What is Yoga
The word Yoga is derived from the sanskrit root word, yuj, which means “to yoke” or “to join or bind”. In other words, “to focus or concentrate your attention”.
The ancient art of Yoga has become a worldwide phenomenon which literally changes peoples lives, on both physical, mental and spiritual levels.
Yoga is the practise of asanas or yoga poses which cleanse the mind, body and soul. It is beautiful, fulfilling and simple.
It makes the body flexible, strong, toned and fluid. It brings about clarity of mind and emotional stability.
It tones all the muscles of the body and the internal organs. It also improves the functions of the digestive, hormonal, circulatory and respiratory systems. All of these are such important factors for optimum living and happiness in this fast paced, polluted world we journey through.
However, the ultimate purpose of Yoga practice is the journey to self realization or Samadhi, of which the physical benefits listed above are only the tip of the iceberg.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
This leads us to Patanjali, an ancient sage, who was a master of yoga, and a completely evolved soul. He was able to fully empathize with the emotions of ordinary people and as a result, put his reflections on how to achieve one’s full potential, to paper and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali were born.
The aim of Yoga, according to Patanjali, is to ultimately calm the mind of it’s continuous and often conflicting and out of control thoughts and impulses. It disciplines the mind, intellect, reason and emotions and therefore dissipates the ego.
Yoga is also known as Astanga Yoga. The word astanga means eight steps (or limbs) and this is divided into three disciplines:
Bahiranga-Sadhana: Ethical Practices
The practise of Yama (self restraint)
The practise of Niyama (self discipline)
The physical practise of Asanas (physical postures for health and wellbeing)
Antaranga-Sadhana: Emotional & Mental Discipline
The practise of Pratyahara (control through mental detachment)
The practise of Pranayama (breathing technique)
Antaratma-Sadhana: Quest Of The Soul
The practise of Dharana (concentration & focus of mind power)
The practise of Dyhana (meditation & contemplation of the divine)
The practise of Samadhi (conscious bliss and unity of the divine and all life)
Yoga For All!
There are Yoga teachers in every corner of the globe. There are classes to suit every person, every pocket and many free classes are available too. There is a yoga studio around almost every corner. Yoga is for everyone, man, woman and child. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, how big or small you are, how fit or unfit you may be. It does not discriminate, you simply begin at the beginning and embrace the journey. Namaste!
“The practise of Yoga destroys the impurities of the body and mind, after which maturity in intelligence and wsidom radiate from the core of the being to function in unison with the body, senses, mind, intelligence, and the consciousness.”
Patanjali – Yoga Sutras of Patanjali