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What is Yoga?

Updated: Jun 11

woman during yoga excercise

Derived from the Sanskrit root yuj, meaning “to yoke,” or “to unite”.

The practice of yoga aims to create union between the BODY, MIND and SPIRIT of the practioner. To develop the same union between the practioner and UNIVERSAL CONSCIOUSNESS.

This UNION supports growth of the NEUTRAL mind and shines a light onto ego-driven thoughts and behaviours, in turn allowing the practioner to make more connected and conscious life decisions.

It involves, pranyama (breath) asana (posture) and Dhyana (meditation) in the daily practice to improve health and flexibility of the body, support it's overall function and to increase mental clarity. (BUT SO MUCH MORE)

Originating in ancient India, the sage Patanjali classified the practice in his Yoga Sutras around 400 C.E.

Prior to this the teachings were usually handed down from teacher to student, traditionally, this was a one-to-one transmission.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras provide the traditional foundation of yoga, in which he outlines an eightfold path of the practice.

Known as the ‘Eight Limbs of Yoga,’ this path offers a guide to individuals who are dedicated to creaating this union. Each of the Eight Limbs offers a means of living with more integrity, self-discipline, respect for nature and connection with the spiritual aspects of life. These eight practices are intended to be carried out in a holistic and integrative manner:

  • Yamas - Five ethical and moral observances to live by (nonviolence, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence and non-covetousness)

  • Niyamas - Five spiritual and self-discipline observances (cleanliness, contentment, spiritual austerities, study of scriptures and surrender to God)

  • Asana - Physical posture

  • Pranayama - Breathing exercises to control the flow of prana (vital life force)

  • Pratyahara - Withdrawal of the senses

  • Dharana - Single pointed concentration

  • Dhyana - Meditation

  • Samadhi - Liberation or blissful union with the Divine

There are lots of different types of yoga. What you will see mostly is vinyasa, ashtanga but they all have the same aim, to achieve liberation from suffering.

Although each school or tradition of yoga has its own emphasis and practices, most focus on the same concept of bringing together body, mind and breath as a means of altering energy or shifting consciousness.

The four traditional paths of yoga are:

  • Bhakti (devotion)

  • Karma (action/selfless service)

  • Jnana (knowledge/self-study)

  • Raja (self discipline/practice

Yoga is in ALL that I do. It's my connection to Universal Consciousness. It's not always lovely or relaxing. It's my path.

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