The goal of yoga practice is to transcend body/mind awareness and reach a state of cosmic consciousness. Specific asanas (postures) are a method the yoga practictioner employs to master the body’s movement and mental fluctuations of the mind; developing the ability to sit still for prolonged meditation without faltering.
Asana practice opens and purifies the nadis (energy channels) in the body so that prana can flow freely. Breath is the tool the yoga practitioner uses to work with prana: to direct energy to specific locations, sweep the mind of thoughts, and bring attention into the present. Steady breath allows the mind to focus and results in an unimpeded flow of energy throughout the body.
Asana practice is a time to let go, to surrender to the breath and embrace the moment, knowing that change is inevitable. One must not to hold on too tightly to anything. Focus on the contiuous breath develops pratyahara, the ability to detach from one’s effort and body/mind fluctuations. Smooth, even breathing will train the mind to be present, and allow one to develop peace and non-attachment.
Though living beings appear to be separate, we are of the same source, the same root. We have individual characteristics, like diverse branches of the same tree. Any thoughts we have are thrown out into the universe and received by receptive beings tuned into that particular frequency. Positive, uplifting thoughts can deliberately raise the cosmic consciousness of humanity. A yoga practice grounded in altruistic intention is a gift to the world.
The entire atmosphere is filled with atoms of air that once filled the lungs of everyone who ever lived. We are breathing each other! We are all sharing consciousness in the same way that we share the air we breathe, so the awakening of consciousness in one individual will benefit all others. By connecting to the breath in each asana, by working on ourselves, we help each other to pursue the real goal of human life: evolution and liberation from the body/mind and reintegration with the divine.