Yoga is not just 60 / 120 minutes of making physical postures, indulging in power yoga and then weighing on the scale to attain that magical number or accomplishing an asana that twists the body like an elastic band. Yoga is a ‘Way of Life’ as described by Saint Patanjali in his Yog sutra.
During my rendeavouz with people in different age groups, a simple question ‘What is the meaning of Yoga’ ?generates similar replies, “It is Asana”, “Yoga is done to keep the body fit”. “It is mental and physical well being”. Well, all this does happen by embracing an aspect of Yoga i.e. physical workout, meditation, chanting etc. but that is just one aspect of Yoga!
As Patanjali writes in his Sutra, there are 8 limbs of Yoga or 8 disciplines of Yoga which constitute the higher purpose of Yoga:
Yama: ‘ Moral & Social Conduct’. Our moral conduct, sincerity, attitude towards family, friends and strangers.
What is the extended benefit of that 2 hour yoga session which makes us sweat, connects us to our breath but can’t give us endurance to accept simple challenges of daily life such as keeping calm in the traffic jams, or a check out queue in a Supermarket , off the yoga mat?
- Niyama: ‘ Discipline’ Our commitment to SELF! . I heard someone at a Yoga Conference stressing on Making Yoga as a part of our daily system like how we brush our teeth every morning. Doesn’t it come so natural to us, the minute we open our eyes to a new day. A dedicated 60 minutes regime might not be possible but of course, sneaking a 10 – 15 minute Yoga timeout from here n there is not that difficult. It could be as simple as 5- 10 minutes of deep breathing or just tuning into self.
- Asana: Need I say anything here! There are 100 asana which have been mentioned by Patanjali as conducive to be practised by human beings however 84 asana out of the 100 are followed in different forms of yogic practise.
4. Pranayama: ‘Breath Control’. Just the other day, I was reading about one of the most common reasons for us to fall sick. It is due to lack of proper supply of oxygen to our brain which propels more than half of the diseases in our systems. Ok, we don’t have the time and interest to join a Yoga class but deep breathing is no rocket science. It is just simple, mindful slow down of inhalation and exhalation. This is an interesting video on the simple, classic and evergreen Deep Breathing mantra for a healthy life.
5. Pratyahara: In plain words, ‘Sense Withdrawal’. Now, that’s something which doesn’t come easily :).. Our wardrobes are overflowing with clothes, shoes but still we have nothing to wear for a party! and now it so easy, with a click of a button, one can possess from a sewing thread to a luxury car. Just contemplating – What is the limit of ‘limit’? 6. Dharana: ‘Resolution / Promise’. Here, I am reminded of Salman Khan’s dialogue – “Ek baar maine commitment kardi to kardi” The famous promising and breaking of the new year resolutions! “Commitment karke to dekho!”
7. Dhyana : ‘Concentration / Meditation’ . More than half of the world is scared of shutting off all gadgets and just sitting there!. Actually, we are often too busy in adjusting our mind and body to getting into a Meditative State’. For the records, ‘Meditation happens to us’. Just a simple act of giving 100% to whatever we do, is meditation too!
8. Samadhi: ‘Union of body, mind & soul’. Seems like a long road to go! It takes time but if we start making small positive differences to our lives by the way of above purposes of yoga, the journey will be easy and enjoyable. Have you felt joyfulness for no reason at all?
Came across a beautiful rap by two Yoginis, rapping the 8 limbs of yoga in simple, soulful words. Worth a look!
I am a Yoga Enthusiast
Yoga with V
P.S. If in need of a yoga mat that is also eco-friendly? Check out the Best Eco-Friendly yoga mats.