Philosophy of Yoga
The Philosophy of yoga is a complex and varied subject that has been studied and practiced for thousands of years. It involves many different aspects including physical exercises, meditation, spirituality, and more. One of the core components of yoga philosophy is the eight limbs of yoga, which guide exponent on their journey to enlightenment. In this blog post, we will take an in-depth look at the Eight Limbs of Yoga and discuss how to apply them to our daily lives.
The eight limbs of yoga, also known as Ashtanga yoga, were first organized by the first sage Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. They are a set of guidelines that provide an extensive framework for the practice of yoga, both on and off the mat.
The eight limbs of yoga are as follows:
- Yama – The ethical principles that rule our interactions with others, including non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, moderation, and non-possessiveness.
- Niyama – The ethical principles that rule our interactions with ourselves, including purity, contentment, self-discipline, self-study, and surrender to a higher power.
- Asana – The physical postures that are commonly associated with yoga practice. Asanas are designed to improve strength, flexibility, and balance in the body, as well as to calm the mind to prepare for meditation.
- Pranayama – Controlling one’s breath is known as pranayama, and it is thought to operate as a link between the body and the mind. Pranayama practices can boost energy, calm the mind, and lessen stress.
- Pratyahara – The withdrawal of the senses from external incentive, in order to focus the mind and turn inward. Pratyahara is an essential step in the practice of meditation.
- Dharana – Concentration technique entails concentrating the mind on a single concept or object. Dharana is a practice that comes before meditation that promotes mental stillness and inner tranquility.
- Dhyana – The practice of meditation, in which the mind becomes completely absorbed in the object of concentration. Meditation helps to quiet the mind, reduce stress, and cultivate a sense of inner peace and clarity.
- Samadhi – The enlightened state during which the practitioner feels a sense of oneness with the cosmos. The ultimate goal of yoga practice, or samadhi, is a blissful state of unadulterated consciousness.
Each of these eight limbs is interrelated and dependent upon the others, and they all work together to form a whole practice. For instance, performing asanas helps to get the body and mind ready for pranayama, which gets the mind ready for meditation. Similar to this, the yama and niyama ethical guidelines serve as the cornerstone of the entire practice, directing the practitioner towards moral behavior and self-awareness.
The eight limbs of yoga are not meant to be rigid or dogmatic, it is crucial to remember this. Instead, they offer a flexible and adaptable framework that each practitioner can employ however they see fit.
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