"Yoga is one of the six orthodox systems of Indian philosophy. Yoga is a timeless pragmatic science evolved over thousands of years dealing with the physical, moral, mental and spiritual well-being of man as a whole." "The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yug meaning to bind, join, attach, and yoke, to direct and concentrate one's attention on, to use and apply. It also means union or communion. It is the true union of our will with the will of God."
It thus means the yoking of all the powers of the body, mind, and soul to God; it means the disciplining of the intellect, the mind, the emotions, the will, which that Yoga presupposes; it means a poise of the soul which enables one to look at life in all its aspects evenly." Mahadev Desai
"Yoga is a deliverance from contact with pain and sorrow." Bhagavad Gita
Yoga was systematized by the great Indian sage, Patanjali, in his classical work, the Yoga Sutras,
dating from 200 B.C. and is the first book to summarize the practice of yoga.
Patanjali enumerates eight limbs or stages of Yoga for the quest of the soul:
Yama ~ Universal moral commandments
Niyama ~ Self purification by discipline
Asana ~ Posture
Pranayama ~ Rhythmic control of the breath
Pratyahara ~ Withdrawal and emancipation of the mind from the domination of the senses and exterior objects.
Dharana ~ Concentration
Dhyana ~ Meditation
Samadhi ~ A state of super-consciousness obtained through profound meditation where the individual
becomes one with Paramatma or the Universal Spirit.
"When the restlessness of the mind, intellect, and self is stilled through the practice of yoga, the yogi by the grace of the Spirit within himself finds fulfillment. Then he knows the joy eternal which is beyond the pale of the senses which his reason cannot grasp." BKS Iyengar
Asana or posture is the third limb of yoga and brings steadiness, health, and lightness to the body, mind and spirit.
Yogic asanas or postures have been designed over thousands of years to exercise all of the muscles, nerves, and glands of the body. They keep the body strong and elastic. Boosting the immune system, yoga asanas help to keep the body free from disease.
" The yogi realizes that his body is a temple that houses the Divine Spark. He feels the kingdom of God within and without and finds that heaven lies within himself." BKS Iyengar
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