Samudra manthan is the allegory of raja yoga. This is the odyssey of our lives.
When the mind starts letting go its attachment and identification with thoughts, the grip of conditioning and programming lessens. The coloring decreases. There is less reaction. Like/dislike, pleasant/unpleasant, love/hate reactions are more muted. There is clarity in thinking and there is greater perception.
Developing a simple practice of conscious breathing, we can at least begin to lessen anxiety and stress, increase our breathing capacity and energy level, and begin a process of enduring relaxation. A relaxed mind is sharper, clearer, more focused, stable, and cheerful. Asana increases physical resilience, pranayama begins to increase mental resilience.
Just as a play, music, dance can be interpreted and performed in many ways, so can asana. Think of the body as hardware and the mind as software. Depending on the type of hardware and the software (programming through genes, culture, geography, family, upbringing, etc.), the way each person relates to an asana is different.
When Patanjali Maharshi says that yoga is the settling of the vrittis or the psychoses of the mind, what he means is setting at rest the agitation of the inner components of our psyche, caused by haphazard arrangement, without any proper vision of the reality to which this personality is connected.
Does anyone have the right to define the meaning of yoga? Who gives yoga masters the right to make this judgment for anyone when they don't seem to agree themselves?” exclaimed a newly certified yoga teacher attending my class.