Introduction to The Benefits of Yoga

Today begins a series on the benefits of yoga.  I am kicking this series off here on Espirational as well as on Facebook Live. I will begin by giving a bit of background on the practice of yoga here.  Then please join me at  10:00 AM Central Time at https://www.facebook.com/espirational/ for my yoga story — up close and personal.  You can even ask questions if you like.

Let me start by saying that yoga is not just another form of physical exercise.  If you are in a fitness based yoga practice I invite you to explore a little into the deeper teachings of yoga.

Yoga comes from a sanskrit word meaning to yoke, to join, or union.  It is an ancient practice that actually predates Hinduism.  It is not a religion.  Yoga is passed on from teacher to student.  This is why your yoga teacher may mention teachers in their lineage and their teachers lineage.

The physical postures are only one of the 8 Limbs of Yoga.  This is a brief summary of the 8 Limbs of Yoga.

Yama :  Universal morality (outer observances)  There are 5 Yamas.

Ahimsa: Non-violence

Satya: Truthfulness 

Asteya: Non-stealing

Brahmacharya: Continence (concerns non-productive use of energy)

Aparigraha: Non-possessiveness, non-hoarding

Niyama :  Inner observances  There are 5 Niyamas

Saucha or shaucha: Purity or cleanliness. 

Santosha: Contentment. 

Tapas: Disclipline, intense committment

Svadhyaya: The study of one’s self

Ishvara Pranidhana: Surrendering to God

Asana:  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 are a pathway that leads to physical, ethical, emotional, and psycho-spiritual health. Yoga does not change us, it simply allows the total health and integration that are our natural state to come forth.

There are a variety of types and styles of yoga being taught throughout the world.  There is no one size fits all yoga practice that will work for everyone.  Some of the styles you may encounter range from the more rigorous Astanga, Bikram, or Vinyasa to the basic postures or Hatha to the calmer, more relaxing Restorative or Yin to the blending of spiritual and physical practices in Kundalini as well as many other styles there is something that will meet your needs.  Keep looking if your first try just doesn’t work for you.

I strive daily to follow the yogic path.  Want to here my story?  Meet me on Facebook live at 10 AM.  It will be available to watch later if you don’t catch it live.

 

Resources:

http://www.americanyogaassociation.org/general.html

http://www.expressionsofspirit.com/yoga/eight-limbs.htm

http://www.yogasense.net/yamas.html

http://www.melissawest.com/225/

http://www.melissawest.com/bicycles-and-the-yamas-and-niyamas-ethical-considerations-of-yoga/

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