Yoga

First things first.  Yoga is not a religion.  It is a practical, systematic and scientific method for quieting the mind that in no way interferes with religious convictions.  The practice of calming the mind can in fact be a valuable tool for creating union with the Spirit, specifically the spirit within or the true self, however it does not specify the Source or require a belief in any Higher Power.  While religion most often seeks to connect with a particular deity, the most common goal of yoga is to connect with the self.

“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.” ~ B.K.S. Iyengar

Yoga is an ancient practice with the primary aim of self-realization.  There many styles of yoga and many paths to this ultimate goal.   For most of us physical yoga is the most practical place to start.  The purpose of the asanas, or postures, is not only to strengthen and renew the body for long periods of meditation but also to give the body something to do in the early stages of learning to quiet the mind.  The physical, mental and emotional relief that can be gained through regular asana practice alone can be profound and often becomes a meditation in itself.

For those who would like to go a little deeper the sitting practice, what people normally think of as meditation, is where we begin to pursue and experience the spiritual connection in earnest.  The primary paths of yoga are listed below although there are many.  For the purposes of this blog we will most often investigate the basic physical practices and postures of hatha yoga, especially those that are most beneficial for recovery.  The study of various forms of meditation is of great value in the ongoing process of healing.  Read on, take what works and leave the rest.

Jnana Yoga – The path of wisdom and knowledge. For the jnani, the goal is absolute Truth.

Bhakti Yoga -The path of love and devotion. For the bhakti practitioner, the goal is to connect with pure love.

Raja Yoga – The path of self mastery. The practice in Raja Yoga involves exercise, stillness and meditation. For the raja yogi, the goal is balance and control.

Karma Yoga – The path of selfless service. For the karma yogi, the goal is true selflessness.

Kundalini Yoga – This yoga focuses on purifying the physical and psychic systems to awaken the spiritual power in chakra at the base of the spine.

Hatha Yoga – Sometimes called the physical aspect of yoga this is probably the most common form of yoga in the west.  Besides its innumerable health benefits, hatha yoga is of great value in supporting the other paths.

 

 

Physical Practice

Resources on this page apply primarily to the physical practice of yoga.  Browse books, links and videos.  

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Philosophy and Meditation

Resources on this page apply primarily to the philosophy of yoga and varied meditation practices.  Browse books, links and videos.    

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  • BillWard

    I love this site, I’ve been here for over 30 minutes and look forward to coming back for tomorrow’s content!  Thank you for your encouragement Jane!

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