Yoga: The Art of Life
Yoga is a way of life, a conscious act and not a set or series of learning principles. The dexterity, grace, and poise you cultivate as a matter of course is the natural outcome of regular practice.
The word yoga is derived from the sanskrit root ‘yujir yogey’ meaning to unite, to yoke, to join or to put together. Yoga is not about mind over body but about developing harmony between them. In yoga you use your mind to perceive (diagnose) and guide (heal) your body, never to control, let alone force it! It means uniting the energies lying dormant in our lower chakra with the highest energies present in the sahasrar or crown chakra. This energy is called ‘kundalini’ or the serpent power; it has to be awakened and once it uncoils it moves upwards towards the sahasrar chakra which is said to be the seat of Shiva or the higher consciousness.
Yoga is an old science – its teachings originating from Shiva the main deity and preceptor of yoga. Shiva taught his disciple and consort Parvati, the secrets of tantra and yoga. A hundred and eighteen secrets or sutras were revealed by Shiva to Parvati. With time it was passed on from master to disciple.
Around 5000 years ago this knowledge was again imparted – not in a gurukul – but on the battle field. In the epic Mahabharata, Lord Krishna imparted the teachings of yoga to his despondent student Arjuna. Around 1500 years later, another sage Patanjali went on to enunciate, for the benefit of humankind and eternity, the way to reach the summum bonum of life through a series of 195 aphorisms (sutras) in his epic treatise ‘The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali’. He organized the knowledge of yoga into an orderly system for the benefit of all humanity. These 195 sanskrit verses have summed up the complete system for the seeker. Rishi Patanjali gave the right definitions and laid down the principles to be meticulously followed in order to achieve great results in a short time.
Yoga is for the body, mind and spirit. You learn to use your body, breath and mind to stretch, relax and energize yourself.
Yoga is a way of life, a conscious act and not a set or series of learning principles. The dexterity, grace, and poise you cultivate as a matter of course is the natural outcome of regular practice. You require no major effort. In fact trying hard will turn your practice into a humdrum, even painful or injurious routine and will eventually slow down your progress. Subsequently and interestingly, the therapeutic effect of yoga is the direct result of involving the mind totally in inspiring (breathing) the body to awaken. One should be gentle and poised. There should be an easy flow to your movements especially while moving from one asana to another; there should be no jerks. Be poised, calm and balanced in mind when holding an asan.
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