The Theravadic Buddhist tradition describes Mindfulness, moment to moment awareness, as the entry point to first stage enlightenment, and whilst Buddhism is not Yoga, the 8 Fold paths in both traditions look very similar side by side. I have always found mindfulness to be the closest thing to the truth. The reality of this moment is truly all we have. Our beliefs and memories about the past are just that, concepts of the mind, recollections. Our anticipation about the future is totally conceptual, not real yet, and therefore not worth “worrying” about.
Stress reduction: Mindfulness reduces stress and enhances present moment awareness. Are you able to truly stay fully present with the act of washing the dishes, or driving the car? To reduce stress you must really fully experience the body through yoga poses, and through pranayama (breath work), and through meditation. Continual practice helps to bring our natural attention to tasks at hand.
Mind-Body connection: We do store their stress in their bodies. Anyone who has been to a yoga class can feel areas of tension, often in the shoulders, neck, and jaw. As awareness deepens long term stressors held more deeply in the body-mind may start to appear. It is common for people to store their past in the body, holding on emotionally, and creating a sense of self. Because of these past beliefs we hold, we keep recreating the future, our karma, with our past. The Buddhists and Hindus practice mindfulness, selflessness, doing good deeds, having good thoughts and compassion as an antidote to removing past anger, fear, delusion that arises simply from having a “self” to protect.
Self- realisation: Seeing through “ourselves” is the best way to be free from cycles of samsara. According to the view of Hinduism our current life is only one of many—stretching back before birth into past existences and reaching forward beyond death into future incarnations. During the course of each life the quality of the actions (karma) performed determine the future destiny of each person. The Buddha taught that there is no beginning or end to this cycle. The goal of Indian religions is to escape this process, which is called moksha or liberation.
There are many paths to the same truth (Moksha). Mindfulness is crucial.
The yogi must eventually see through every moment where the concept of “self, me, mine, and I” arises. It can be so quick and very hard to catch, however seeing through all that arises from our false mental view, brings liberation. Complete honesty with yourself and inquiry into your true motivation is always required and that is why “Self Inquiry” is often practised as a path to liberation. (See more on self- inquiry through the writings of the great Hindu Saint “Ramana Marhashi”)
To conclude, self- realisation may be achieved by three continual states: Mindfulness, Compassion, and sincerity.