By Faye Martins and Gopi Rao
The discipline of yoga has gained momentum as health care costs are out of sight. Therefore, from the preventative approach, it makes sense to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Even more, yoga is a healthy practice of meditation and physical exercises that can be practiced with a still mind to quiet the ego. Accordingly, yoga has been practiced for thousands of years and is an important part of Asian culture. Additionally, yoga involves stretching, breathing, and poses that are designed to work on balance, strength, flexibility, and attention span.
Until now, yoga was taught in traditional atmospheres. In recent years, the discipline of yoga has become more popular as a form of low-impact exercise. Nevertheless, many mainstream athletes now include yoga in their training routine. In addition, yogic methods have been embraced by sports medicine worldwide. As a result, the benefits of yoga have also been used by those who suffer from mind-body disorders.
About Yoga Poses
Yoga is a discipline that is practiced for many reasons. Its most basic form is an exercise routine that focuses on posturing. Yet, yoga provides strength and flexibility in a way that few other exercises do. Yoga can help people manage chronic pain and other health issues, reducing the need for pharmaceuticals. It can also have benefits as a form of stress relief or as therapy for those suffering with insomnia or anxiety. However, breathing and meditation can also be used to relax.
The Eight Limbs of Yoga
Yoga is not just about the poses. The eight limbs of yoga are briefly outlined below.
1) Yama, which means abstaining from violence
2) Niyama, which means purity in intention and actions
3) Asana, physical postures designed to do things that most people would find very challenging
4) Pranayama, a system for controlling the breath through the nose or mouth
5) Pratyahara, the drawing inward of your senses
6) Dharana, focusing on one thing with intense concentration
7) Dhyana, contemplation on deep truths
8) Samadhi, a state of blissful absorption
Tools of Yoga
The Eight Limbs of Yoga are a set of tools for students to focus on. As metioned earlier, these eight limbs are yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi. Yama and Niyama are basically the dos and don’ts. In other words, they are the moral imperatives that guide how we act in the world. Asana is where we may practice physical poses. Pranayama is a family of breathing techniques that control your life force energy. Pratyahara is withdrawing from sensory perception. Dharana means concentration and deep meditation. Dhyan refers to the meditative absorption of thought or feeling so that the object of meditation becomes all-pervading in consciousness. And Samadhi is a state of perfect union with the object of meditation.
Mind and Body
There are a number of reasons why people have an interest in the discipline of yoga. The first is the health reasons. Yoga can be good for your physical and mental health. It can also help you to relax, which is all but necessary these days with all of the stress that we face. Some people also enjoy yoga because it’s a challenge that they can’t find anywhere else.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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The Second Yoga Discipline – Truthfulness
By Stephen Jayanta Paquette
We continue our exploration of the grounding principles of the discipline of yoga known as the Yamas. Sometimes, these five disciplines can provide a powerful grounding influence in our daily lives. The second discipline that follows non-violence is truthfulness (Satya). Further, this word may also be translated to be genuine, real, or honest. Like all aspects of yoga the more we are able to cultivate these principles the more effective we can be in expressing them in our relationships with others.
Let’s look below at the paired opposite to deepen our exploration of truthfulness. In which ways are we not honest with ourselves? Firstly, one of the things that have been coming up for me is a tendency to look for a distraction in a painful or uncomfortable moment. Secondly, I can imagine these distractions taking many forms. For example, behaviors may range from as simple as changing the subject to reaching for a drink to expressing rage.
There are infinite possibilities but as we become more aware we can hesitate and hold that “uncomfortable space.” Primarily, we can be honest with ourselves by allowing ourselves to feel what there is to be felt. For instance, imagine feeling a wave that you surrender to at the moment, feeling it in subtle ways. Later, practice consciously relaxing your resistance in the form of contractions in the body and distractions in the mind. Finally, make room for the feeling to express itself fully in your being.
This is a practice of awareness, compassion, honesty, and most certainly yoga. We all carry conditioned reactions based on our past, family, and society; to indulge in these conditioned reactions is to avoid reality.
Know the Triggers
We all have the opportunity to experience and express, more fully, the principle of truthfulness in our lives. Become familiar with the triggers that “set you off” and start to infuse a little space between the trigger and the reaction. Be courageous in your truth and be forgiving in your reactions. What we do not see is that holding onto these conditioned reactions consumes a tremendous amount of energy.
During your next yoga class develop the skills of truthfulness by learning to be more present with your body, mind, and breath. I wish you all great courage in practicing truthfulness on the mat and in your life this day in every way.
About the Author
Steve Jayanta Paquette was born in Nova Scotia and spent much of his childhood in Atlantic Canada. He has recently returned to Nova Scotia after living for 10 years in a yoga ashram where he studied the ancient practices of yoga and meditation. He lives in Yarmouth and shares mindfulness, meditation, and the discipline of yoga as moving prayer in studios, churches, and corporate settings around Atlantic Canada.