|[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 192 ]
Yoga helps us to cultivate four stages, or four levels of awareness. The first level is awareness of body.
Health of the body is a functional necessity in life. In order to gain health, we must first be aware of what brings it, and conversely, what takes it away.
The degree of ignorance that most people have today about their physical body is quite alarming. Many have not even an inkling of what this 'biological machine' of ours, this vehicle that we must move through life within, is made of and how it actually works.
Knowledge of right diet, right habits, right exercise, right rest, right environment, and all of the right actions for the support of physical health -- what is harmful as well as what is good for us -- is the first stage of awareness. We can summarize this as conscious knowledge of the body.
This first stage of awareness also involves awareness of what the body is doing. I am surprised at just how often people are unaware of what they are doing with their bodies. I saw someone walk right through a section of fresh cement on the sidewalk the other day and just keep on walking, without a clue what he had done!
Likewise, someone will sit engrossed in front of a television set and mindlessly devour an entire bag of potato chips, without even a spark of awareness of what they are doing. I see people habitually pestering a loved one or friend about some trivial matter, totally as an unconscious habit. What is your posture like? Do you slump in front of the computer for hours?
Without this conscious awareness of our moment to moment movements and the physical state of our body on a gross level, how can we hope to gain awareness of what we are doing on deeper, more subtle levels of our being?...
NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.
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