Yoga Exercises can be part of your everyday life. Yoga can be fun, it can be serious, it is for all ages, it is for all abilities. Yoga has been bringing health and peace of mind to millions of people for five millennia-and it can do the same for you. Yoga includes physical, postural exercises that help you become or stay fit and trim, control your weight, and reduce your stress level. Yoga also incorporates a plethora of meditation practices, including breathing techniques that help use your lungs to their full capacity. They calm your nervous system or charge your brain and the rest of your body with energy.
Let us start with
The Stages of Yoga
“The right means are equally as important as the end result”. Patanjali counts these means as the eight limbs or stages of Yoga in the pursuit of the soul.
1. Yama (universal moral teachings)
2. Asana (posture)
3. Niyama (using discipline for self-purification)
4. Pranayama (rhythmic control of your breathing)
5. Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses to emancipate the mind from the mastery of the senses and outside influences)
6. Dharana (concentration)
7. Dhyana (meditation)
8. Samadhi (a state of super-consciousness produced by deep mediation, whereby the individual hopeful (sadhaka) becomes one with the object of his meditation (Paramatma or the Universal Spirit))
The first three stages are the external quests (bahiranga sadhana)
Yama and Niyama moderate the student’s desires and emotions and keep him/her in harmony with his fellow human being.
Asanas keep the physical body healthy and strong in harmony with nature. Finally, the student becomes detached from body consciousness. He conquers the body and delivers it as a suitable vessel for the soul.
The next two stages are inner quests (antaranga sadhana)
They are Pranayama and Pratyahara which instruct the student to control the breathing and then master the mind. This helps to free the senses from the thraldom of the objects of desire.
Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi take the Yogi into the innermost recesses of his soul. The Yogi does not look heavenward to find God. He knows that HE is within, being known as the Antaratma (the Inner Self).
The last three stages keep him in harmony with himself and his maker. These stages are called antaratma sadhana, the quest of the soul.
Yoga Exercises, postures, and positions incorporated the above methods in varying degrees and combinations starting with novice classes, then intermediate, then advanced. You find your own pace, your own level, your own well being.
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