Yoga as a system of self-improvement consists of many components, including yoga for beginners, asanas (exercises), pranayama (breathing practices), shatkarmas (cleansing techniques), mantras, meditations, vegetarianism and much more. For us, yoga is not just a technique and practice, it is a way of life, connected also with profound philosophical and moral concepts, with Vedic culture and reincarnation. This section will help you to find out what Yoga is and how to deal with it.
What is yoga
Every day on our planet yoga is becoming more popular, more and more people are beginning to be interested in activities on the rug. Almost everyone has ever heard a mysterious and mysterious word – Yoga. More and more celebrities in the USA practice exercises – asanas and recommend them to their admirers.
However, not everyone knows that yoga is not just an exercise for developing flexibility, restoring health and peace of mind, but a deep and wise system of self-improvement, which is not only a physiology, but also a spiritual component.
Eight steps of yoga
According to the ancient treatise “Yoga Sutras of Patanjali”, in which everything is considered in detail about hatha yoga, there are 8 steps:
- The pit is an ethical-moral basis.
- Niyama are methods of selflessness and self-discipline.
- Asana is physical exercise.
- Pranayama is a breathing technique.
- Pratyahara is the curbing of one’s feelings.
- Dharana is the deep concentration of one’s consciousness on an object.
- Dhyana is a meditation that comes as a result of Dharana and is accompanied by a soothing consciousness.
- Samadhi is a state of consciousness, usually caused by deep meditation, in which the human ego’s bonds are weakened, and the inner microcosm merges with the outer “cosmic Absolute”.
Where to start yoga classes
There are two classical opinions as to why it is better to start yoga classes, they are described in competent and ancient sources and that is why they are classical.
The first of them says that you first need to master two spiritual and moral degrees – Yamu and Niyama.
The pit is an ethical stage:
- Ahimsa – the rejection of violence, this point can certainly be attributed also to vegetarianism.
- Satya is truthfulness both to others and to himself in his thoughts.
- Asteya – nerovorstvo or the alienation of others.
- Brahmacharya is the abstention from sensual pleasures, lusts and passions.
- Aparigraha – non-attachment to material goods, non-accumulation of things, non-possession.
Niyama contains spiritual asceticism and consists of:
- Shaucha is purification of mind and body, cleanliness.
- Santosha – positive thinking, acceptance of both negative and positive events and equal treatment of them. Satisfaction with his position.
- Tapas – Ascesis, self-discipline and regular practice, tapasya.
- Swadhyaya – self-study and knowledge of spiritual literature.
- Ishvara-pranidhana – the dedication of their merits to the Almighty, the development of altruistic qualities in oneself.
Proper nutrition. Vegetarianism.
Having completed several shatkarmas, such as shankaprakshalana, it is much easier to switch to adequate nutrition, which promotes yoga practice – vegetarianism.
At the moment, all the myths about the fact that vegetarianism carries a certain threat to health have long been debunked. More than 1 billion people on our planet live without meat without any problems and have not even heard about the notorious vitamin B12 deficiency.
In the World Health Organization, in a recent report of October 26, 2015, 22 experts from 10 countries of the world presented the results of 800 scientific researches, according to which meat products were recognized as carcinogens, directly affecting the development of cancer in humans.
Vegetarianism or more trendy now direction – veganism, is very popular in the west. has obvious health benefits, which can be noticed quickly enough by switching to proper nutrition. Famous actors and actresses, singers and singers, directors, bodybuilders, well-known politicians and many other figures of our time advocate a healthy way of life, which you can start with your food. Here is just a short list of famous vegetarians of the present: Uma Thurman, Tobey Maguire, Richard Gere, Paul McCartney, Natalie Portman, musician Moby, formerly known boxer Mike Tyson, Kim Basinger, Jim Carrey, Demi Moore, Brad Pitt, Alicia Silverstone, Olga Shelest , Nikolay Drozdov, Mikhail Zadornov, Alexei Voevoda and many others, the list can be continued for a very long time.
“How can you hope that peace and prosperity will reign on earth if our bodies are living tombs in which dead animals are buried ?!”, so the famous Russian writer Leo Tolstoy said, seeing the surrounding reality.
However, if you have been eating meat for a long time or throughout your whole life, you should carefully switch to non-nutritious food, because you can not eat meat. A sharp change in diet can lead to a deterioration of well-being.
Recommendations on doing yoga
Practicing shatkarms, gradually changing their diet, improving in the pit and niyama, learning all about hatha yoga, it is much easier to practice exercises – asanas. After all, the body, according to the experience of many beginner practitioners, becomes more flexible and capable of withstanding heavy loads. By combining these instructions, performing them in parallel can achieve much greater success in practice.
