“Yoga Philosophy is tool for being healthy physically, being peaceful mentally and grow spirituality.”
Yoga is the most ancient human science, developed and taught by realized saints and seers. People have been practicing yoga all over the world for thousands of years.
According to Yoga Philosophy word Yoga derives from the sanskrit verb root “yuj” which means to “yoke” or “unite”. The union of the individual soul with the absolute cosmic soul is the goal of all Yoga practices.
“Absolute contentment means a state of equanimity, tranquility and equilibrium.”
– Bhagavad Gita
In modern society, Yoga Philosophy has become quite popular and is used in various applications like health issues, nutritional habits, emotional and psychological aspects, physical health, sleeping patterns, mental well being, relaxation, and so much more. It is a holistic approach to healing and addresses all aspects of life, the body, the mind and the soul. Yoga is not a religion. It is the science of the whole being. Originally, Yoga science was developed to reach enlightenment, ultimate fulfillment and happiness. Asanas (the physical postures) and the mental techniques were mere tools towards the goal of libration. However, due to the modern life style that we live in, they have become the main emphasis to help bring us back to a balance state.
The Yoga Philosophy teaching can be customised in accordance to each particular student needs and interests. No matter where you start from, in the end, Yoga leads you to obtaining your full potential as a human being.
The Yoga Sutras were codified by sage Patanjali around 4000bc – 400bc. No one is clear about the date or who the great saint Patanjali was. He practiced and collected information about yoga and presented it into a condensed form. In 196 sutras (verses) the science of yoga is described and systematic techniques for the practitioners are provided. The word sutra means “string”.
In the first chapter aspects of the science of Yoga Philosophy are explained.
To practice Yoga sincerely great discipline and strong commitment are required, commitment from the student to know his/her own truth.
That shows in the first Sutra: “Atha yogaanushasanam” where atha, meaning now, hints at the need of the qualification of the students. The word “now” means that you have completed the preliminaries and that now you want to attain more, to learn more, to understand more and to practice more. Students need to be prepared for the practice in order to reach for the highest state of wisdom, Samadhi, through the practice.
In the second Sutra, “Yogash Citta Vrtti Nirodhah”, control over the modifications of the mind is the subject. Describing all yoga psychology, it defines body, breath and mind as our instruments reaching from gross to fine, from the physical to the subtle. Abhyasa and Vairagya (practice and non-attachment) are preconditions and necessary to achieve the goal of Yoga practice and attain control over our mind.
In the third sutra: Tada Drashtuh Svarupevashthanam, the establishment of oneself in its essential nature, peace, happiness and bliss is discussed. Purification of the unconscious mind, going beyond the delusions and samskaras (imprints) in order to reach the center of consciousness.
In the fourth sutra: Vrittri Sarupyam Itaratra,yogic techniques to remove ignorance and the identification of objects and thought waves are introduced. Those methods to practice concentration are the path from gross to subtle self.
The original meaning of the Sanskrit word Hatha is dual. “Ha” means solar energy and “tha” mean lunar energy. Activating energies supporting the sympathetic neurological pathway (responsible for action, concentration, wakefulness),and re-creation of energy supporting the parasympathetic pathways (responsible for sleep and digestion). The balancing of both those energies that run through our system is the meaning of Hatha Yoga. The goal of Hatha Yoga Philosophy is to prepare the body well for meditation. It is about creating a body which is not a hurdle but a useful tool, a healthy vessel for the mind. The body becomes a support in one’s progress of growing into one’s ultimate possibility.
All the practice of Hatha yoga Philosophy should be observed only until the state of meditation is reached (Hatha-Yoga-Pradipika 1.67).
During the practice of Hatha Yoga several changes take place within the practitioner. An overall awareness of the body and the mind aswell as emotional events increases. A person who is advanced in Hatha yoga practices develops keen awareness of the internal organs and their functions. Even slight changes in the body and the energy system can be detected and addressed before it manifests as an imbalance or a disease. Hatha Yoga helps with getting rid of blockages, illnesses, impurities of the body and the mind. Not only is the physical body used for the movements, in true Hatha Yoga practice we use the flow of Prana (life force energy) to move. Prana travels through the energy channels within the body called Nadis and supports all tissues, all organ systems and all sentiments in the body as well as in the mind. When Prana enters the middle path of the Nadis, the ShushumnaNadi (main, middle path),and concentration becomes firm the Prana is controlled in meditation and one will understand the full potential of Hatha Yoga practice.The movements are felt at a more subtle level and the energy to sustain positions becomes abundant.
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“Hatha yoga is shelter for those suffering by all types of pain. For those engaged in the practices of every kind of yoga, hatha yoga is like the tortoise that supports the world.” –Hatha yoga pradipikaRead more...
Ashtanga Yoga Philosophy, meaning the 8 limbs of Yoga, has been practiced for thousandsof years in different culturesand has been given many different names. In this classical yoga system, Ashtanga Yoga, incorporates eight limbs, each with its own place and function. Together they form a complete system for spiritual unfoldment.It was not until two thousand years ago that the sage Patanjali codified the yoga sutras. Yet these yoga practices existed long before Patanjali summarized them in 196 aphorisms, called Yoga sutras.
The Yoga Sutras has 4 chapters which describe different states of the human mind and practices for achieving the eternal peace (Samadhi). In the 2nd chapter of Yoga Sutras Patanjali explain Ashtanga yoga.
Yoga Philosophy has an outer aspect, which consists of right living, right care of the body, and enhancement of vital energy. This is what the first four limbs; Yama, Niyama, Asana, and Pranayama are all about. Yama and Niyama build a foundation of right behavior through such values as nonviolence and truthfulness and such practices as cleanliness and contentment. Asana makes the body strong and flexible, and Pranayama develops our vital energy.
