You’d never know it from the face of popular yoga. But there are some incredible super powers yoga can give you. These have nothing to do with a perfect handstand or scorpion pose.
Beyond the acrobatic spectacle of yoga today are 4 things you never knew yoga could do for you. I like to think of these as Yoga Superpowers.
The unknown superpowers yoga can give you:
Focus. Core inner strength. Balance. Joy.
Forget the myth of uber-flexibility and moves that look like you are flying in space. Though those can be cool, they aren’t actually the most profound boons of yoga. This is a deep practice.
The cultivation of these superpowers takes time, commitment and practice. But be sure- if you practice, even a little bit – powers such as these will continue to develop.
“The success of Yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and our relationships.”
From author of Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda.
1. Focus (Drishti)
One of yoga’s lesser known superpowers is Focus. Yoga gives great things to focus on as well as tools for how to cultivate focus. The sanskrit term for a focused gaze is drishti.
In the middle of a yoga practice, all of a sudden, we find focus. This is drishti. Focus on what is inside. Thoughts. Feelings. Body sensations. This is the beginning of the yogic practice of training to focus.
In a yoga pose, drishti is as simple as where we place our gaze. In life, it’s where we place our energy. Watch it and watch your superpowers of focus improve.
2. True Core Strength (Aparigraha)
We are not just talking about washboard abs, flat stomachs and less back problems. Though there’s those benefits too that can come.
We are talking about strength of character and identity that comes from the core. Yoga gives us the ability to take power back. To not be as affected by what happens to us. The specific quality that cultivates this is the practice of aparigraha, or not grasping, one of the ethical codes of yoga.
By practicing yoga we learn to harness and control the subtle energies, emotions and nuances of our own experience. So even if someone does something horrible, like steal a massive amount of money from us (which just happened to me recently) we can release our grasp on the money, as well as the grasp anger has on us, and still feel peace.
This yoga superpower of aparigraha doesn’t make us into victims.
This power is like the stillness in a pond that ripples only on the surface with the events life throws at us. With practice, we remain fathomlessly still, harmonious and calm.
3. Balance (Vinyasa)
The deeper Yoga Superpower is the balance of knowing our foundation. Knowing where we are coming from and going.
This dance of balance is true vinyasa. This is the kind of balance that occurs within self when we flow from a solid foundation and we are also in harmony with nature. So yoga practice cultivates literal balance but also figurative balance of living the kind of lifestyle we want and connects us to what brings us happiness, health and harmony. This yoga is a vinyasa of life.
“Yoga is a balancing factor, a substratum across all of your life, so you do not get shifted in one direction or another. It gives you freshness, gives you light, recharges your batteries. You become a stable person. You realize what balance is, what sukhais, what contentment is, what joy is.”
~ Birjoo Mehta
4. Joy (Ahimsa)
A major yoga superpower is the cultivation of joy in all circumstances. A deep, profound and abiding sense of life satisfaction. The beauty of this is that when our own load is light, we can lighten others’ load as well.
As T.K.V. Desikachar says: “Healthy plants and trees yield abundant flowers and fruits. Similarly, from a healthy person, smiles and happiness shine forth like the rays of the sun.”
This natural flow of compassion and joy arises from the yogic practice of ahimsa, or kindness and non-harming. When we show up as a gift to others, as a light, as a compassionate ear to listen we practice ahimsa. To bear the suffering of the world in 1 being if only because it makes there load a bit lighter for that moment. The secret superpower is that we experience more and more happiness and joy the more we practice.
Here we have these four Secret Superpowers of Yoga- Focus. Core strength. Balance. Joy.
Are they as beautiful to you as a stunning instagram yoga pose? Perhaps in time they will be.
Remember, the cultivation of these superpowers takes time, commitment and practice. All we have to do is continue or begin. Keep practicing and powers such as these will continue to flower.