‘Y-O-G-A’ is more than poses and deep breathing! Ommmm

You are familiar with the postures (asanas) of yoga, such as downward dog and the forward fold.

In your average ‘yoga’ class it is likely you also learned the importance of (pranayama) or focused and controlled breathing and meditation or (dhyana) of ashtanga however, the term yoga has been watered down by America’s instant gratification seeking masses.

Where am I in life- where am I going? Am I happy? If I’m not, how do I get happy?

…. Droves are turning to yoga for answers, buying mats and the latest in yogi fashion… but, are they missing something? Are you?

I’ll wager a guess that when you first heard the word yoga your mind immediately flew to images of tight spandex and twists and bends… Yoga, as it was originally intended, is about balancing not just your body, but your mind and spirit as well.

The great sage Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra is a sort of ancient manual brimming with essential advice to guide you on your path to transformation. It is code of morals meant to bring mental and emotional balance. He described the path to enlightenment as ‘8 Fold’ and as a way of examining one’s self.

Ready to Go Deeper?

The 8 Fold Path of Classical Yoga

  • YAMAS a program of restraints or abstentions
  • (niyamas) lifestyle observances
  • ASANAS postures
  • (pranayama) breath control
  • PRATYAHARA withdrawal of the senses
  • (dharana) concentration
  • DHYANA meditation
  • absorption into the Divine (samadhi).

It may surprise you to learn that at the heart of ‘yoga’ are a code of ethics, sometimes referred to as the ten commandments… the yamas and the niyamas.

“These ethical values, of yoga, are meant to be practiced before you do your very first Sun Salutation.” Hillari Dowdle, YogaJournal.com

Within these “Ten Commandments of Yoga”, there is no right or wrong, no heaven or hell… simply a path to states of happiness and away from suffering and difficulty.

the yamas, or RESTRAINTS recommended actions to avoid.

  • ahimsa: nonharming
  • satya: truthfulness
  • asteya: nonstealing
  • brahmacharya: energy moderation
  • aparigraha: nongrasping

the niyamas,  OBSERVANCES recommendations to strive for.

  • saucha: purity
  • santosha: contentment
  • tapas: right effort
  • svadhyaya: self-study
  • Ishvara pranidhana: dedication to the highest

“The yamas are really about restraining behaviors that are motivated by grasping, aversion, hatred and delusion. The niyamas are concepts designed to create well-being for ourselves and others,” says Stephen Cope The Wisdom Yoga.

The yamas and niyamas are not steps to be followed… instead they’re merely tools. When you build a garden for instance, there are no rules to follow, it is an experiment.

Perhaps, happiness is too.

To read more on the yamas and niyamas read Yoga’s Ten Commandments below.

“The yamas are really about restraining behaviors that are motivated by grasping, aversion, hatred and delusion. The niyamas are concepts designed to create well-being for ourselves and others,” says Stephen Cope The Wisdom Yoga.

“The path of practice [of ashtanga yoga] begins with understanding the different dimensions of who you are, and it unfolds progressively, not all at once” says Gary Kraftsow a Yoga Sutra scholar. “The whole goal of yoga is Self-realization, which can be called freedom.” The yamas and the niyamas give you infinite opportunities to truly transform your life.”

The key lies in aligning your life with the yamas and niyamas. This will lead you to: peace, truth, abundance, purity, self acceptance, love, and a meaningful connection to the Divine– or Happiness.

the yamas, or RESTRAINTS recommended actions to avoid.

  • ahimsa: nonharming
  • satya: truthfulness
  • asteya: nonstealing
  • brahmacharya: energy moderation
  • aparigraha: nongrasping

the niyamas,  OBSERVANCES recommendations to strive for.

  • saucha: purity
  • santosha: contentment
  • tapas: right effort
  • svadhyaya: self-study
  • Ishvara pranidhana: dedication to the highest

To read more in depth about the Yamas and the Niyamas visit “Path To Happiness” on Yoga Journal.com

Namaste.

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