While we talked about the physical part of yoga we cannot forget that yoga means a union of body, mind, and spirit. And it is only when we attend to the three planes there is balance and balance leads us to harmony and well-being.
While it is true that for most people yoga is synonymous with physical exercise, for yogis this discipline involves not only a physical practice but a whole lifestyle. And it is that with practice you begin to know the art of breathing, of meditating, the kriyas … As well as it’s most philosophical part.
To know a little more about this discipline would be necessary to read some of his classic texts, such as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. They address all these issues and it is emphasized that the physical part is a very small part of the road to our integral development.
The Eight Steps of the Sutras
Until the edition of the Sutras yoga was transmitted orally from teachers to disciples, Patanjali compiled all these teachings into a collection of 195 aphorisms and laid the foundations of classical yoga. Through these statements, the principles of yoga are explained and an eight-step system (progressive and successive) is described which allows us to reach the ultimate goal of yoga: the Union of which I spoke earlier.
The first steps refer to the ethics of yoga, that is, they are the set of moral norms that govern the behavior of the yogi (toward others and towards himself) are summarized in five yamas or universal precepts five niyamas or individual precepts.
The yamas emphasize obligations to others and are: Ahimsa or not to cause harm, perhaps one of the most repeated, and is that you have heard me other times to say that it is fundamental to treat oneself kindly as well as kindly treat others (for example In class so as not to hurt us); Satya or tell the truth, understood as the correspondence between what we think, what we say and what we do, and always with the aim of not harming others; Asteya or not take possession or deprive someone of something; Brahmacarya or containment; Aparigraha or not greed, since the accumulation of material goods is harmful. These last four do nothing more than reinforce what is said in the first yama.
The niyamas focus on obligations towards us and are Shaucha or purity of body and mind. Purity of body involves eating pure foods, and it is that caring for your body not only means keeping it fit also takes care of your food, although most yogis are usually vegetarians, it is not necessary for you to be vegetarian, you just have to Take a balanced diet and give you the energy you need for your day to day life. As for purity of mind it promotes pure thoughts, which is intimately related to the principles we saw previously; Samtosha or be content with the situation you live in this moment as it is perfect in itself, the idea is that you do not have enough or lack anything, Tapah the discipline, But not seen from the point of view of duty if not the passion for what we do, this way it will be easier to fix a stable discipline; Sva’dhya’ya or the study of issues related to our development.
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This ethical attitude will lead us to face the rest of the steps from another perspective. It is now when we enter the land better known by all of us:
Asana (postures), following Patanjali’s instructions, our asanas must be firm and stable, this is achieved by a good mental disposition (which must also be firm and stable) and decreasing (or suppressing) the effort that may lead to it. Only in this way will we be able to perform the perfect asana.
Once incorporated the inner steps in our practice we can perform Pranayama or regulation of breathing, which will help us to have more energy, vitality, and control over the emotions as we saw in previous posts.
We can also perform Pratyahara or control of the senses, and that is that when we close our senses to external stimuli we will find peace.
The last steps refer to meditation, the core part of this lifestyle, and are Dharana or Dhyana concentration or meditation and finally Samadhi or awakening of Consciousness.
Incorporating all these aspects into our daily life is something personal; each one decides what to incorporate and when to do it. And is that yoga is a lifestyle that everyone decides whether to adopt or not.
Good start to the week!