The word Yoga in *Sanskrit means: UNION of the Individual Soul, with the Universal Spirit. What Yoga means to us isn't only about the Postures (Asana) though many people think of Yoga as Physical Exercise. Posture Practice is actually the most superficial part of this ancient spiritual science of opening up our minds full potential. Now if you would have told me that when I started my practice, I would have argued with you. If that is what your practice looks like there is NOTHING wrong with that. Yoga can be an AMAZING workout! But it is also a work in. So often through life we are accustomed to looking outside of ourselves to find full fulfillment. We live in a society where what we acquire can give us what we want. More often then not we find ourselves working toward things that are just beyond our reach. We are caught up in doing rather then being, In action rather then awareness. It is hard for us to picture a state of complete calmness. Yet through internal calm we are able to touch a level of joy and understanding we normally would not be able to reach.
On our Yoga Hikes we will be incorporating the Eastern Philosophy Traditions with a modern Western perspective and how you might incorporate it into your lives. For those of you that have been practicing for years and have an understanding of living YOGA. These hikes will be a reminder for you. If you haven't been exposed to the Eastern Traditions this might be new to you. We encourage you to keep an open mind. Yoga is universal you don't have to be a specific religion to practice.
Eight Limb Path of Yoga
In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the eightfold path is called Ashtanga, which literally means in sanskrit “eight limbs” (ashta=eight, anga=limb). These eight steps basically act as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. They serve as a prescription for moral and ethical conduct and self-discipline; they direct attention toward one’s health; and they help us to acknowledge the spiritual aspects of our nature.
The YAMA'S and NIYAMA'S are the beginning of realization. The YAMA'S are our awakening to the world around us. It is an understanding that our actions may cause harm and that the things of the world are not ours for the taking.
The five YAMA'S are:
AHIMSA: Non Violence
APARIGRAHA: Non Covetousness
The NIYAMA'S are inward it illuminates the relationship we have with ourselves
The five NIYAMA'S are:
SVADHYAYA: The study of the scriptures and of the self
ISVARA PRANIDHANA: Surrender to go
The inward limb of Niyama comes to life as:
ASANA the transformation of the body into stillness "Control of the Body".
PRANAYAMA is control of Breath". "Prana" is Breath or vital energy in the body. On subtle levels prana represents the pranic energy responsible for life or life force, and "ayama" means control. So Pranayama is "Control of Breath".
PRATYAHARA is gaining mastery of external influences. It is compared to a turtle withdrawing its limbs into its shell — the turtle's shell is the mind and the senses are the limbs. "Control of the Senses".
DHARANA In Dharana there is a wide variety of objects of concentration one can use. A burning candle, the ocean, the tip of ones own nose, the center of the eyebrows, or the sound of a mantra these are common objects. the point is to focus and stop the incessant talking of the mind and to channel all thought to your mind. "Control of the Mind".
DHYANA The continuous Flow of Consciousness toward an object. We begin to realize the oneness of all beings and all of creation.
SAMADHI State of ecstasy. The Meditator merges with focus and transcends the self altogether. The transcendent begins to recognize the profound connection to source and a connection to all living things.With this realization comes the experience of being one with the universe. The ultimate stage of Yoga: ENLIGHTENMENT - It can neither be bought or possessed it can only be experiencehe completion of the Yogic Path and what we all aspire toward: PEACE
*San·skritˈ sanˌskrit/noun1. an ancient Indic language of India, in which the Hindu scriptures and classical Indian epic poems are written and from which many northern Indian languages are derived.