My God and Yoga

Yoga has always been for me stretches and strengthening exercises since I have never been a sporty person since young. It is one exercise which I can do at my own pace, guided or not, without being self conscientious. However, few Christian friends have been against it, telling me that by doing yoga, I am really going against our Christian faith since Yoga started off from a snake. Boy aren’t they right, sort of…

As I dive into the depth of the YTT course trying to understand the forgotten language, the workings of the extreme asanas and the sutras written by the great sage, I realised there are some similarities that I may be able to come to terms with.

Pantajali defined The Eight Limbs of Yoga are basically guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. These guidelines include 1)Yama, 2) Niyama, 3) Asana, 4) Pranayama, 
5) Pratyahara, 6) Dhrana, 7) Dhyrana, 8) Samadhi.

Yama is the pretty much self restraint that one must posses if he or she wishes to attain liberation, or receive the highest knowledge. There are different ways we can self restrain: Ahimsa (restraint from violence), (Setya) restraint from falsehood, Asteya (restraint from stealing), Bramacharya (restraint from incontinence) and finally Aparigraha (restraint from possessiveness).

Niyamas on the other hand intend to build our character by 1) Saucha (seeking to remove bad habits in the mind, body and speech), 2) Santosha (being happy with ourselves), 3) tapas (exercising discipline), 4) Svadhyaya (self evaluation) and 5) Isvara Pranidha (surrendering to higher power).

To me these are similar to the ten commandments that God has passed down to Moses; a set of rules that Christians have to heed.

Yama Ten Commandments
Ahimsa Thou shall not murder
Setya Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbour
Asteya  Thou shall not steal
Bramacharya Thou shall not commit adultery
Aparigaha Thou shall not covet
Santosha Thou shall not covet
Isvara pranidha Thou shall have no other God before me

I may not be able to attain higher knowledge through meditating quietly, since my teacher has clearly told me about my rajasic disposition. However I have come to understand that Yoga is not just about staying in my kakasana for one minute (which seems to be impossible in a million years). Yoga is more about treating everyone including myself with kindness, gentleness, patience, goodness, self control and above all with love.