Yoga – A traditional introduction

Yoga - A Traditional Introduction

1. One of the earliest Yoga texts is Yoga Yajnavalkya, a dialogue between Sage Yajnavalkya and Sage Gargi.

2. Yoga, like any other science, has reference texts for processes as well as guiding principles. The most referred Yoga processes texts are Gheranda Samhita, Siva Samhita, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Hatha Ratnavali, etc., and the guiding principles are outlined in Patanjali Yoga Sutras and the crown jewel, Bhagavad Gita. In none of these texts, Yoga means ‘only postures‘. Today, mostly, Yoga is being construed as a set of physical movements and at best practiced as a form of exercise. If some physical benefits are obtained by the practice of Yoga, it is incidental. The practice of Yoga, gradually, in the long run, brings or should bring about a sense of heightened awareness.

3. Any process done with complete awareness (of mind and body) comes under the umbrella of Yoga. It is the awareness that facilitates understanding and defines the very purpose of any process. Without awareness, any process tends to become mechanical and feeds our emotions thereby resulting in inferiority or superiority complexes. Thus the terms ‘Yoga‘ and ‘awareness‘ are inseparable.

4. Various Yoga styles have taken to an ideology and lifestyle aspired by their respective founders. As per Indian traditional wisdom, any system that doesn’t provide an integral perspective of life has to be approached with concern. If any Yoga style ignores this fundamental principle and focuses on one aspect i.e. only postures or only meditation, then the aspirant or practitioner needs to check with themselves whether it is what they are looking out for.

5. Yoga processes, in the tradition, were customized to the age, need, stage of life, lifestyle, and environment that one lives in. For example… most of us are aware that Pranayama is one of the great Yoga processes. Though we may know this fact and also learn to perform it, we cannot practice all the Pranayama processes amidst city pollution. If done so, it turns counterproductive. Thus, it is a non-negotiable need to customize it to the location that we live in.

6. Depending on our needs, level of understanding, and practice, the definition of Yoga changes.

The meaning of Yoga is impregnated in its root, ‘Yuj‘ i.e. to unite. The collapsing of the wall between the individual soul and the universal soul is termed ‘real‘ Yoga. Swami Vivekananda, in his lucid translation of Patanjali Yoga Sutras (aphorism 28), states, “By the practice of the different parts of Yoga the impurities being destroyed, Knowledge becomes effulgent up to discrimination”.

7. The different parts of Yoga are Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. It is at the highest levels of Samadhi, one realizes the ‘real Yoga‘. To hasten the process of ‘real Yoga’ our tradition, apart from these different parts of Yoga, have left behind a wealth of scriptures like the Upanishads and the Gita as well as practical processes like Mudra, Bandha, Kriya, Mantra, etc., We will get a glimpse into all these invaluable scriptures and processes at Shrimath Yoga.

8. At Shrimath Yoga, we strive to provide an integrated view of Yoga that enables proper assimilation of Yoga processes thereby assisting each and every participant to benefit spiritually, therapeutically, intellectually, and emotionally. As we get older, the mind and body need a therapeutic touch in any activity. We take you through a structured, customized, and easy-to-understand method that is all-encompassing and allows you to experience peace and happiness, here and now…

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