Have you noticed that after yoga you come out of class more centered and calm? Your mind at peace, resting a moment from the incessant activity that often occupies it. Patanjali wrote about this phenomenon thousands of year ago in the yoga sutras, short aphorisms describing the yogic path. Sutra 1.2 yogah cittavritti nirodhah is translated from the Sanskrit by Mr Iyengar* as “yoga is the cessation of movements in the consciousness...the restraint of fluctuations of thought”. Yoga asks us to be in the present moment, the same thing that Eckhart Tolle refers to in The Power of Now. In fact the sutras begin with the word now. “Now we begin the practice of yoga...” It is that quiet state in which the mind stops chattering and we can simply breathe and be. Like a blank slate, without preconceptions. The mind feels like it is coming home and is able to relax. In this state we actually clear out our samskaras (our past influences that can limit us by determining how we react to things), much like de-fragging a computer. This creates more freedom to be our authentic selves.
* Light on The Yoga Sutras, p.46