Gradually starting to engage in asanas, following the recommendations described above, it is important to adhere to several basic principles:
- From simple to complex – a gradual increase in the load, the performance of asanas in simple variations, depending on the level of flexibility.
- Asceticism – during the practice of asanas, in the extreme version of the exercise, there should be permissible discomfort. The total load should not exceed 70% of the maximum possible. This will protect the body from injury.
- Regularity of practice is abhyasa. Whatever efforts the practitioner is making, one must try to make the practice regular. Perhaps, the most important principle for people engaged in yoga in society.
- Concentration on the practice of yoga – in order to achieve this, you can use the account to yourself, stretching the breath on inhaling and exhaling. You can also close your eyes in simple exercises, thereby increasing concentration.
- Performing inverted asanas after the main set of exercises – so energy rushes to higher energy centers.
- If possible, the lesson should last from one hour or more. Usually the complex of exercises lasts from 1.5 to 2 hours.
The purposes of yoga
The main goal of yoga, according to classical texts, is the attainment of mukti or moksha.
Moksha is liberation from samsara, a cycle of births and deaths, or, if we use Buddhist terminology, the attainment of Nirvana.
However, there are alternative opinions, the most important of which, according to the teachings of the Buddha of the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions, is that the goal of the development of living beings is the attainment of enlightenment (Bodhi) – the state of the Buddha. It is impossible to describe this state. it is acintya. Achintya is something that can not be understood with the help of the mind, intelligence and intellect. However, following the path of the Bodhisattva and developing in itself in six perfections – paramitas, everyone can become a Buddha, but this can not take one life. Nevertheless, as the Buddha himself said, giving predictions in the Sadharmapundarikasutra, everyone can come to enlightenment – Anuttara samyak sambodhi.
Objectives of doing yoga exercises
One of the main goals that practitioners of asanas have put forward for a long time is to achieve a sustainable position, with crossed legs with a straight back and stay in it for a long time. These positions are called – meditative asanas, such as padmasana – lotus pose, ardhapadmasana, sidhasana, vajrasana and others.
For modern yogis living a social life, gradually learning everything about yoga – asanas acquire special importance, because of their specific influence on thin shells and energy channels – nadi. Performing these or those asanas there is a purification of thin bodies and shells, the mind is cleared, consciousness is balanced. This is due to austerity, which arises in practice and that is why discomfort during yoga is extremely necessary.
Pranayama and meditation
“Having hardened in asana, gaining control over your body and taking a balanced diet, practice pranayama according to the instructions of the guru.”
So says the first sloka of the second chapter of one of the main classical yoga texts – Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
Having achieved the opportunity for a long time to stay in a meditative position, taking good food, you can gradually master breathing techniques.
The main task of pranayama is to accumulate energy, to purify and calm the mind. This is achieved through regular practice and gaining control over the prana in the subtle body of man.
However, it is necessary to be more careful with breathing techniques. they have contra-indications both from the point of view of physiology, and readiness of the person practicing yoga to the energies with which he can collide.
Meditation is a deep concentration accompanied by calming the mind. Pranayama directly affects a person’s ability to meditate, the deeper the breath, the more relaxed, the more concentrated the mind is practice.
The sage of Swatmarama in Hatha Yoga Pradipika says that while the prana in the subtle body moves – the citta (mental force) also moves and vice versa. In other words, without success in breathing techniques, it will be difficult to calm your mind and redirect your attention to the right point of consciousness or space.
There are a large number of meditations, degrees of their effectiveness and impact. The most famous of them is a trataka. Very often a trataka is called a meditation for beginners, but the effects that it can give to a practitioner of it can make you think about the need for its regular execution. This purifying technique and concurrently meditative practice is capable of raising the general level of energy and concentrating it in Agya chakra (Ajna chakra), which in turn reveals the ability of subtle material perception and the ability to realize serious vital tasks. That is why these methods are considered secret, in view of their ability to harm both the practitioner and the surrounding people.
Meditation, at the expense of akeza and concentration, is able to produce universal life energy – tapas. Tapas is the “currency” by which the yogi achieves a successful rebirth in the next lives. From how much a man tapas in his “karmic bank” directly depends on, how he lives and will live in the future.
However, in order to get this universal “currency” it is not enough to know everything about yoga and meditation and to practice regularly. The whole truth about yoga is that tapas can only be obtained by giving out any knowledge and helping people in their spiritual self-improvement. Not everyone is able to carry knowledge, but most have the time, these or those abilities and professions that can be channeled into the channel of helping living beings.
Karma and reincarnation. The philosophy of yoga.
Two fundamental concepts in the philosophy of yoga are Prakriti and Purusha, the material and spiritual components.
Prakriti is a causal matter, which is essentially all that we see, hear and touch, the whole universe that surrounds us.
