The purpose of yoga is self-mastery through stilling the turnings of the mind. Our minds are always busy generating ideas, memories and processing data. Most of this is happening in our subconscious and some of it is incorrect information, wrong perceptions and negative memories.
To free ourselves from patterns made by all of this mental clutter we must clear the channels.
The mind is not only located in the skull, the spinal cord runs through the trunk with the brachial and sciatic nerve plexuses branching into the upper and lower limbs to the distal joints. Wherever there is sensation, there is mind.
So the mind is in the whole body and this is why we must practice asana (yoga postures) as well as pranayama (extending the capacity of the breath) and meditation (mental house keeping) to work with the entire eco system of the self. How can we awaken the whole field of sensation without movement and activating the opposing forces of ha and tha? Without stretching the breath beyond our habitual range?
When the body and the breath have been stretched out, clearing the channels of sensation and coaxing out old patterns and holdings, then we can begin to quieten our thoughts and notice the tidal pull of the Klesha’s (obstacles) on us.
The ideas expressed in this post are not my own. They are an expression of the transmission and influence of great teachers of our time notably; David Garrigues (USA), Eileen Hall (Sydney), Rami Sivan (Sydney), Simon Borg-Olivier (Sydney), Octavio Salvado (Bali), Patanjali and many more.