Yoga is a philosophy given by Rishi Pantanjali around 1700 CE.
In itself it is a non-religious practice that stands alone. It has been also been immersed into Hinduism and Buddhism and is followed by millions of people from all around the world.
The yoga sutras teach that all of creation has come from one universal force of energy – Ishwara. Hence it follows that we are also part of this consciousness and our separation from it leaves us incomplete and discontented.
In order to find peace, we must reconnect to and return to Ishwara. The first task is to make the inward journey to connect with Atman (the soul), our individual spark of the great consciousness. Our ultimate goal is to be able to see that we are in fact joined with Ishwara, when this happens, we are in a state of Samadhi (enlightenment or bliss).
Yogas chitta vritti nirodha
In the second sutra, Pantanjali states that yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind.
The road to enlightenment is not an easy one. It is believed that very few have the capacity to complete the journey in one lifetime, but we have as many lifetimes as we need to reach our goal. However as soon as we begin our journey the benefits become apparent.
Around 60 million people are practicing yoga in the form of asana around the world today – and the number is rising, many do so with no real knowledge or understanding of the essence of the philosophy, they simply stretch and go home, yet even at that level, they return again and again feeling the benefits – imagine the possibilities that a conscious, enlightened path could offer.
The yoga Sutras interprets the human conditions of misery and pain, as a result of our separation from, or lack of understanding, that we – and all of creation are linked, one energy, one life force.
Our demise exists when we are oblivious to our higher self and the truths that are so deeply embedded within us, as we began the yogic journey, we learn how to find these truths which in turn brings us closer to peace.
The yogic follows an eight-fold path. Asana is one of the eight-fold pathways. On the surface it appears that it is primarily about the body but in reality, it is about the connection to true self via the body, the first stage of your yogic journey.
It originally came about to enable yogis to have the physical capability to practice Meditation for prolonged periods and as such asana is one of the doorways into the world of meditation.
The tools for the journey are all at hand however most of us lack the knowledge of how to use them.
The Eight-fold Path
Codes of conduct or moral disciplines
Codes to self
Withdrawal of the senses
Expansion of life force
The yamas and Niyama’s are yogic codes to live by. Things we must work to achieve and things we must work to remove from our lives.
Ahimsa – non harming
Satya – honesty
Asteya – non stealing
Bramacharaya – wise use of sexual energy
Aparigraha – non possessiveness
Saucha – purity
Santosha – contentment
Tapas – self discipline
Svadhyaya – self study
Ishvara pranidhana – surrender to a higher source
Glossary Of Terms
Yoga means union. It refers to the union of the individual soul to Ishwara the source of all existence.
Shanti simply means peace.
Namaste – See a more detailed explanation here.
Namaste is used as a traditional greeting throughout India. The gesture is said to express honor, courtesy, politeness, hospitality and gratitude to the other person. It is a fundamental part of Hinduism as it also has a profound spiritual meaning .
A mantra may be a syllable or string of syllables, a word, or a whole sentence. Which may or may not have a meaning. They may be used to aid concentration focus the mind, or as affirmation or their value may lie in their vibrational quality, not in any meaning that humans, society, culture, or civilization has placed on them over the last few thousand years as they go beyond the state of human existence on this planet, and they take you as they are vibrations that have existed since the dawn of creation.
Aum – See a more detailed explanation here.
Meditation on Om is the first practical meditative yoga method described by Pantanjali in the yoga Sutras (1.27-29). It is the mula (root) mantra and typically is chanted before beginning any other mantra. It is the oldest and most venerated of all mantras
‘Mudra’, is a symbolic hand gesture, It has been proved that Regular practise of mudras contribute to one’s overall good health, or be used as a preventive measure. Our hands define our karma, our fingers a link between individual Pranic force and universal cosmic energy.
The position of our hands has the ability to influence energy of our physical, emotional and spiritual body. Mudras help to link the brain to the body, soothe pain, stimulate endorphins, change the mood and increase our vitality. There are around 400 mudras with the power of producing health, joy and happiness.
Pranayama is the fourth limb of the eight fold path. And refers to the flow of vital energy. Prana is the fundamental basis of whatever is, was and will be. – life force. It has become synonymous with breath but in reality, is so much more.