Thursday, July 2, 2009

What Is Yoga?

Yoga means 'Oneness' and constitutes the essence of every possible religion, the gist of every creed and the core of every spiritual path. 

In ancient India, yoga was practised by such sages as Shiva, Rama, Krishna and Vyasa. What Krishna teaches Arjuna is not Krishnaism, but just Yoga! The root of Jainism is Yoga, since Mahavira practised Hatha Yoga. Jesus Christ even carried out a lengthy pilgrimage with the purpose of studying yoga. Gautama Buddha studied Yoga throughout his life. Bodhidharma brought Buddha's raja yoga from India to China. 

In the Middle East countries this practice is known as SUFA or ZUF (hbr).
As the Bible teaches, such men as Samuel or David the prophets, were related to the sufi school (rish).

In Tibet, people do not call themselves the Buddhists but the yoga practitioners. Padmasambhava is a yogi as well. 

Yoga comes from connecting to God, just as the word religion means in a western context. There are many schools or even called sampradajas with different forms of yoga. 
All teachings guide an embodied spirit in a (non)-personal relationship to God. The supreme godhead resides in every being in its heart. 

The native yoga-paths are a part of the vedic-culture we refer to today as hinduism, but the real importance of vedic culture seems to be that it has enabled native yoga-paths to stay in the Indian sub-continent unchanged longer than they have in other locations. It seems as if these philosophies were once known all over the world. 

Eight Stages of Yoga

The following are the eight stages in Yoga, known as 'Ashtanga Yoga'. One needs to practice and master each of these eight stages in order to reunite with the divine energy in the universe.

Yama: These are eternal, universal moral commandments. Perpetual Yama curbs the tendency toward violence and possessiveness. It inspires truthfulness, purity, conscience, trustworthiness, goodness and honesty.

Niyama: This is the restraint of the mind by means of its own rules and regulations. It is self-purification through discipline, self-contentment, self-study and above all, the surrender of the self to God. It is also the study of scripts and holy texts.

Asanas: These are body postures, which develop inner awareness and aid in calming the mind.

Pranayama: This is the rhythmic control, prolongation and restraint of the breath. Its aim is to discover a subtle psychic force or a subtle cosmic element.

Pratyahara: This entails control of the senses of the human body. It is important to give up all emotions, sentiments and pleasures. The mind must be completely withdrawn from external attractions and objects.

Dharana: This is the Sanskrit word for "to hold". It is an intense, deep concentration which enhances the selected mental state. 

Dhyana: This is meditation, contemplation and poised awareness.

Samadhi: Profound Meditation leads to a state of superconsciousness. This state is called Samadhi. It is the union of the individual aspirant (Sadhaka) with the object of his meditation Paramatma or the Supreme Universal Spirit - the all pervasive truth.

This is sometimes referred to as your potential or destiny. Living up to attributes of this number may not be easy, but it is your goal in the here and now. It is your life's purpose, spiritual mission, and your field of opportunity.

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