It is my hope that through my writing I may help heal, teach, and guide others on their spiritual journeys and in this life. Whatever our backgrounds, religious or not, we are all on the same journey. Though I may reference different philosophical schools, religions, and spiritual practices, I believe that under the surface they all provide paths for us to free ourselves from our sufferings and live a good and joyful life.
Yoga has become a very popular way to get a good workout in. Many go to stretch, sweat, and strengthen their muscles to burn off some calories and look good, especially in those tight-fitting yoga clothes. However, that is not what yoga is truly about. Practicing yoga is practicing a philosophy for life. Although the physical practice of yoga, the Asana practice, is the most popular and well-known, it is really just a very small part of yoga.
Practicing yoga is a holistic practice for body, mind, and soul; and the teachings and philosophy of yoga are guidelines for us to become aware, compassionate, kind, and good people in our lives both to ourselves and towards others. The word Yoga is related to the English words yoke, conjugal, and join. Through practicing all aspects of yoga, we can yoke our souls with all others and with the Divine. Fully practicing yoga involves:
Karma Yoga – the yoga of action and service.
Bhakti Yoga – the yoga of love and devotion.
Jnana Yoga – the yoga of knowledge and study.
Raja Yoga – the yoga of The Eight Limbs of Yoga:
- Yama (abstinence practices): a) Ahimsa (non-violence), b) Asteya (non-stealing), c) Satya (truthfulness), d) Brahmacharya (continence/control of desire), and e) Aparigraha (non-hoarding).
- Niyama (ethical observances): a) Saucha (purity/cleanliness), b) Samtosha (contentment), c) Tapas (austerity), d) Isvara Pranidhanam (surrender/devotion to God), and e) Svadyaya (self-study).
- Asana (posture practices)
- Pranayama (breathing practices)
- Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses)
- Dharana (concentration)
- Dhyana (meditation)
- Samadhi (absorption)