While Yoga is becoming more and more popular, it is becoming increasingly difficult to understand what true Yoga is all about. Many variations of Yoga with lot of different names have sprouted, exploiting the psychological needs of self-esteem by projecting Yoga as a tool to achieve only physical perfection. Whereas when you understand true Yoga, you realize that Yoga is a way of life. It’s not something you “do” to only look good but how you live and reach a balance of Body Mind and Spirit and reconnect yourself with the source and in the process maintain your physical body as well. Yoga helps us to realize that we are eternal spirit souls, that all other living entities are also eternal spirit souls, and that we are all connected by a common relationship with the divine, the Supreme, who is referred by different names based on individual faith.
The big question of “Who am I?” becomes clear when we understand that there are changeable and unchangeable aspects of our being. Through an introduction to yoga philosophy and its view of our essential nature, a seeker can begin to understand what is meant by “connecting to our true Self,” the unchangeable aspect of our being. The practice of yoga is an art and science dedicated to creating union between Body, Mind and Spirit. Its objective is to assist the practitioner in using the breath and body to foster an awareness of ourselves as individualized beings intimately connected to the unified whole of creation. In short it is about making balance and creating equanimity so as to live in peace, good health and harmony with the greater whole.
In Yoga Sutras, Patanjali describes the inner workings of the Mind and provides an eight-step blueprint for controlling its restlessness so as to enjoying lasting peace. The core of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra is an eight-limbed path that forms the structural framework for yoga practice. Each limb is part of a holistic focus which eventually brings completeness to the individual as they find their connectivity to the divine. The Eight Limbs, or steps to yoga, are
- Yama : Universal morality
- Niyama : Personal observances
- Asanas : Body postures
- Pranayama : Breathing exercises, and control of Prana
- Pratyahara : Control of the senses
- Dharana : Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness
- Dhyana : Devotion, Meditation on the Divine
- Samadhi : Union with the Divine
These eight steps of yoga indicate a logical pathway that leads to the attainment of physical, ethical, emotional, and psycho-spiritual health. Yoga does not seek to change the individual; rather, it allows the natural state of total health and integration in each of us to become a reality. "Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between us and nature”.
It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with life in a better manner. "Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; and harmony. It is a holistic approach to health and wellbeing."