Originating in India, yoga has been around for centuries. The practice of yoga is to connect the mind, body, and spirit through practices or disciplines intending to promote a healthier lifestyle and inner peace. Yoga is not just about practicing the poses we most commonly see, but it is more of a lifestyle and a way of living.
Although it is unknown who is the actual originator of yoga, the sage Patanjali is believed to have been a great advocator and collated the practice of yoga into the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali over 2500 years ago. This includes theEight Limbs of Yogawhich help us to live a more meaningful life.
Ashtanga refers to the eight limbed path of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. The word Sutra translates to "thread", which means each Sutra is considered the thread of meaning upon which teachers add their own "beads" of experience (example) for their students. These Sutras are divided into four sections:
1. Samadhi Pada (Portion on Contemplation) 2. Sadhana Pada (Portion on Practice) • First five steps of the eight limbs of Raja Yoga 3. Vibhuti Pada (Portion on Accomplishments) • Last three steps of the eight limbs of Raja Yoga 4. Kaivalva Pada (Portion on Absoluteness)
It is unknown when Pantanjali lived, but studies suggest the date of the Sutras range from 5,000 B.C. to 300 A.D. Since then, his Sutras are the base for different types of meditation and Yoga. Patanjali's yoga is typically known as Raja Yoga, which is a system for control of the mind. As mentioned above, within these Sutras are eight limbs (also known as eight-folded path) which act as guidelines to the path of internal purification, living a meaningful/purposeful life, bringing attention to one's health, providing moral conduct and self-discipline, and heightening spiritual aspects. The first five act as external aids, and the remaining three act as internal aids.
The Eight Limbs: 1. Yamas - self restraints 2. Niyamas - self observances 3. Asana - practice of postures 4. Pranayama - breath and movement system 5. Pratyahara - sense withdrawal 6. Dharana - concentration 7. Dhyana - awareness without focus 8. Samadhi - blissful awareness & enlightenment
To read more about the eight limbs, click here. As mentioned above, there is so much more to yoga than just the poses (asana). In order to connect the mind, body and soul - we should remember to practice attention to the mind and soul, too.
Chakra is the Sanskrit term for "wheel", or circle, movement, vortex.
The Chakras are circles of life force energy which control the circulation of this energy that flows throughout the body.
There are many different Chakras throughout the body. However, there are seven main Chakras which represent the sacred points of energy in the body that carry us on to greater awareness. These points are located from the base of the spine to the top of the head, and relate to specific areas of the body that when open, cause us to become in a state of bliss with our inner being.
Each are affiliated with a certain element, color, aroma, and body part. If any of these Chakras become blocked, it can cause physical and mental illnesses. Reiki is one way of atunement and can help to align, open, and strengthen these Chakras.
The Seven Chakras:
Starting from the top of head to the base of spine (as shown in picture above) click on each chakra listed below to learn more. Please note, you will need a membership to receive full access to the content of chakras.