Yoga Philosophy also has an inner dimension—meditation or the development of higher consciousness. This is the real purpose of yoga, the focus of Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi, which together form a single process – Samyama, or meditation in the broadest sense.
1. Yama: Moral code for Self Regulation, living in harmony with others.
2. Niyama: Personal Conduct, Disciplines for oneself..
3. Asana: Postures, physical exercise.
4. Pranayama : Postures, physical exercise.
5. Pratyahara: Withdrawal of the Senses.
6. Dharana: Concentration, Focusing the mind
7. Dhyana: Meditation
8. Samadhi: Eternal peace
The root of the Sanskrit word Yama is yam which means to restrain, to control, to turn away.
There are five Yamasthat bring harmony into our interactions with other beings.
1. Ahimsa: Non-injury, Non-violence, Non-harming.
2. Satya: Truth, Expressing Reality
3. Asteya: Non-stealing
4. Brahma-charya: Walking in awareness, Regulating Sexual indulgence
5. Aparigrahah: Non-possessiveness, Non-indulgence
The niyamas are the five outer observances one should follow.
There are five Yamasthat bring harmony into our interactions with other beings.
1. Shauch: Purity, cleanliness
2. Santosha: Contentment
3. Tapas: Practices and determination which leads to perfection
4. Svadhyaya : Self-study
5. Ishvara-pranidhana: Surrender to ultimate truth or to gods will
Physical postures: In one of three terse aphorisms on the subject, the Yoga Sutras say:
1) Yoga Sutras ll-46
A posture (asana) is that which is steady and comfortable. Steadiness and comfort describe an inner state of being as well as the experience of the physical body in an asana pose.
2) Yoga Sutra 2.47
Asana is perfected “By relaxing effort and fixing the mind on the infinite.”
3)Yoga Sutra 2.48
Then one attains freedom from the pairs of opposites.
The world is characterized by pairs of opposites (dvandvas): heat and cold, light and dark, positive and negative, success and failure. As long as we are caught in between these poles, we are unaware of the true self which underlies them both.
In our effort to develop strength and flexibility through asana practice, we sometimes forget the power of asana which leads us toward the higher goals of yoga—mastery of the mind and a deeper connection to the inner self. When we strive for perfect poses, or when our practice becomes rote and routine, our attention is externalized and we lose sensitivity to the inner world.
But all too often, we “unseat” our inner ease with a lack of bodily awareness and an untrained mind. On the physical level, we experience this as an inability to breathe and to move freely. Tension settles in our shoulders, neck, pelvis, lower back, and deeper in the organs—and the mind recoils from the discomfort.
Asanabuilds the strength and flexibility needed for physical integration, and eventually, effortlessness and inner absorption. Practice, practice, practice. Pay particular attention to the flow of the breath, moving through the poses in coordination with the inhale and exhale. Use this more subtle awareness of the breath to refine your experience. Gently direct your attention inward as a means for letting go of effort and cultivating a sense of inner expansiveness. Eventually, the mind will flow naturally into a state of meditation.
Do not kill the instinct of the body for the glory of the pose.- Vanda scaravelli
Expansion of Breath, breathing techniques.
The Sanskrit word pranayama is made of two words—prana, meaning “life force” or “life energy,” and yama, meaning “control.” Pranayama is the yogic breathing science of understanding the life energy, through the observation of breath. Another meaning of the word is used by yoga scholars. These people say that the second word in the compound is actually ayama, meaning “to expand”. The practice of pranayama is a technique for expanding life energy and consciousness to its subtle states of being.
Understanding the breath through pranayama practices help us to progress on the yoga path gradually.
The practice of pranayama varies from system to system and from school to school. Each tradition attracts students whose interests and attainments match its goals. Although general techniques are explained openly, important details are left out—to be filled in by a teacher in private.
“All the pranayama methods are to be done with a concentrated mind. The wise man should not let his mind be involved in the modifications.”
Hatha Yoga Pradipika 3:127
Svatmarama concludes that without one-pointed concentration, the attainments of asana, pranayama, and mudra are “useless.”
Patanjali lists pranayama as one of the eight rungs of ashtanga yoga and summarizes it in six sutras (Yoga Sutra 1:34 and 2:49-53). He describes it as support for the yogi’s effort to attain concentration.
For the highly accomplished yogi, mastery of pranayama is a preparation for the study of svarodaya, the science of breath and the five subtle elements or tattvas(earth, water, fire, air, and space). Those who discuss this knowledge with authority state that it leads to a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between the macrocosm (the universe), and the microcosm (the human personality).
The tantric science of kundalini yoga describes pranayama as one means of awakening the dormant energy at the base of the spine and leading it upwards along the central canal (sushumna). Pranayama practices are employed to create heat, arousing the kundalini and forcing it to ascend through the chakras. In this system, prana is described as the dynamic aspect of a much more vast resource of potential energy called “shakti” or “kundalini.” Only a tiny amount of prana is normally required to maintain the body and appease the demands of will and desire, but when kundalini is aroused, the flow of energy is magnified. The awakening of kundalini is not the result of a haphazard touch or glance. It is a moment of great spiritual attainment and the culmination of extensive training under the guidance of a teacher who has become assured of a student’s maturity and earnestness.
By the regular and systematic practice of pranayama I have gained a state of purity and I am not disturbed even when the axis of the earth shaken.- Yoga Vasishtha
When you observe that your breath is serene, deep and without any unnecessary pause, you will experience a sense of great comfort and joy.- Swami Rama
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