“The Primary aim of yoga is to restore the mind to simplicity and peace, to free it from confusion and distress.” BKS Iyingar Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health, Eds. Ranjana Sengupta, Dapali Singh, Sheema Mookherjee, Prita Maitra
|What is Yoga?|
|Written by Blooming Lota|
|Thursday, 29 April 2010 19:54|
Before beginning any yogic path, I think it is important to discuss, first, what do we mean when we are talking about yoga? When many people in The States think of yoga these days, they think of the physical postures (asana) of yoga. Others might be more familiar with Ashtanga Yoga, the yoga of Patanjali, which includes the eight limb path. However, the term yoga has been used to describe a great variety of paths over the past five thousand (at least) years.
“Yoga is the current of spirituality that has developed on the Indian peninsula over a period of… thousands of years. Its three major forms are Hindu Yoga, Buddhist Yoga, and Jaina Yoga…. Underlying all forms and branches of Yoga is the understanding that the human being is more than the physical body and that, through a course of disciplined action, it is possible to discover what this ‘more’ is”(Feuerstein 10).
I am most familiar with the yogic paths of Hinduism and Buddhism.
When most individuals think of yoga they are thinking of the paths that originated from the Hindu tradition.
In ‘The Deeper Dimensions of Yoga” Feuerstein highlights the most important branches of Hindu Yoga(‘s) as:
For the sake of brevity I will keep my d iscussion here to Patanjali’s Classical, or Ashtanga Yoga. In the yoga sutra’s Patanjali outlines an eight-limb path of yoga (although I do plan on blogging further on the other types of yoga). These limbs include:
· Yamas- observations of universal morality such as non-harming, truthfulness, not stealing, sense control and neutralizing desire to horde wealth.
· Niyamas- observations of personal moral ity such as purity, contentment, disciplined use of energy, self inquiry or study, and celebration of the spiritual
· Asana- the body postures and physical expression of yoga
· Pranayama- the breath work of yoga
· Pratyahara- control of the senses, detachment
· Dharana- cultivating inner awareness, observation of the thoughts, mindfulness
. Dhyana- concentration
· Samadhi- union with the divine
When I first interview my clients I ask them what their goals are in the practice, which is one of the things I love about Yoga, both in its Hindu and Buddhist forms, there is a teaching for everyone! Yoga meets people where they are! If the client is most interested in physical exercise, I focus on asana, and occasionally throw in a bit of other practices, such as self-inquiry (one of th e Niyamas), pranayama, etc. If the client is interested in yoga to help them deal with stress I will teach a class that is more balanced in Asana, the Yamas and Niyamas, Pranayama, Dharana, and Pratyahara.
Feuerstein, Georg (2003). The Deeper Dimension of Yoga. Shambhala, Boston & London.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 09 October 2011 02:36|