Life Of Fulfillment Through the Practice of Yoga
Yoga Rocks! The millennia of material and spiritual benefits of yoga have long been known by the sages and yogis of India. Today sharing love and joy by joining life with spirituality through the practice of yoga is an expanding trend. Yoga aids practitioners to take control ones life.
There are many forms of yoga, but, here are the key traditions:
Hatha Yoga – Yoga of the Sun and Moon allows us to harmonize our bodies with the environment and open our minds to unlimited spiritual potential.
Karma Yoga – Yoga of Action whereby deeds in the world are dedicated to God or Buddha with the surety of divine wisdom. Karma instills creativity and universal love for all beings.
Jana Yoga is Wisdom Yoga where we are empowered to see our true nature and our connection with all beings.
Raja or Royal Yoga is the Yoga Of The Mind which embodies service to others. Raja Yoga encompasses all aspects of yoga emphasizing the benefits of meditation, purposeful consciousness and spiritual self-realization.
Patanjali’s Eight Limb Path Of Raja Yoga Teachings
1. Yamas are Abstenations.
2. Niyamas are Moral Observations.
-Susha or purity
-Santosha or contentment
-Tapas or austerity
-Svadhaya or study of the scriptures
-Ishvara Pranidana or Surrender to God
3. Asana involves bodywork through performance of various postures.
4. Pranayama which is the control of vital energy through breath work.
5. Pratyahara meaning withdrawal of the senses.
6. Dharana or concentration of the Mind.
7. Dhyana or Meditation.
8. Samadhi or Union with the Divine.
I like how Christy Turlington explains the I AM connection, ‘We are all part of our divine maker and creation itself, and when we accept the divine connection, we have begun on the path of enlightenment,’ in her book Living Yoga.
A quote from the introduction of the same book, Living Yoga. “Eastern Philosophy says that human beings have forgotten what they came here for. With all the stimulation outside ourselves, we have lost sight of the Beloved, our Creator, and have lost ourselves as a result. I really believe that we have the answers within us, but, it takes an incredible discipline and hard work to gain back those abandoned gifts we are given as a birthright. Many of us have lost the ability to feel things, and look to others for clarification and purpose….when the answers are deep inside ourselves. We are each a part of our Divine Maker and creation itself, and when we accept the divine connection, we have begun on the path of enlightenment.
Yoga allows us to experience that connection. Through the yoking of our bodies, minds and hearts to the higher power of existence we awaken the Shakti or spiritual energy hidden within and our highest capabilities are revealed. Within this realization comes a confidence, which cannot be destroyed. This is Self Realization. Once that connection is established, the source is accessible at any time to find answers that we have been searching for. Through practicing yoga, you are more conscious of your behavior in the world and how things outside yourself can affect you. You learn that you can go out into the world and affect others in a number of positive ways. We are each born with unlimited potential and a deep inner knowledge of what is right and what is true, but, life would be without meaning, if, we did not have to work at least a little toward this self-discovery. We are our own God given tools to attain this knowledge and the freedom that will come when it is realized fully, S0, we must strengthen and sharpen our tools in preparation for this divine union. This can only be achieved through practice and yoga is essentially the practice of refining ourselves holistically and specifically for this deeply spiritual purpose.
Yoga is the practice of disciplining the body, mind, and spirit to the optimum capacity. It is the practice or mindfulness, compassion, grace and love through all actions. If, you are seeking enlightenment and bliss, for your self and to share with others I invite you to explore the multitude of this philosophy so that you can learn along with me how to better our lives and it’s many teachings.
Namaste – Christy”
Yoga – Yoke With The Divine
What does that really mean? For the purpose of this article and your understanding of the use of the word Divine in our yoga teachings it is Your God…. Your Creator or Your Source. Christian, Jewish, Buddhist alike have interpretations of the ONE, the Source, etc. In yoga we can choose to bring the practice further by enjoying the concept of connection to the Divine within us through focused breathe and movement. Taking a few moments to ‘check out’ and flow with the natural rhythms of the Universe. I most like the rhythm of the ocean for my guidance through breath and movement.
In practical matters of everyday life our primary drive is to feel well physically and emotionally. Bad habits, bad information and lack of interest eventually lead many of us to seek a better way. I like the way Jaqueline Young explains the Eastern Medicines approach to health and wellness, as it ‘Encompasses mind, body, and spirit and focused more on preventive approaches and health promotion than on disease management.”
Ayurveda translates to Science of Longevity, or more literally The Science of Life. In India the medical traditions were written down in Sanskrit texts by Rishas or seers who believed to be revealed by the God Brahma and have been passed down for thousands of years. These traditions were developed from four sacred texts called the Vedas in Sanskrit verses called Suktas.
The oldest Veda called Rig Veda contains 1028 hymns that praise God.
The second and third Vedas Yajur Veda and Sama Veda respectively contain the tenants of Indian Philosophy and Religion. The final and fourth Veda deals with prayers, rituals mantras and magic.
Ayurveda is a holistic approach to health that depends on the balance of three humours:
Vata or Wind
Pitta or Choler
Kapha or Phlegm
Lifestyle is very important in these traditions namely purity, diet, hygiene, right moral behavior and activity. Treatments are often herbal, but, may also prescribe other courses of action, such as, detoxification of the body, karma, and astrological influences. Most illness was thought to be caused by demonic possession.
These traditions had a lot of influence from Buddhist beliefs.
Three Medial Books Chakaka Sambita, Sashruta Sambita, and Bhela Sambita are teachings that the sage Atreya received from the God Indra and passed on to his student Agnivesa.
THE FOUR ERAS OF YOGA ARE…
Vedic Era – built around archaic teachings, sacrifice, praise of a higher power, magic and rituals.
Pre-Classical Era – comes from the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita writings called the Upshads expanding on the hidden knowledge about the connectedness of all things and opposed evil.
Classical Era – surrounds the teachings of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Approach to Yoga in his Yoga Sutras, Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga and Tantra Yoga Traditions stem from this era.
Modern Era emphasizes unity, Oneness with the Source, The Universe, God…
We are currently in the Modern Era of Yoga. As a student of yoga, I think the practice of yoga has evolved and is now spreading globally. Yoga’s reputation as a therapy is growing at such a rate that yoga essentially will become an integral part of most of the World’s lifestyles in the future. As a blooming practitioner of yoga who answered her calling to share it as a career I hope everyone is practicing yoga. Yoga has helped me overcome and continue to treat my own illnesses and challenges. It has helped me to put my habits in perspective and to eliminate everything that does not serve me. I stopped smoking cigarettes, started making many of the staples in my kitchen from scratch, made my own cleaners with safe ingredients, eat whole foods, practice yoga every day, participated less in toxic relationships. I also joined the Shaklee family which helped me go all natural in my personal care products and nutrition. Shaklee helps by bringing balance to the body systems in more harmony with nature.
The yoga lifestyle makes it difficult to participate in unhealthy practices. Yoga changed my life for the better and it will yours. This alone will make yoga a driving force for wellness in the times to come. Yoga is something you bring forth from inside yourself, so, I approach classes as sharing yoga rather than to teach yoga. If, you don’t know yoga, I can help you access it. I hope your yoga journey changes your life, as well. Namaste.
Michelle Slaybaugh, Certified Yoga Instructor