In the older Yoga traditions and texts, much significance is given to the more subtle parts of the practice, Pranayama (the movement of energy, initially via the breath) , Pratyahara (sense withdrawal), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), Samadhi, For they indicate that it is in this, that the state of Yoga begins to naturally and spontaneously arise.
It is in this space that the benefits of yoga appear, deep rest, harmonisation of body, mind, energy, knowledge, joy.
However in modern Yoga this is often overlooked, many classes involving endless asana at an aerobic pace, with at most a yoga nidra thrown in at the end.
There is a very definite alchemical process involved in Yoga, where the practitioner moves through sequential steps, each laying the foundation for the next. This has a logic to it, as it takes us from the gross to the subtle, brings us from a state of being in unease to one of great stillness and ease.
krishnamacharya (the father of modern yoga) is frequently quoted stating that the bandhas, meditation etc arise from correct and appropriate Asana and pranayama practice.
This can be easily witnessed when your practice starts off in the right direction, a focus on the breath, letting everything slow down etc…. you’ll find yourself effortlessly led to the more subtle practices.
If you have a self practice, or seek to create one, it will be transformed by making time for and introducing these aspects into it.
For in the modern world, obsessed with doing, acquisition, consumption, being full, seeking, wanting, more, more, more, we may find that what we hope to gain from these is actually contained in their opposite, giving ourselves space, doing a little less, consuming a little less, not seeking, not striving, witnessing the magic that is already within ourselves and our world, letting the state of Yoga arise.