What exists beyond the body, mind, and emotions?
That question is the central question of Yoga and one’s answer to that question continues to evolve as they progress along the path.
Yoga starts when one sincerely attempts to answer that question. Regardless of how many asanas one performs, asana is only a preparatory stage of Yoga. Asana prepares one for meditation, and through meditation and contemplation, one finds the answers to the sublime questions of Yoga. The first yoga sutra states “Yoga is the cessation of the modifications of the mind.” What are the modifications of the mind? They are the thoughts and feelings we experience. The mind identifies with and becomes attached to these thoughts and feelings (which are changeable and not always based in reality), and causes us to forget our true nature and the nature of reality. (In yoga the term ignorance means false identification – identifying with that which is not real.)
Our thoughts and feelings create ripples (disturbance) in the mind as ripples on water. When you look at still water you can see a clear reflection of yourself. If you stir the water and create ripples, the reflection of yourself becomes distorted. When the mind is stilled through spiritual practice, it clearly reflects our true nature – pure consciousness.