Jason meditating

Yoga is the union between JIVA, the limited self and ATMAN, the infinite cosmic self. It is believed to have been revealed by the gods to ancient sages as a means by which man could experience his divine self. It is not meant to be considered an ancient practice, it is very modern and relevant and even futuristic.

Yoga has been passed on by word of mouth for probably over 5000 years. The first literary mention of yogic practices are the Vedas about 4500 years ago. The practices weren’t taught or even described in the Vedas, but just referred to. It is believed that the practice had existed for hundreds of years even before these references.

The first actual written account of yoga is a group of writings called the UPANISHADS, which translates basically into “sitting on the ground and taking in information from the master.” The Upanishads were published as early as 600 BC and the most recent ones found were dated in the 15th century. Of the 108 Upanishads written, only about sixteen are considered authoritative.

Many gurus have since published their understanding of yoga. And invariably, written accounts of yoga will differ. The definition of a ‘guru’ is ‘one who eliminates darkness.’ Gurus should never impose beliefs; only remove ignorance and blockages. Anyone who tries to tell you that a particular yogic discipline is “the correct one” or that a pose is done one way only, has obviously not done much reading on the subject or worked with much of a variety of people and such a person’s advice should be taken with the knowledge that it comes from such narrow experience. Yoga is still alive today because it is a system that is an individual as we are as people. Yoga lends itself to personalization and customization. Reading about yoga, or listening to someone talk about it is not as sure a method of understanding the practice as is actually doing the practice of yoga. You will spontaneously develop self-awareness and creativity, unfold aspects of your personality and develop and improve your concentration, your level of peacefulness and your relaxation. You will also notice your body changing on a physical level with more ease in movement, more muscle tone and less stiffness and restriction. You also massage your organs and glands and create an ideal environment inside for optimal function.

You will actually create your own definition of yoga through your PRACTICE.



There are five basic groups of yoga:

HATHA - health
By balancing the mental, physical and PRANIC bioplasmic bodies, the purpose of hatha yoga is to make the body healthy and comfortable and free of pain, ailments and disease so that it can be ignored and transcended and full attention and awareness can be given to mental and spiritual pursuits.

KARMA -activity
Performing daily activities with total awareness and not expecting any rewards or return enables yogis to be more effective, efficient and focused. It calms the mind.

BHAKTI - devotion
Yogis use the practice of devotion to deities or symbols as a vehicle for the healthy release of emotional energy. They direct their devotion towards the object and absorb themselves in the objects in order to lose themselves and their egos and be freed up for higher awareness and self-realization.

JNANA - enquiry
In this path of yoga, one inquires of the nature of existence and one’s own truth. It is an advanced yogic practice requiring a great deal of concentration and total absorption in a seeking of illuminations or visions.

RAJA - introspection
This path of yoga attempts to shut off all outside stimulus and delve into the workings of one’s own mind including conscious and subconscious, unconscious and even deeper.

Other references to yoga you might come across:
VINYASA YOGA the emphasis is on smooth transitions into and out of poses
KUNDALINI YOGA is focused on opening the six spinal chakra centers
MANTRA YOGA is the yoga of using sound combinations to induce introspection
DHYANA YOGA means yoga focused on meditation, so it’s kind of a redundant term
KRIYA YOGA is a powerful path of movement and awareness aimed at increasing awareness of our inner processes as humans.

These and any other terms or types of yoga you come across will fall under one of those five basic types above. Often, types of yoga are named after or by the guru whose “take” the system is based on:
Asthanga (athletic, dynamic flowing), Bikram (105 degrees, strict routine), Anasura (new age, spirituality), Jivamukti (vinyasa and spiritual), Iyengar (the use of props for proper alignment), Sivananda, Patanjali, etc. etc. and I could go on. They’re all just packaging the same basic stuff their own way. So, go try stuff. Learn stuff. Discover stuff. But keep in mind: No one is correct and everyone is.

“the divine light within me honors the divine light within you.”



-Traditionally done in the morning, after elimination and washing, but any time of day that you'll do is fine. Try to practice at the same time every day, if possible.
-Wait at least two hours after eating; the stomach should be empty.
-Approach all of the movements with conscious curiosity, seeking the least amount of effort possible. Never strain. Your goal is to be able to do all of the poses with ease.






Yoga Asanas

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