By Kathi Duquette
How does Yoga philosophy fit into our world? While I am sure that the philosophy of yoga will vary according to who you speak to, my basic version can enhance your life. The simple philosophy of yoga can be applied even in our lives over 3000 years after yoga was documented. Yoga develops your mind and body’s energies to produce a happier and healthier lifestyle. My philosophy? Be good to yourself and share the good with others.
Open the Mind
People will have various versions of being good to themselves. Gifts, money; what is your version? What if we pay attention to physical and mental gifts we can give ourselves over and over? And what if these gifts can positively enhance our quality of life? Give yourself a gift: Have an open mind when you practice yoga, and let the healing begin. You may think you don’t need any healing, but if you live in today’s society – there is stress.
We know that stress relief is a massive benefit of practicing yoga. The physical poses combined with the breathing practice ensure that you focus on yourself for a while ~ allowing you to take a break from the turmoil of everyday life. This little break leaves you feeling relaxed and lighter.
Yoga Philosophy Today
What other advantages does the practice bring? How does Yoga philosophy fit into our world? Anger, frustration, and jealousy are all negative emotions that arise from stressful situations. We can get past the stress that promotes negative emotions and let the negativity go. Holding on to negativity is not suitable for anyone – physically or mentally.
Physically, yoga can reduce high blood pressure, relieve arthritis and fibromyalgia pain, increase respiratory health, and so on. Even if we don’t deal with any of the above, the physical aspects of yoga urge us to treat our bodies better. When we feel physically healthy, we can focus more on the advantages of the practice. Most people find they eat healthier and stay more active once starting a yoga practice.
‘Breathing’ during yoga practice is thought to bring ‘life force’ or ‘energy’ into our bodies. Hopefully, you know breathing is a natural reflex that supplies fresh oxygen to our bodies. While we can’t live without that breath it is essential to note that most people don’t breathe correctly. Upper chest breathing only utilizes part of our lungs. Breathing practices in yoga allow us to use our lungs in their entirety. Inhaling and exhaling deeply can release toxins we may be breathing in and holding onto daily.
Consciously breathing into our bodies is a practice that enables us to focus inside. That focus helps us to clearly see and feel which muscles hurt, or which thoughts hurt for that matter. We can then adjust a pose physically and let go mentally. The release is liberating.
When you start paying attention to yourself, I mean tuning in to how you feel physically and mentally; it is only natural to want to improve things. The clarity that yoga brings to your mind may allow you to see that you could be healthier by eliminating unhealthy habits or unfriendly character traits.
Forgiving One’s Self
Sometimes the most complicated person to forgive is yourself. The ‘be good to yourself’ attitude of yoga can help you to let go of old mistakes and move forward in your life. Everyone makes mistakes and deserves a chance to learn from those mistakes. We don’t need to dwell on the past; we need to acknowledge, learn and move forward with a positive mindset.
How does Yoga philosophy fit into our world? I often ask my students to let go of any negativity they hold on to at the end of any practice. During the resting pose, we allow our bodies to melt by relaxing our muscles. Our physical body absorbs all the strength and flexibility benefits. We then allow any negativity to release from our minds and our hearts. We breathe in all of the positive energy that we can. And it is therapeutic!
Being Good to Yourself
My yoga philosophy is: Practicing yoga promotes peace. When you slow down and tune in to yourself, you feel more confident, less stressed, more assertive, and free from negativity. It truly is being good to yourself; it is your gift to yourself. Take that feeling and share it with others. It is easier to be nice to people when you feel good, physically and mentally.
We need a lot more peace in this world. Practice yoga and pass the peace along to others.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center / Kathi Duquette – Publications Division
About By Kathi Duquette
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Yoga philosophy is traced back to early writings, the ancient Indian scriptures known as the Vedas. These scriptures contain the wisdom of the Vedic sages, who lived in India thousands of years ago. Later, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are written. The Yoga Sutras have become a core text of Yoga philosophy. They provide a framework for understanding the nature of reality and the path to liberation.
Five Elements of Existence
The Sutras state that there are five aggregates, or elements, of human existence: body, mind, intellect, ego, and consciousness. These elements interact with each other to produce our experience of reality. The first two aggregates, body, and mind are the grosser levels of existence. The following two, intellect and ego, are subtler levels. Finally, consciousness is the highest level.
Consciousness is what we truly are: infinite, eternal beings of pure awareness. However, we often identify with the lower levels of existence – body, mind, intellect, and ego – which leads to suffering. By practicing Yoga, which includes physical postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), meditation (dhyana), and sound vibrational techniques (mantra) – we can purify and calm the mind, intellect, and ego. This allows us to experience our true nature as pure consciousness.
Purpose of Yoga
Since ancient times, yoga has been practiced to physically and mentally connect with the world around us. The original purpose of yoga was to help people live in harmony with nature. This is still the goal of many modern yogis, but some feel that the philosophy of yoga does not fit into our world today. The most basic purpose of yoga is to quiet the mind and allow the practitioner to focus inward. In our fast-paced, constantly-connected world, this can be a challenging feat. However, the benefits of a regular yoga practice are well worth the effort.
The mainstay of yoga philosophy is the principle of ahimsa, which means non-harming. This principle is at the heart of all yoga practices, whether physical, mental, or spiritual. The goal of ahimsa is to live in a way that causes the least harm to ourselves and others. In our fast-paced, ever-changing world, it can be difficult to live by the principle of ahimsa. We are constantly bombarded with stimuli that can lead to stress and conflict.
Getting caught up in negativity and forgetting about the bigger picture can be easy. However, if we take a step back and remember the goal of ahimsa, we can begin to make changes in our lives that will help us to find peace and balance. We can start by being more mindful of our words and actions and trying to see the best in others. When we act from a place of love and compassion, we can create a ripple effect that will touch everyone around us.
Breath in Yoga Philosophy
When we are born, we take our first breath. From that moment on, our breath is always with us, yet we often take it for granted. We go about our lives without paying attention to our breathing unless we get winded from exertion or have trouble catching our breath. However, breath awareness is integral to yoga philosophy and can be a powerful tool for managing stress and promoting relaxation.
Training the Mind and Body
We can better understand our thoughts and emotions when we focus on our breath. This can help us to control our reactions to stressful situations and make better choices in how we respond to the world around us. Breath awareness also helps us connect with our bodies and overall well-being. When we pay attention to our breathing, we are more likely to notice something that doesn’t feel right physically or emotionally.
Yoga philosophy teaches that the breath is the link between the body and mind. When we know our breathing, we can also be aware of the thoughts and emotions running through our minds. This awareness helps us control our reactions to the world and make better choices in responding to stressful situations. Breath awareness is integral to yoga philosophy and can be a powerful tool for managing stress and promoting relaxation.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division