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ABOUT YOGA
 

Yoga is like a large banyan tree, It’s a common tree of India, with it’s exposed gnarled roots, its trunk so thick that five people holding hands with just about span it and it’s snake like branches that reach down low enough to invite climbers to reach awe-inspiring heights. When we come to think of it, yoga is like that too. It reaches you exactly where you are and take you to your heights, supporting you with it’s trunk-a solid foundation.

Yoga’s birth date of somewhere around 3,000-1,900 BC has been confirmed by references in the ‘Rigveda’, which is the oldest known text in any indo-European language. The Science of yoga was known and practiced but not clearly documented until AD 200, the science of yoga is systematized and codified by ‘Patanjali’ who was a physician and sage. Patanjali codified yoga into eight limbs. The name given to this text is yoga sutras.

The trunk or foundation of yoga is that we are spiritual beings in human form, who are here to find out that we are spiritual beings in human form.

 
Eight Limbs of Yoga

Patanjali’s system of yoga is a map of the process of awakening the possible human being in each of us. Although the eight limbs or basic beliefs of yoga are intertwined, rather than linear, for clarity it can be divided in to two groups. The first four are associated with how a person conducts his life (Personal code of conduct) they are

 

  • Yama - Do good

Yamas are ethical rules. The 5 Yamas listed by Patanjali are ahimsa, (non harming other living beings) Satya (truthfulness),asteya (non stealing) brahmacharya (celibacy, non cheating on one’s partner) and apargraha(non possessiveness).

  • Niyama

Niyamas ground the rules for self discipline and inner awareness. Sauch (Purity, clearness of mind, speech and body),Santosa (contentment),tapas (persistence), svadhyaya (study of veda) and Isvarapranidhana(contemplation of the Isvarapranidhana contemplation of the Ishvara.

  • Asana

The Physical body is a temple for the spirit. Yoga posture or asanas keep the body healthy and mind calm, creating an atmosphere in which the spirit can flow more easily.In yoga sutras asana is described as sthirsukamsana which means an asana is what is steady and Pleasant, Asana is thus a posture that can hold for a period of time staying relaxed steady, comfortable and motionless. Asanas are designed to develop not only the body, but they also broaden mental facilities and spiritual capacities. Yoga exercises oppose violent movements as they produce large quantities of lactic acid in the muscle fiber. The effect of this acid and the fatigue it causes is neutralized by the inhalation of oxygen (deep breathing).

  • Pranayama

Pranayama comes from two Sanskrit words “Prana” which means life force and “yama” which means discipline. Pranayama is the discipline or technology of breathing. In general most of us breathe shallowly. Over time, however, our ineffective ways of breathing lead to fatigue, stress and worse. That is because we commonly use only the upper portion of our lungs and take in small amounts of oxygen, robbing ourselves from vitality. In proper breathing, the diaphragm is fully engaged, and we take in full breaths. The importance of their first four limbs is reflected in yoga as it is practiced today. Sometimes yoga is further reduced to a simple emphasis on the physical body through asanas (yoga poses). But the second four teachings are just as important in yoga developing the body, mind and spirit connection. They are.

  • Pratyahara - Inner focus

This is the process of becoming aware of and learning to control, thought patterns. One’s attention is drawn away from the five senses of sight, hearing, taste touch and smell. Instead the meditation is focused inwardly in order to quiet them mind.

  • Dharana - One - Pointedness

The mind, once withdrawn in to itself, is fixed in one pointed inner concentration. Concentrating the mind up on either an external object or an internal idea, to the exclusion of all other thoughts.

  • Dhyana - Meditation

This is meditative without focus on an object, and is rooted in adeep,inner space of awareness. Meditation is defined as an unbroken flow of thought towards god to the exclusion of other sensual perception.

  • Samadhi-Super conscious state

Here, one is spiritually awake and absorbed in the infinite. It is sublime beyond description, beyond the mind to grasp. Samadhi transcends all ordinary, sensory experience as well as time, space and causation. Samadhi represents the goal of all living beings are movie towards.