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Practice Jnana Yoga for Optimum Mental Health

Paul M. Jerard Jr.
Aug 17, 2007
Anyone who cares about their health often focuses on keeping his or her body in peak condition. Who considers the health of the mind? A psychiatrist or a psychologist is concerned with behavior, and mental health, but how can Yoga help you?

We have all heard Yoga is a good "mind and body exercise," but how does a Yoga student exercise his or her mind through Yoga practice. How can Yoga help you develop mental strength? Let's look at one of the many styles of Yoga, to find answers, and acquire optimum mental health.

Jnana Yoga is the union of mind, body, and spirit, through acquired knowledge. It is true that reading will make your mind sharp, but what do Jnana Yogis read? Traditionally, Jnana Yogis read Hindu scriptures to expand their knowledge.

Yoga has been around for thousands of years. The Brahmin caste would have had more access to Yogic philosophy, and the scriptures (Vedas), than the average person, at that time.

This same parallel can be made to any holy man of any religion. Access to written knowledge, books, and Holy Scriptures was not common place, in any religion, hundreds of years ago. There was a time when the average person was forbidden to have a copy of the Bible. The early Bibles were very big, expensive to produce, and not meant for the public to interpret. Whether we like it, or not, this is a part of history.

Now, let's fast forward to the 21st century. Millions of new computer users are accessing the Internet every year. So, how is it that more people, than ever, are disconnected from their mind, body, and spirit? We have attention disorders, multi-tasking, and many distractions to keep us far from tranquility.

Even in a Yoga class, you may hear a cell phone go off - despite the fact there are rules and a sign on the entrance of most Yoga studios. The sign might read, "Turn your cell phone off," but people do not see it, even if it is right under their nose. Why?

Unfortunately, people do not read or pursue vital information. Cable television has hundreds of channels and the Internet has millions of sites. Do you really think the masses are trying to expand their minds by reading?

Jnana Yoga practice, and regular meditation, raises the "Level of Consciousness." Yet it seems that prosperity seems to breed poor mental and physical health. When given the choice, children would rather play video games than watch the History Channel. Therefore, many adults must be getting in touch with their "inner child."

Now, let's come full circle. Entertainment is a wonderful thing, but we should be deliberate in our efforts to challenge our minds. Creativity cannot be found in games that are programmed or in viewing stories where you can easily guess the ending.

Your mind must be challenged on a daily basis by reading good quality writing and watching entertainment that is true art. The modern Jnana Yoga practitioner has much more access to education, information, art, and entertainment. However, he or she must be much more selective than ever before.

Copyright 2007 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
About the Author
Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995.

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