Yoga is an ancient, self-empowering practice that utilises a wide range of tools to enhance well-being and to maintain and restore health. It can also be a powerful tool on the journey of personal and spiritual growth.
Yoga is one of six ‘Darsana’ or Indian schools of thought or Philosophy. Yoga has its origins in the Veda’s, the oldest record of Indian Culture. The yoga philosophy was systematised by the great sage ’Patangali’ in the form of the Yoga Sutra’a. Although there are many texts on Yoga, Patangalis Yoga Sutra is the most significant.
The fundamental principle behind the philosophy of Yoga is that the mind is both the source and the solution to all our problems. The goal of Yoga is to change the way we perceive things so they do not bother us. The primary aim of Yoga is to help us overcome our suffering by refining our minds so that our perception of suffereing changes.
Yoga helps us to look inside ourselves, attain what was previously unattainable, to recognise ourselves better. Yoga is acting is such a way that all our attentions are directed towards the activity in which we are currently engaged.
The eight components of Yoga are
- Yama: our attitudes towards our environment
- Niyama: our attitude towards ourselves
- Asana: the practice of body exercises
- Pranayam: the practice of breathing exercise
- Pratyahara: restraint of our senses
- Dharana: the ability to direct the mind
- Dhyana: the ability to develop interactions with what we seek to understand
- Samadhi: complete integration with the object to be understood.
The most widely known components and more commonly practiced and taught in the West are Asana (Postures), Pranayama (Breathing) and Dhyana (Meditation).