Author: A. Thomas Perhacs
Contrary to popular belief, Yoga is not merely a string of exercises which is practiced through various postures. It is a complete system set up to benefit the body, revitalize the mind and uplift the soul. For centuries now, Yoga has been a way of life and its exploding popularity is proof of the myriad benefits that millions have derived from it.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is one of the oldest known art forms of India and is believed to have been practiced even thousands of years ago. In fact, mention of Yoga can be found in the Hindu religious texts of Upanishads and Puranas which were compiled in the later Vedic and post-Vedic period thousands of years ago. The sage Patanjali is believed to have been chiefly responsible for giving structure to the art form and turning it into a system which could be practiced by the seasoned and the layman alike. To help in this, he wrote the book, "Yoga Sutra," roughly two thousand years ago and laid down the essential principles governing the practice of this discipline.
These writings of Patanjali became the basis for a system known as the "Ashtanga Yoga" which is the most popular form of Yoga practiced throughout the world and is characterized by the following eight components:
- Yamas- restraints to be followed
- Niyamas- code of conduct to be observed
- Asanas- actual physical postures or exercises to be performed
- Pranayama- Regulated breathing
- Partyahara- to withdraw the senses from that which excites them
- Dharana- deep concentration on one object
- Dhyana- religious meditation
- Samadhi- complete merging of ones self
How do Yoga and Meditation Help?
Yoga and Meditation are inextricably linked together- you cannot practice Yoga without reflecting for a few moments on that power that rules over us all just as to have a strong mind, you need to strengthen your body. Together, they offer a unique way of building your body and mind as also providing you with mental peace. Your physical well-being improves, your thoughts are much calmer and you are on your way to a healthier and longer life.
Yoga can benefit you in many ways; some are simple like by improving your fitness and stamina, and the balance and flexibility of your body. Some benefits are more significant, like the high levels of energy that you begin to feel throughout the day, the positive thoughts that motivate you in your toughest decisions and the complete absence of negative thoughts, all contributing to a slow down in your ageing and an increase in your mental well being.
And that is not all, through Yoga and Meditation, you begin to focus on and understand the priorities of your life. Meditation helps you realize that there are higher powers at work and with that realization your perspective on life too changes.
Practice Yoga with Meditation today and let them bring you peace of mind, strength of spirit, better health, a passion for life, and a growing sense of overall well-being.
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