WHAT IS YOGA
Yoga is huge right now! Everyone has a yoga mat.
Yoga pants, yoga leggings are a massive consumer industry. The wellness industry has yoga as it’s poster girl. Closely followed by vegans!
Yoga is a modern-day phenomenon and it’s amazing that so many people, men and women of all ages are interested in yoga.
Yoga has many health benefits for the mind, body and soul. Yoga is for everyone.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT
Yoga is however not just about Asana. It’s much more than a set of poses, being flexible or strong and getting sweaty in a yoga studio.
Yoga philosophy is incredibly important and relevant to our holistic health. Yoga can help manage stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, digestive problems, and a whole range of issues as well as increasing physical fitness.
Especially in modern-day society with our fast-paced lifestyle, we can all apply basic yoga philosophy to our daily lives. I always think it’s so interesting to educate yourself about different cultures, traditions and philosophies.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Yoga is over 5000 years old. It is a tradition that began in India alongside other traditions and religions like Hinduism. This is why many people get confused and make the mistake yoga is not a religion just like yoga is not an exercise form. Yoga is a beautiful complex practice and to only know about 1 part, the Asana, is a shame.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is a guide, a practical and spiritual guide on how to live a life of freedom. Freedom from suffering. We all want that kind of life! This is why the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is relevant even today, to every man, woman and child. Not just those who go to a yoga class. Maybe not all 8 limbs, but most people can find 2 that they resonate with.
Infographic from www.boyoga.com
The 8 Limbs of Yoga
All yogis are familiar with Asana (the yoga poses).
Many are familiar with Pranayama (breath control, breathwork).
This extends to life force energy (prana) which can be circulated during yoga flow sequences as well as breathwork.
The others are less obvious and many people feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the Sanskrit terminology. They are just words though and the meaning becomes clearer in English!
- Yamas (Integrity and behaviour)
- Niyamas (Self-discipline and spiritual practices)
- Pratyahara (Sensory detachment)
- Dharana (Concentration and focus on one thing)
- Dhyana (Meditation, awareness without focus)
- Samadhi (Ecstasy and bliss)
I struggle with some and are more drawn to others.
I find Pratyahara doesn’t resonate with me as I am a big fan of Tantra and Visualisations which celebrate the power and joy of our senses. I also don’t like judgement or anything that resembles punishment or rigid rules.
I love Pranayama (breathwork).
I love Dharana (precursor to Meditation, slowing down and focus).
I love Dhyana (Meditation).
And Samadhi (who doesn’t love a bit of ecstasy and bliss!)
There are also 5 yamas and 5 niyamas which I will list below
- Ahimsa: nonviolence
- Satya: truthfulness
- Asteya: nonstealing
- Brahmacharya: continence
- Aparigraha: non-covetousness
- Saucha: cleanliness
- Samtosa: contentment
- Tapas: heat; spiritual austerities
- Svadhyaya: the study of the sacred scriptures and of one’s self
- Isvara pranidhana: surrender to God or the Universe
THE LAST THING YOU NEED TO KNOW
Yoga Philosophy can seem daunting at first. It’s absolutely not compulsory to learn all the above terms and meanings. I believe that most people in our modern world are looking for a deeper meaning to life and guidance outside the constraints of religion.
Yoga philosophy can offer guidance in certain areas. You choose what applies and benefits you!
If you choose to ignore yoga philosophy and just do Asana. That’s fine too!
Check out my Youtube channel and Facebook page for more yoga-related videos! Stellar Wellness.
Thank you for reading!