YOGA IS…PERFECT CONTROL OVER THE MIND AND IT’S MODIFICATIONS “chitta vritti nirodaha” (Patanjali Yoga Sutra 1.2)
YOGA IS… A JOURNEY FROM SKIN TO SOUL! (Senior Teacher – Krishna Sikhwal, Rishikesh Yoga Peet, India 2016)
YOGA IS…AN ANCIENT SYSTEM OF PRACTICES FROM THE VEDIC TRADITION WHICH IS DATED OVER 2500 YEARS OLD.
Yoga is the practice of self-observation through which we can get control over the fluctuations of mind so we can eventually get mastery over the mind. The practice is based on philosophies from ancient texts that provide guiding principles and practices from the Vedic tradition of India and the Himalayas.
These ancient texts include The Bhagavad-Gita, The Holy Vedas, The Upanishads, The Sutras of Patanjali, Hatha Yoga Pradipika and Gheranda Samhita.
Through understanding yoga, we begin to understand that the individual self (i) to the universal self (I) are never separate. Through a conscious process, we accelerate growth of the self in its’ entirety, learning to live in a higher state of awareness. In itself, this is a practice of mindfulness. Therefore, yoga is a technique that compresses the process of this journey.
Yoga integrates the union of the body, mind and breath. Through regular practice of various yoga techniques such as asana (postures & movement), meditation, self-inquiry and pranayama (breath work), one can experience ease in the body and clarity of the mind. Yoga is a system that will cultivate a greater awareness and sense of Self, plus improves patterns of the mind in replacing unhealthy habits and relentless mind chatter contributing to dis-ease in the self with overall improved health, clarity of mind and happiness in life.
The Yoga Sutras describes that the practice begins with ethical and spiritual observations as one moves along the 8 limbed path of yoga which is: yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and Samadhi”.
- Yama: the principles of ethical behaviour and standards of behaviour one should follow in every
day life or as my nana used to say “do unto others as your would have them do unto you”
The five YAMAS include:
Ahimsa: non-harming or non-violence to yourself or others in deed or in thought
Satya: honesty and truth with others and ourselves
Asteya: nonstealing, free from desiring to have what one has not earned or paid for
Brahmacharya: continence, honour yourself and others in intimate relationships
Aparigraha: non-covetousness, not being greedy, free of desire, give without expectation
- Niyama: are personal observances, our relationship with ourselves. The five niyamas help one to cultivate happiness and self-confidence.
The five NIYAMAS include:
Saucha: Cleanliness or purity of body and mind
Tapas: religious fervour or a burning fire that opens us to our true nature, a tool of self realisation directing energy to our innermost truth and guiding us to be attentive to our body, breath, mind and heart
Svadhyaya: self study
Isvara pranidhanani: surrender to God or to a sense of the divine
- Asana: the postures or “to take your seat”
- Pranayama: Patanjali explains pranayama is “the controlled intake and outflow of breath in a firmly established posture” (Bouanchaud 1997, 135-136)
- Pratyahara: withdrawal of the senses
- Dharana: focused concentration
- Dhyana: after a long practice, dharana becomes dhyana, becoming one with body-breath-mind
- Samadhi: the final stage, at which union with the divine is reached either before or at death, pure bliss
Reference: Teaching Yoga, Mark Stephens 2010