Yoga, much more than postures…08/09/2019
There is a lot of information on the internet and social networks related to Yoga, but the idea of this blog is to show them in a simple way and adapted to our idiosyncrasy what contains this philosophy, is to tell them from my experience what it means Yoga for me.
Today the word Yoga it is very fashionable, we know people who practice different “types” of Yoga, doctors recommend doing Yoga when, for example, you have back problems, even there are those who do not dare to try a class because they find it boring or that it is not for them… however little do we stop to think about what the word Yoga means and what it entails to practice this philosophy… be a Yogi or a Yogi.
Grammatically the word Yoga can be derived from two root verbs: Yujirmeaning union, or Yujmeaning Samadhi(maximum state of consciousness). When we talk about union we mean the balance and harmony that must exist between the body and the mind, the feminine and the masculine, the individual and the universal consciousness; when we’re talking about Samadhi,we speak of Yoga as the state in which all fluctuations of the mind are under absolute control, as defined in the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali.
The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali
Yoga as it is known today was defined, so to speak, by a teacher named Patanjali,who lived in India in the 6th century before the modern era. In the past the teachings of Yoga went from teacher to disciple orally, and it was Patanjali who collected all these teachings and wrote them in the Yoga Sutra.
Sutra literally means thread and is a particular style of short, concrete writing that meets certain characteristics; Patanjali wrote his teachings in 196 sutras divided into four chapters:
- Samadhi Pada: explaining what Yoga is, the different levels of consciousness and states of the mind.
- Sadhana Pada: explaining the different practices that must be performed in order to achieve the objectives explained in Chapter 1.
- Vibhuti Pada: explaining the results or benefits that we can obtain by performing the practices indicated in Chapter 2.
- Kaiwalya Pada: describing the nature of discovering yourself reaching the highest state of consciousness.
Studying the Yoga Sutra can take literally years, but the first sutraholds the essence of the practice of Yoga…
(Now, the discipline of yoga)
This Sutra It tells us that practicing Yoga begins in our lives when it must begin: when the teacher has the competence and the disciple is prepared, neither before nor after. In addition, it indicates that the Yoga is a discipline, so to obtain all its benefits and achieve that balance between body and mind it is necessary to be disciplined with our practices, understanding that the discipline is when we consciously decide that what we think, say and do is aligned with our principles and values. Our philosophy teacher said: if you lack your hands you can’t say you don’t write because you’re disciplined… discipline is when you can do it and you don’t do it by decision.
In the Yoga Sutra Ashtanga is also defined, which literally means “eight members” and are the eight steps or disciplines that make up Yoga as a philosophy of life; are the practices we must perform to achieve the ultimate end of Yoga: enlightenment. It is important that these eight steps are not confused with the style of Yoga called Ashtanga Vinyasa that was developed by the teacher Pattabhi Jois.
AshtangaYoga: the eight steps
The eight steps of Yoga are not exactly steps because it is not necessary to complete one to start the other, but must be practiced together; are a guide to a more rewarding, healthy and happylife. Certainly these eight steps are very difficult to fulfill to the letter, especially for us Westerners and with the system of life that we lead, but when we know them and adapt them to our reality we see that they are common sensebehaviors.
These steps are:
- Yama: composed of 5 moral restrictions or regulations at the level of thought, word and action (which we should not do)
- Niyama: composed of 5 practices or ways of acting as part of our observation (what we should do),
- Asana– Includes both the postures we practice when we commonly say we do Yoga, and the fact that we are in the present tense.
- Pranayama: refers to the expansion of prana, which is the vital energy, the responsible force of life, which is transmitted through breathing.
- Pratyahara: as the ability to detach ourselves from the senses and look into our interior.
- Dharana: like the ability to concentrate on something without distraction.
- Dhyana: as the ability to contemplate that something and reflect on it, maintaining a constant flow of concentration.
- Samadhi: as the maximum state of meditation or total absorption, enlightenment.
As I told you, this philosophy is thousands of years old and it is not easy to fulfill exactly, but knowing it a little more we can adapt it to our reality and benefit from its practice. That is why anyone can do Yoga regardless of their condition or religion, because it does not force you to anything, it simply makes you reflect on the way you live so that you are the owner of your own existence.
The Yoga is a philosophy of life, which the moment you start practicing it transforms you, because it involves a commitment to yourself (the hardest of all), changing habits and open your mind to a new way of seeing things… is to go back to your essence and rediscover that happiness is in the simplest things and you’re immensely lucky to have everything you’ve got.
A hug for everyone and see you in class!!