However, the existence of the universe is impossible without the Purusha – the spiritual beginning of everything, just when the Purusha merges with Prakriti, the universe is formed, due to the beginning of the interaction of the three modes of material nature. Gunas are the three elements or properties that make up the material world: sattva (goodness, peace), rajas (passion, movement), tamas (ignorance). No living being is free from the influence of these elements, be it a person or a god (demigods).
Taking a great interest in the material world, a person forms his karma – a cause-and-effect relationship, due to attraction to some forms of prakriti.
Karma are both positive and negative actions that affect the subsequent reincarnation of people in this or that world. Having committed any negative act, a person will be obliged to survive the fruits of this act on himself in the future, but not everything is as fatal as it may seem at first glance. Yoga is the tool that can minimize the consequences caused by karmic actions. Retribution can be experienced to a much lesser degree, if, realizing their wrongness, make an effort to practice hatha yoga and experience penance during the performance of certain exercises. Thus, a person is able to survive the negative situation in a much easier version, staying in peace and the mode of goodness – sattva.
Reincarnation, formed by human karma, is an important component in understanding the worldview of yoga. For Hindus and many other nations, including early Christianity, the concept of reincarnation is an absolutely natural process of the rebirth and development of the soul in the material world.
All about yoga: books and primary sources
The primary sources of yoga are not limited to three texts, there are a large number of legends that have survived to this day. To all who are engaged in self-development, they will certainly be extremely useful and interesting:
- Mahabharata – the story of the great battle between the Pandavas and the Kauravas, about good and evil, about courage and courage, about Dharma and ignorance. Krsna, the incarnation of God Vishnu is one of the main characters in this scripture and conveys to the devoted disciple of Arjuna the universal truths.
- Ramayana is a story about the prince Rama, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who is fighting the demon Ravana. Deeply touched are the important components of the Dharma and human life.
- Yoga-Vasishtha is one of the basic texts of yoga philosophy, which tells of the conversations of the wise men gathered in the palace of Rama. The sage Vasishtha answers the questions that arise in Rama.
Types of yoga
Yoga consists not only of moral steps and different practical techniques. Like a lake, into which many streams flow, yoga absorbs various types and directions:
- Karma Yoga – the performance of prescribed duties in accordance with their abilities and abilities. Execution of his Dharma, a duty to the Gods and Ancestors. An important component in karma yoga is non-attachment to the fruits of one’s actions – akarma. Every action, even if it bears a good, committed with selfish ends, is slavery, a bond that holds man in this world.
- Bhakti yoga is the sincere cultivation of love, devotion and service to God or the cosmic absolute. One of the important components of this type of yoga is atma-nivedana, an offering of all actions and thoughts to God. Regular chanting of the mantra Om will also be a practice of bhakti-yoga, since Om is the embodiment of the divine in sound.
- Jnana yoga (jnana-yoga, jnana-yoga) is the path of self-knowledge, in which a greater emphasis is placed on eliminating ignorance-avidya through the education of the mind by different methods. However, jnana is not only the accumulation of various yogic knowledge, but also introspection and various types of meditation. This concept can also include the concept of sanity – bringing three criteria of truth to a single whole – sabda (the opinion of a competent person or deity), sastra (spiritual writings) and sadhu (personal experience, practice).
- Raja-yoga is what is now considered to be classical yoga, based on the eight-step yoga of Patanjali (ashtanga vinyasa). Raja is royal, because it is aimed at curbing the mind-chitta-vrtti-nirodhah, through different asanas, pranayam and meditations.
In order for self-improvement not to be one-sided, one should not give preference to any one of these types of yoga, self-development will be more complete and harmonious if all these methods are applied in parallel, then the advancement in self-knowledge will be more successful.
Styles of yoga
The 20th century was marked by a rapid increase in the popularity of yoga all over the world. Many styles and directions began to appear, which already number more than 40. The most significant contribution to the popularization of yoga in the west and all over the world was made by two disciples of Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya – Sri Pattabhi Joyce and Sri Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar, better known as BK FROM. Iyengar.
They were based on two areas:
- Ashtanga-vinyasa yoga (Sri Pattabhi Joyce) is a style based on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the main component of which is a fairly dynamic practice with asanas flowing from one to the other through vinyasas (binding exercises with breath control). During the classes, attention is also paid to bandhams (power locks), drishti (concentration of attention on a part of the body or space) and to the various levels of complexity of the selected asan sequences.
- Iyengar Yoga is a style based on a detailed and detailed detachment and mastery of each asana, moving from simple to more complex. During classes, as a rule, various auxiliary items are used: straps, bricks, pillows, rollers and other. Each asana is given a sufficiently large amount of time.