September 17, 2019 |
Read Time: 4 minutes
Yoga is the coming together or union of one individual self with the Supreme self at the spiritual level. Yoga is being in the present and becoming aware of the present moment. Yoga is the union of our thoughts, actions and emotions. Yoga is also the attainment of what was previously unattainable. These all are the various ways of describing Yoga.
Yoga is a way of life which is the need of the hour. Yoga is not for a selected few but a universal path which anyone and everyone can tread on. There are no prerequisites required for the practice or study of Yoga. We can start Yoga from wherever and however we are, and it takes each one of us on a unique journey. Yoga doesn’t dictate any rules like one has to be a vegetarian or a nonsmoker to take up Yoga. One might give up the habit of smoking once he or she begins Yoga practice. But such change in behaviour comes on its own accord and is not a pre-condition for Yoga.
Yoga is a holistic practice which encompasses our body, breath, mind and then over a period of time seeks to move us towards a spiritual pursuit if one shows an inclination in that direction. Yoga is not just about asanas or physical postures. Asana is but only one of the eight limbs of Yoga. Yoga asanas seek to remove the blockages and impurities at the body level so that the body can operate at 100% potential. The pranayama aspect of Yoga again is just one of the limbs of Yoga. It seeks to extend and regulate our breath so that the prana or the life force is concentrated inside our body. Pranayama also eliminates the physical and mental obstacles in us. Dhyana or meditation is one more limb of Yoga which results in a complete stability and calmness of the mind where in the mind becomes capable of an extremely high level of attention and concentration.
Yama and Niyama limbs of Yoga underpin the entire Yoga journey and seek to bring harmony and balance in our behaviour and makes our Yoga practice more effective.
The dharana limb of Yoga is an essential prerequisite for Dhyana or meditation and the Samadhi limb of Yoga succeeds Shyana. Samadhi is the final stage where the goal of Yoga of merging completely with the object of meditation is achieved.
Yoga is an integration of all these aspects and works at various levels to take the practitioner towards a calm and serene state. Yoga is not an esoteric practice limited to a few but rather is a practice open to everyone at any stage in life. Yoga practice brings in a heightened level of clarity and awareness leading to a positive energy.
To quote B K S Iyengar, “Yoga allows you to find a new kind of freedom that you may not have known even existed.”