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The Why of Yoga

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Yoga was created to help human beings find optimum health. The system designed by the ancient yogis included eight limbs or parts and today in the West is called Ashtanga Yoga, with Ashta = 8 and Anga = Limbs.

 

These 8 Limbs consist of:

  1. Yama – our attitude towards our environment – social conduct

  2. Niyama – our attitude towards ourselves – personal behaviour

  3. Asana – the practice of mind/body exercises

  4. Pranayama – the control and expansion of vital energy or life-force

  5. Pratyahara – withdrawing the mind from the sensory organs

  6. Dharana – the ability to direct and concentrate our mind

  7. Dhyana – sustained concentration or meditation

  8. Samadhi – a profound sense of belonging in the universe, of oneness with the life-force

 

In practice it is actually quite simple:

  1. Adopt the Golden Rule of “treating others as you would like to be treated”.

  2. Keep yourself clean in body and mind. Avoid toxic food, people and situations.

  3. Practice yoga poses with sustained holds.

  4. Increase your capacity to breathe deeply, evenly and smoothly.

  5. From time to time, turn your attention inwards to give your mind a rest.

  6. Learn the skill of controlling your thoughts.

  7. Get proficient and change your brain wave patterns from Beta to Alpha or lower.

  8. Make life choices that incorporate simplicity and allow happiness to express itself through congruent living.

 

Everyone on the planet has 24 hours each day. Every decision you make as to what you do with these hours, takes you towards more health and happiness, or not, but it is a choice!

 

By adopting even some of the yoga guidelines, we get more out of life. By gradually becoming healthier and happier, we attract like minded people into our life, creating a positive and uplifting cycle of conscious living.

 

The human condition has not changed since ancient times. People still do stress for all the “normal” reasons: family, friends, financial, health, etc. One of the teachings of yoga is that “to change your world, you must first change yourself”. The yoga system of 8 Limbs is designed to give guidance and direction, but you are the decision maker.

 

If you are not happy with any aspect of your life, then change it. How? Go to a yoga class and pay attention to what the teacher has to say. You will learn something useful!

 

Written by James E. Bryan E.R.Y.T. 500 (Program Director)


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