Look around, yoga is everywhere, beyond asanas and mediation. It starts from your thoughts, an idea in your mind, which eventually forms an intention, translating to actions. Practicing yoga serves as a good reminder to all to be a better human, to be in harmony with yourself, others and connect with the greater being and hopefully (if you’re accumulate enough good Karma) to become enlightened. Enlightenment, the ultimate destination (?)
Pantajali has broken this down to 8 steps (not easy at all) for all to follow:
YAMA – The foundation to become a better individual by getting rid of negative thoughts of violence, jealousy, greed, lust and be compassionate, truthful. Afterall, we’re no more than reflection of our own inner self.
NIYAMA – Betterment in self/ finding inner peace to withstand external influence
ASANAS – Keeping a healthy body through regular practice of asanas, postures to be comfortable and steady.
PRANAYAMA – Connecting with breath, which is also our life force – if we can control our breathing, we’re also in control of life!
PRATYAHARA – Minimising distractions by withdrawing from the surrounding
DHARANA, DYANA – Focusing inwards with greater awareness, and focused concentration, you will get into the mediative state, where mind turns quiet as though the world around has stopped moving.
SHAMADHI – Achieving complete enlightenment.
These 8 steps, seemed easy, are not easy at all. It requires practices. Physically, mentally and spiritually. Like an onion, each step has many different layers, and it takes plenty to truly grasp the concept. It is more like 8 thousands steps and not forgetting that there are also 9 different obstacles mentioned by Pantajali (Vyadhi, Styana, Samshaya, Pramada, Alasya, Avirati, Bhrantidarshana, Alabdhabhumikatra, Anavasthitatva). Oh God, help me out here please.
As I dwell further into Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga and cramped my head to think about what more to write about yoga philosophy when I can’t fully understand the true meaning of it all, it dawned on me that I could perhaps practice AHIMSA (non-violence) by ending this post.
Non-violence to me, by reflecting at my own pace, listening to my own thoughts, and owning my practice. This act of self-management / self-constraint would hopefully translate out to be non-violence to all the readers who chanced upon this piece.
On this note, let’s continue our own yoga practice in this life and, hopefully, accumulate enough good karma to continue this virtuous circle in our next… till we reach enlightenment.