Yoga the fad, yoga for real.
Yoga to me is a spiritual practice of extroversion. While much of our religious or mystical endeavors are introverted mental practices focusing on the mind, like meditation and prayer. Yoga is designed to focus on the body and the mind together. Which can be a much more thorough approach to understanding the self.
“Know thyself.” – Persian Maxim from Zarathustra or Zoroaster
“In man all things are hidden.” – Taken from the Qabalah author unknown.
Most people learn more by doing than reading. Both combined are what makes a thorough comprehension on the subjects studied. Applying what you learn is important, There is NO substitute for direct experience, that’s what I always say about anything I’m discussing.
To put it simply, would you go jumping out of an airplane with a skydiver who has never actually done it before, but maybe read all about it took classes and the like. Not me, I would feel much more comfortable with someone who has prior experience.
There are eight different sections otherwise known as extensions or limbs of Yoga. Asana was the first that was on the list from which I learned. The definition offered was ‘Posture’ gaining control over the body. Then, the practices were described as sitting in one position and tense every single muscle in the entire body. Pushing the tip of the tongue against the lower teeth and outwardly folding the rest of the tongue towards the mouth. This would prevent the jaw from clenching and after all the tongue is also a muscle. Doing this and remaining Completely still (or as still as possible )for the length minimum of 1 hour.
It can be done, trust me! It took me a while, after I broke my record and got past the first 5 mins., the next time I went to 23 mins. then an hour and 22 mins. It is best to keep a journal of all your practices. Yes it is painful but when you are done you feel like you can accomplish ANYTHING! It is excellent for the body and your health.
Yoga has eight limbs or branches. I will only be discussing the first few here, and write another article describing the others. In my opinion each limb is worthy of an entire treatise all it’s own. Yoga, as any good yogi will tell you; can be almost anything. However, anything cannot be yoga. The true through paradigm. Good yoga is a consistent persistence in order to lasso the mind into your true will of control. Hence the first two limbs Yama and Niyama.
Yama: meaning control. Is the first limb of Yoga.
Niyama, the second limb, which can only be interpreted as control over your control beyond the nature and finite complexities of control. Hoe- hum- drum, the paradox rears her wondrous stare back on us. Spiritual practices are just that, though. Often times we are consigned to do a thing unwittingly and unconsciously aware of any real outwardly significant benefit. Then after the grasshopper hops through routine after routine always hopping then suddenly the grasshopper jumps. Which is what many people,(not just Oprah)has deemed what is commonly known as an ‘Aha’ moment.
Next comes the first actual practice or exercise with which the other principals are applied.
Asana- The practice described above.
Then comes Pranayama, meaning control or regularization of breath. This practice can actually increase your brain power. It pushes blood flow through otherwise dormant vessels in the brain. I will write extensively on this in another article.
Mantra Yoga is exactly how is sounds. Reciting a word or phrase over and over again until you become lost in the act. Mantra’s are useful in so many ways. I always imagine “It think I can I think i can I think I can”. Ultimately, recurring into I can, I think, I can, I think, then back again. An excellent example.
Yes Mantra Yoga, my little helper. Yogayogayogayoga! Now say that fifteen times fast. I imagine at times you will eventually see yourself or hear rather, saying gayogayogayo and technically that’s the point. The point being a mantra which is an actual integral part of the yoga exercise. Real yoga that is. Well, I can’t really say that anything is fake yoga, but definitely fad like.
Fact is, I believe that mantra is a widely overlooked stepping stone or good tip, even better: trick to the trade. Yoga as well as being many things including or all things or no thing can be best described at least in a western state of thinking or speaking “external meditating”. Using or rather pushing the body towards its advantageous limits, in order to maintain good health and inner peace. As in the case of Asana. Mantra the mental tool can be the help that gets u over the hump. And in real hard yoga one needs all the help one can get.
These days its hard not to come across health and fitness advertisements, especially in the United States. Somewhere, in all the ads, undoubtedly you will come across yoga. Now, there are many types of Yoga. For instance, there is Hatha-yoga, Raja yoga, Pradipika yoga, Mantra yoga and many more than I am even aware of. I must admit, I have never taken a class (or even considered it) on Yoga. I just cannot see myself paying good money to do exercises that to me are highly personal, in front of a group of strangers. I also wonder what exactly they do in those classes? I couldn’t imagine the technique’s mentioned above becoming the latest craze, or gaining any popularity whatsoever.
Yoga, if I am not mistaken is primarily a spiritual practice designed for achieving inner peace, or bring you closer to god and/or heaven. I understand this and because I have read many recommended books on the subject, plus put into action the recommended practices in those books, I believe my understanding is sound.