution of almost every task in our daily lives requires concentration of mind. The body has a limited amount of resources that powers the mind. But the mind is like a monkey. It is a monkey that got drunk and then bitten by a snake. It never rests at one place. The restlessness of mind is the cause of our poor performance.
Take the example of a needle. It can penetrate a fairly strong material by the help of a little force. The power of the needle comes from the fact that the force applied to it is concentrated in its tip, which has a small surface area. It is the pressure, which is force divided by the surface area, that determines it ability to penetrate. So given a particular force, the smaller the surface area, the higher is its ability to penetrate. This is the same reason we sharpen our knives for a better performance.
Similarly when our minds are focused, we get things done much faster and with better results. Many people think that they do not have the time to do yoga. But yoga actually produces much more free time than it consumes.
By regular practice of yoga you can gain tremendous reading speed, good memory and so on.
Yoga also brings flexibility, good health and well being.