Yoga is for Every Body: 30-days Free on OMstars
Yoga in the West has become equivalent to a gymnastic-type of exercise requiring immense flexibility and strength. This has created a vast misperception that has deterred many from pursuing the wisdom of yoga. But yoga is more about mastery of the creative lifeforce and the mind. In fact, the word “asana” is only mentioned three times in the 196 sutras of the sage Patanjali, pointing to a state in which the mind and breath are stable and at ease in whatever posture the body is holding.
According to master teacher Indu Arora, Yoga is that which inspires and grants liberation from the incessant cycles of duality: birth and death, happiness and suffering, attachment and loss. The very word “yoga” hides the eight-fold path as outlined by the Patanjali in his codification of yoga: 1) yamas 2) niyamas 3) asana 4) pranayama 5) pratyahara, 6) dharana, 7) dhyana and 8) samadhi
Yogaḥ consists of 4 seed mantras, or vibrational Sanskrit sounds. By realizing the four seed sounds, one becomes Yogaḥ:
1. Y for Yung (ing+ang) represents the inhale and exhale of our breath, the left and right nostrils and brain lobes, where life begins and ends
2. O for Ung represents the stability of the body (asana), breath (pranayama) and senses (pratyahara)
3. G for Gung represents the three stages of concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana) and dissolution (samadhi)
4. A for Aha represents the supreme merging and dissolution, the realization that “I Am That (Supreme Universal Consciousness)”
This is the 8-fold path according to Patanjali:
1. Yamas are the ethical precepts of yoga: non-violence (ahimsa), truthfulness (satya), moderation (brahmacharya), non-stealing (asteya) and non-possessiveness (aparigraha)
2. Niyamas are the observances to obtain peace: physical and energetic cleanliness (saucha), contentment or satisfaction (santosha), effort or discipline in spiritual practice (tapas), self-inquiry or contemplation (svadhyaya), and surrendering the fruits and experiences of practice, pleasant or unpleasant back to the universe (ishwara pranidhana)
3. Asana literally means “seat.” Patanjali prescribes stability (sthiram) and ease (sukham) in the pose so the mind can rest and “contemplate the infinite.” This means that your breath is smooth, quiet, and even and the mind focused and aware. If you find yourself hurting, grunting, huffing, or puffing in the poses, it’s no longer yoga (remember ahimsa, non-harming). The Hatha Yoga Pradipika names the four most important asanas to master, and they are all seated meditation postures.
4. Pranayama refers to the state that results from the breathing practices, not the techniques themselves. Once the breath is smooth, quiet, and even, we enter the subtle realm of prana, or energy/lifeforce. Prana is the primordial unit of life that permeates all of creation, from subatomic particles, to cells, to galaxies. Its nature is to expand and give life.
5. Pratyahara is the withdrawal of the senses. Pranayama naturally leads the mind inward, so it’s no longer pulled by the distractions of the external world. This step unfolds from pranayama.
6. Dharana is the concentration of mind and prana in one place. The mind’s focus of attention draws prana’s energy to that place, and prana holds the mind in that place. The main goal of dharana is to create a continuous flow of attention to one place leading to meditation, dhyana.
7. Dhyana is the conscious act of internalizing the sum total of physical, emotional, intellectual, and subtle energies for the sole purpose of realizing the truth of our being as one with Supreme Universal Consciousness, which is the 8th state.
8. Samadhi is the dissolution of the self into the Self, when the Seer (Consciousness/Creator), the Seen (Creation) and the act of Seeing (Awareness) become One. Sama means “balanced, whole” and Dhi means the state of gathering the entirety of mind, higher intellect, and full awareness. Individual consciousness and supreme/universal consciousness become One.
The main purpose of yogic philosophy is to remove suffering at all levels – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and karmic. Combined with Vedic, Ayurvedic and Tantric wisdom, Yoga is about healing body and mind. A healthy body leads to a calm mind. Calming the mind and the nervous system so there are no disturbances in meditation are the goal.
If you want to explore yoga, you may wish to sign up for a 30-day free trial at OMstars https://omstars.com/watch using my code OMSTARSINGE. When you register, you gain access to thousands of classes by more than 175 teachers from various traditions. Classes are organized by categories including yoga therapy, philosophy, chanting, lifestyle, spirituality, pranayama and meditation. Visit my profile to see my philosophy and meditation offerings on OMstars https://omstars.com/hosts/inge-sengelmann