Suprings Ways Yoga Promotes a Healthy Lifestyle
Thanks to Western society's commercialization of yoga, I am always aware of the many
misconceptions about what yoga actual is so I am here to set the record straight!
First - yoga is not the physical fitness that has taken the states my storm. Yoga in itself is alifestyle comprised of eight limbs (principles). The Eight Limbs of Yoga are found in the Yoga Sutras written by Patanjali, the father of modern yoga.
The eight limbs of yoga are Yamas, Niyamas, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana,
Dhyana and Samadhi. These principles encompass how a "yogi" treats self and the world around. Of the limbs, only one has a focus on movement of the body which is "Asana". What we see in magazines is just that Asana - one limb of yoga. Yamas, consisting of five sub-principles including non-violence and truthfulness, focus on how we are treating ourselves in regards to the food we eat, the thoughts we allow to take root, etc. while the Niyamas turn that focus outward with its five sub-principles (purity, contentment, spiritual discipline and self-study and surrender to the divine) to how are we showing up in the world and on its' behalf. The five additional limbs focus on breath, meditation, inner reflection, concentration and the achievement of spiritual union.
Essentially, when we are practicing yoga or living a yogic lifestyle in totality, we focus on the care of ourselves, mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially; we focus on the care of our earth and all its' inhabitants. When we are truly practicing yoga, we are aware of how we operate and the ways we impact our surroundings, we seek harmony within and outwardly.
Simply put, yoga is a lifestyle that promotes optimal health in every level of the human
experience. On a personal level, yoga is a powerful tool I have been given to heal myself, my community and the world as a whole.