What is yoga? To unite. To link the threads of experience and life. To bring together. To yoke.
The starting point is never the teacher's needs, but those of the student. Yoga affects the mind, primarily, and each person's mind is different. Yoga serves the individual, and does so through inviting transformation rather than by giving information. It is a practice intended to make someone wiser, more able to understand things than they were before. The goal is always bhakti or...to approach the highest intelligence, namely God.
"If you go step by step, there will be no problems. Enjoy each step. Trying to leap many steps at once can be a problem. " - Krischnamacharya
Anybody who wants to can practice yoga. Anybody can breath, therefore anybody can practice yoga. But no one can practice every kind of yoga. It has to be the right yoga for the person.
Anything that brings us closer to understanding that there is a power higher and greater than ourselves is yoga. When you feel in harmony with that higher power, that too is yoga.
The Four Forms of Yoga 1) Gyan- understanding / science 2) Bhakti- love and devotion to God 3) Karma - recognition of the Supreme being 4) Raja - abundance in knowledge and experience
Yoga Sutras The Yoga Sutra is a text that focuses on the mind- what it's qualities are and how we can influence it. Yoga, is the ability to direct the mind without distraction or interruption. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is the heart of yoga. If we know how to create such problems, we can also learn how to free ourselves from them.
The Yoga Sutra is vast in its scope. Krishnamacharya says that there is an ocean between atha and iti, the first and last syllables of the Sutra. Patanjali presented this work in the style known as sutra, that which has very few words, yet is free from ambiguity, full of essence, universal in context, and affirmative.
There can be no haste or exaggerated effort to gain its understanding: it must be a natural process. *Patanjali makes it clear that everything in our experience is changing; nothing, including duhkha, is in a fixed condition. Therefore, if there is the desire, we can make positive changes for ourselves.
One of my favorite sutras;
2.38 bramacaryapratisthayam viryalabhah At its best, moderation produces the highest individual vitality. Nothing is wasted by us if we seek to develop moderation in all things. Too much of anything brings problems. Too little may be inadequate.
Ramayana Ramayana is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Mahābhārata. Along with the Mahābhārata, it forms the Hindu Itihasa. The epic, traditionally ascribed to the Hindu Valmiki, narrates the life of Rama, the legendary prince of the Kosala Kingdom. It follows his fourteen-year exile to the forest from the kingdom, by his father King Dasharatha, on request of his second wife Kaikeyi. His travels across forests in India with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana, the kidnapping of his wife by Ravana, the great king of Lanka, resulting in a war with him, and Rama's eventual return to Ayodhya to be crowned king.
Bhagavad Gita The Bhagavad Gita is an ancient Indian text that became an important work of Hindu tradition in terms of both literature and philosophy. The earliest translations of this work from Sanskrit into English were made around 1795 CE by Sir Charles Wilkins. The name Bhagavad Gita means “the song of the Lord”. It is composed as a poem and it contains many key topics related to the Indian intellectual and spiritual tradition. Although it is normally edited as an independent text, the Bhagavad Gita became a section of a massive Indian epic named “The Mahabharata”, the longest Indian epic. There is a part in the middle of this long text, consisting of 18 brief chapters and about 700 verses: this is the section known as the Bhagavad Gita. It is also referred to as the Gita, for short.
The Bhagavad Gita revolves around the following questions: How can someone live a life spiritually meaningful without withdrawing from society? What can someone who does not want to give up family and social obligations do to live the right way? The Gita challenges the general consensus that only ascetics and monks can live a perfect spiritual life through renunciation and emphasises the value of an active spiritual life.
Upanishads The Upanishads are a part of the Vedas, and are ancient Sanskrit texts that contain some of the central philosophical concepts and ideas of Hinduism, some of which are shared with religious traditions like Buddhism and Jainism. Among the most important literature in the history of Indian religions and culture, the Upanishads played an important role in the development of spiritual ideas in ancient India, marking a transition from Vedic ritualism to new ideas and institutions.Of all Vedic literature, the Upanishads alone are widely known, and their central ideas are at the spiritual core of Hindus. The Upanishads are commonly referred to as Vedānta. Vedanta has been interpreted as the "last chapters, parts of the Veda" and alternatively as "object, the highest purpose of the Veda".The concepts of Brahman (ultimate reality) and Ātman (soul, self) are central ideas in all of the Upanishads, and "know that you are the Ātman" is their thematic focus.
Vedas The Vedas are a collection of hymns and other ancient religious texts written in India between about 1500 and 1000 BCE. It includes elements such as liturgical material as well as mythological accounts, poems, prayers, and formulas considered to be sacred by the Vedic religion. The language of the Vedas is Sanskrit, an ancestor of most of the modern languages spoken today in South Asia. The word Veda is Sanskrit for “knowledge,” and Hindus believe the knowledge in the Vedas to be divine in origin. This knowledge within the Vedas falls into four categories: Samhitas, which are mantras and benedictions; Aranyakas, which are writings delineating the symbols and ceremonies concerning sacrifices; the Brahmanas, which are writings about the rituals and sacrifices; and Upanishads, which are discussions about spiritual knowledge and Hindu philosophy. Sometimes a fifth category is employed—Upasanas, which are writings of worship. There are orthodox and heterodox approaches to the Vedas within Hinduism, much the same as the orthodox and heterodox approaches to Christian Scripture. Some Hindus see the Vedas as divine, authoritative truth, while others see them as non-authoritative.
8 Limb Path The Royal Path to Union. The eight limbs of yoga. Yama Niyama Asana Pranayama Pratyahara Dharana Dhyana Samadhi
Yama / Niyama - Rules of social behavior. Explained below. Asana- seat or position. The full expression of mind-body integration. Pranayama- life force. Energy that animates inert matter into living, evolving, biological beings. Pratyahara- is the process of directing the senses inward. To become aware of the subtle elements of sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell. Dharana- the mastery of attention and intention. Your intentions have a powerful influence on what things manifest in your life. Dhyana- is the expression of knowing that you are IN this world but NOT of this world. Samadhi- is the state of being settled in pure, unbounded awareness.
Yamas and Niyamas Rules of Social behavior. Yamas ( there are 5) Ahimsa - Non violence Satya - Speaking truthful Asteya- Honesty, awareness, and wisdom Brahmacharya- Appropriate control / sexual control Aparigraha- Moderation and non-attachment
Rules of Personal behavior: Niyamas (there are 5) Shoucha- Purity of Mind, Body, Spirit Santosha- Contentment with what is Tapas- Self discipline with lightness and balance Svadhyaya- Self study and self observation Ishwara Pranidhana- be open, humble, gracious, and respectful Avidya Tree Avidya can be understood as the accumulated result of our many unconscious actions, the actions and ways of perceiving that we have been mechanically carrying out for years. The mind becomes more and more dependant on habits until we accept the actions of yesterday as the norms of today. Such habituation in our action and perception is called samskara. These habits cover the mind with avidya, as if obscuring the clarity of consciousness with a filmy layer. The goal in Yoga is to reduce the film of avidya in order to act correctly.