Sunday, March 12, 2006

What is Yoga?

Yoga is very much known as the path to enlightenment of the soul.

To achieve this goal one has to attain the union of mind, spirit and body.

Yoga comes originally from the Hindu philosophy. The word is derived from the sanskrit word 'yeung', which means to join.

There are various paths the yoga apprentice has to follow to find spiritual insight and harmony for example:

  • Physical exercises known as ASANAS. A form of exercise that stretches and strengthens the body through various poses supported by breathing

    techniques. A healthy soul inhabits a healthy body. The ASANAS prepare the body for meditation

  • Mental and spiritual exercises known as MEDITATION. There are various methods to gain 'peace of the soul' for example the old lady who sits by the fire knitting. Meditation is the practice of the constant observation of the spirit. If one is fully concentratoed the spirit gains peace. In yoga, through meditation exercises, one concentrates the spirit on objects known as Mantras to get calm.

Traditionally yoga consists of eight fundamental paths known as:

  • 1. Ashtanga or Raja Yoga
  • 2. Bhakti Yoga
  • 3. Hatha Yoga
  • 4. Jnana Yoga
  • 5. Karma Yoga
  • 6. Maha Yoga
  • 7. Purna Yoga
  • 8. Tantra Yoga

There are many institutions of yoga which all have there own unique beliefs and practices. In the western world, the term yoga often refers to Hatha Yoga which is perfecting the mind by way of perfecting the body. This technique uses many Asanas, breathing techniques and meditation.

Another popular type of yoga is ashtanga which is considered as a type of aerobic since they utilise quick and smooth transitions between the poses.

The well known 'ommmm' chant is commonly used in Mantra. This type of yoga is focused on calming the body and mind through usage of sanskrit word and sounds.

No matter which school one chooses, yoga is a very diverse practice. Old and young people can gain many benefits from regular yoga practices. Asanas can be adjusted to suit the physical limitations of those participating. You can practise at home or anywhere you want at any time of the day. If you want to breakfree from weight rooms, gyms or tread mills, take a look at yoga.

Attain liberation from wordly suffering through mastery over the body, mind and emotional self.

Take the first step on the path to join body and soul in harmony.

Stuart Perryman
Yoga: Body - Spirit - Mind

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