Each and every one of us has the ability to access to a higher level of consciousness that can free us from the mental turbulence we’re so used to experiencing in everyday life. A commitment to a persistent yoga practice can harmonize the body, mind and spirit in a way that brings us closer to this divine state of higher consciousness – but only if we’re willing to venture past the simple pleasures and delve deeper into ourselves through serious self-exploration.

Those simple pleasures that entice us to start practicing in the first place – like the social component of joining a class, the physical transformations in appearance, or even just the exciting “newness” of getting started – are nice benefits, but they’re not what keep most of us going. The more we develop our practice, the more intrinsic value we get out of it.

When we free ourselves from fixating on external benefits, we grow to start practicing from more of a harmonized body, mind, and spiritual state where self-giving and self-love drive us. All of our most cherished desires can be fulfilled when we pursue them from a state of love. And in order to keep the flow of love and abundance moving, we need to continually both give and receive — to ourselves, to others, and to nature itself.

It’s worth noting that the word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit root “yuj,” which means “to join.” The ultimate goal of the practice is to join the sense of personal self with the sense of infinite being. Our true nature is pure consciousness, which is the divine and infinite source of everything in the entire universe.

When we say “Namaste” to someone, we’re acknowledging the truth that a divine spirit exists in them the same way it exists in us too. Roughly translated to “I bow to the God within you,” the gesture is meant to unify our spiritual energies as recognition that beneath our egos, we are all infinite beings existing as one in divine consciousness.

Through giving ourselves the gift of truth, beauty, and goodness in our state of harmonized oneness, we can find peace in knowing that everything really is perfect as it is. Tapping into our divine energy helps us become aware that there will always be things we perceive as “problems,” there will always be things we want to improve, and there will always be lots of difficult decisions to be made throughout life. But these all stem from thinking — not being.

Even though the entire universe is constantly flowing and changing, we can find freedom from our naturally human desires to control, overanalyze, regret, worry, or do anything else of the sort when we move closer to being in tune with our state of infinite being. When we have this sense of connection and unity with something greater than ourselves in our human form, it’s easier to detach from those negative thoughts and feelings, all at the same time paving the way for us to develop real appreciation for every experience in the present just as it is – and just as it’s meant to be.

Photo (edited) via Pierce Martin