What is yoga?
Yoga is a philosophy, it is a way of life.Yoga has been described through many ancient texts, and we use these texts to help ourselves find our peace.We experience the beauty and strength of our life as part of a whole, teaching us compassion and love for all life.
We see yoga as postures that are fun to do. These postures help us find our balance, they help us open our bodies so the energy can flow through us. They help us feel confident and strong. They help us feel the softness of letting go. To feel the energy you can put your hands together and slowly start separating them, or if you have a partner, you can stand in front of each other and put your hands together, slowly move away and feel the tingle between the hands.
the postures are here to make us feel good about ourselves, connect with our bodies and teach us to like our bodies as they are.To experience our being.
With the postures we understand the importance of breath. How breath can lead us to feel our bodies.
We can use breath to calm ourselves if we are angry. We can use breath to soften our sadness and help us feel less sad. We can breathe if we are scared. And if we get too excited, we also need to breathe. Breath is an important tool that helps us apply the philosophy of yoga to ourselves.
What is yoga.
In a famous book by Patanjali that describes yoga, it is said that yoga is a way to calm our mind. It’s our way to calm our emotions, to quiet the mind. You hear all your thoughts all the time. That is your mind. Imagine if you can sit and listen to the sound of silence. Is the mind constantly interrupting our silence? YES. But that is normal, that’s what the mind does.
Do you know the story about the two kingdoms that were next to each other? They were the blue kingdom and the green kingdom. To be in peace and be friendly the king of the blue kingdom invited the king and queen of the green kingdom. When they were together the blue King told the green king that he could pick any object from his kingdom as a gift. The green king had noticed this very pretty box, and that’s what he asked for. The blue king told him it was a good choice but that he should never open the box because in it lived a genie. If he let the genie out, he would have to keep him busy all the time if not the genie would eat him up.
One day the green king had a lot of work to do in his kingdom to keep the people happy.There were roads to be made, houses to be fixed, lands to be prepared for growing crops….With all that to do he decided to ask the Genie for help.He opened the box and asked the genie to first clear the land to build the roads, then make the roads, then help fix some houses and every time the genie would come back and ask for more.Little by little the king had less and less to do and he and his wife were very scared because they did not know how to put the genie back in the box.They went looking for the wisest man in the county who lived in the woods and brought him back to the castle.
The wise man saw the genie and he asked him to go around the world and find the tallest bamboo tree.When the genie came back he asked the him to plant the tallest bamboo not too far from the castle. Then he told the genie to climb up and down the bamboo tree until he was called upon for another task.The genie is your mind, and it will constantly be active and help you organize yourself, accomplish tasks and duties, remember games and stories but sometimes it needs to be put in the background while you can focus on your Self, on the silence within you.Yoga helps you do that.
And what you gain from finding a quiet mind is peace.
There are a few principles in yoga that are important and described in this famous book : The yamas and niyamas – these are important because they help us define our way of life. What we find important and how we want to live our lives according to these principles.
Ahimsa : Kindness, thoughtfulness, consideration. Learning to be gentle with ourselves. Caring not only for others but also for ourselves. It’s good to do nice things for others, to make them happy but it is as important to find the same happiness in doing something for you. Understand that you are worthy of the same attention.
Satya : truthfulness – be true to yourself and to others. Communicate. Say what you want to say but try not to be hurtful when saying things that are difficult to say.
Ateya : to take nothing that does not belong to us. Applies if someone confides in us. Do not steal
Brahmacarya : be moderate. Do not waste.
Aparigraha : don’t be greedy, stay humble. You don’t need everything you want.
Sauca : Cleanliness (outside), healthy (inner), eat healthy foods and take care of your body.
Santosha : Accept what happens as a new adventure to help you become who you are. Sometimes we think something is bad or good but let’s try and see everything as an opportunity for us to grow.
Tapas : do your best, work hard
Svadhyaya : learn all that you can. Question everything. Observe yourself. Find out about the world around you, nature, people.
Isvarapranidhana : Trust the little voice in you. Believe in yourself.
These guidelines help us build ourselves according to the basic principle of LOVE.