Yoga is the union of the breath, body, mind, and spirit. The word yoga translates into, “yoke”. To yoke, or to integrate, all elements of your self can lead to a more fulfilling, healthy life.
Thousands of years ago, a group of people in India called the vrishis decided that seated mediation would bring them closer to this yoking effect and even cultivate the oneness of the environment with humanity. They discovered that they needed to move their bodies to aid their meditation techniques. Not only was it a way to stretch the body, but the movement of the body had a way with clearing the mind. Also, one could begin to accept all Truths in a new state of accepting all part of himself or herself. Yoga is believed to have 8 “limbs”, or parts. Asana, the movement and postures your experience in many classes is only one of the eight limbs. The other limbs in order are:
In today’s American culture yoga has been targeted as a way to excerise the body. What most students come to find out is that when you are working on strengthening, detoxifying, and stretching you body, you also are working on your mind, spirit and breathe. The regular practice of yoga can begin to have a profound influence on your life. Check out this video by Eric Shaw (Teacher training leader) to learn more about the roots of the physical practice, Hatha Yoga. There are also a plethora of other yoga styles such as vinyasa flow (“flow”), ashtanga, iyengar, kundalini, and hot yoga, but all the physical poses are rooted in Hatha yoga.
There are many sacred texts, and modern day explanations of yoga (see our book list). It’s origins in India also have rise to Yoga’s sister science, Ayurvada, the science of health and healings Yoga as seen as the science of self-knowledge.