"True happiness lies in the finding and maintenance of a natural harmony of spirit, mind and body." - Sri Aurobindo
Yoga has become a widespread phenomena in the world. In almost every city of every continent there are many yoga studios and centers offering different styles and approaches to this ancient wisdom and technique. Yoga is now a trend, a fashion, a culture.
Yoga classes take on many different emphases and forms. "yogaINperson" offers a practice that is based on the roots of yoga, using the breath as the center of the practice, cultivating mindfulness and calming the mind, as well as promoting physical health and balance.
The exact origin of yoga is unknown. There are references and mentions of the word "yoga" in old scriptures dating back 5000 years. Yoga is one of the Darśanas (Classical schools of thought of ancient India), it evolved along the centuries mainly through yogis experimenting on their own body-mind phenomena and sharing their experience, but also through philosophical dialogues with other schools of thought.
"yogaINperson" follows a yoga lineage based on "The Yoga Sutras", which dates back around 2300 years. It was presented by a yogi named Pattanjali. He collected all the accumulated knowledge of his time and organized it into a structured system which called this system ashtanga-yoga (ashtanga = "eight limbs"). It is essentially an eight-fold path to self-realization.
The text is constructed of "Sutras", which in Sanskrit translates as "threads". Each "Sutra" is carefully constructed in a short and condensed fashion in which every word is significant but at the same time gives space for interpretation and contemplation. This was a common way of writing scriptures in the old times of India when palm leaves did not last very long and knowledge had to be memorized and transferred orally from generation to generation, from teacher to disciple.
Yoga - meaning and styles
The word "yoga" has several different translations. The two most common are "union" and "liberation". It can be used as a noun or a verb, and can describe a technique, a philosophy or the goal to be reached. It is a multi-layered term that can be interpreted in various ways and can translate into different actions. Ancient India was a fertile ground for rich spiritual debates and contemplation. Different approaches to yoga sprouted and developed over the centuries, leading to the appearance of different schools and styles of yoga.
Yoga is not just about the "āsana" (yoga posture). A few examples of approaches to yoga are Raja-Yoga (yoga of mindfulness), Bhakti-Yoga (yoga of devotion and love), Mantra-Yoga (yoga of reciting or chanting), Laya-Yoga (also known as Kundalini yoga), Jñāna-yoga (yoga of knowledge or wisdom). However, the most commonly-practiced style today is Hatha-Yoga which is the physical expression of yoga using the body and breath as a tool to reach a higher state of consciousness.
The ashtanga yoga system that Pattanjali introduced, which laid the base for Raja-Yoga and Hatha-Yoga, makes yoga accessible to the novice by initially purifying intentions, thought patterns and actions (the first two limbs, yama and niyama). Then it goes on to calm the body and mind using different techniques such as yoga postures (āsana) and yogic breathing (prāṇāyāma), leading us to gradually withdraw our senses inwards (pratyāhāra). All of these prepare us for the deep internal practice of concentration and meditation (dhāraṇā and dhyāna), eventually reaching a state of complete absorption or yoga (samādhi).
These are the eight limbs of yoga. They are not meant to be practiced in any specific order but rather simultaneously, according to one's own capacity and intention.
Hatha-Vinyasa practice at "yogaINperson"
The style of Yoga practice taught here is simply called Hatha-Vinyasa. This is a breath-centered yoga practice which is a combination of movement and posture, breathing exercises, and meditation. The main tool of this practice is "vinyasa", or the creation of a link between breath and movement, which also creates a link between breath and mind. This technique has a calming effect on our nervous system and mind. Over time and persistence our attention will sharpen and we will start noticing the smallest of details, and experience longer glimpses into the ultimate state of freedom - living in the present moment.
By practicing yoga regularly, with patience and dedication, we are bound to develop awareness to the inner deepest layers of our being, realizing our true nature and our full potential to be happy and enjoy peace and harmony with the world around us.
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