The Purpose of Practice

“Yoga is best known as a set of physical practices that include gentle stretches, breathing practices, and progressive deep relaxation. These physical practices are intended to ready the body and mind for meditation as well as for a meditative perspective on life. These meditative practices also follow a sequence. First developed is the capacity to withdraw the senses from focus on the outer world, then, the capacity to concentrate on a meditative subject—a candle flame, a sacred or uplifting word or image, or the movement of the breath. Finally, and for most of us only occasionally, the concentration leads into a wordless and timeless experience of inner peace. The Yoga masters describe various subtleties among these states of inner peace, but most of us, at best, achieve moments of this experience from time to time.” —Michael Lerner, Choices in Healing

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