The GOOD in Yoga
The purpose of yoga is to understand life and the phenomenon associated with it, we want to overcome suffering completely and to achieve total integration that leads to liberation.
Through yoga we aim to remove all the impurities for the liberation of ones true nature as pure consciousness, independent of worldly things. We want to detach ourselves from the lower (as worldly beings) to go to the higher (spiritual beings).
So we have to practice abhyasa, which is the persistent effort to bring the mind to a state of peace and purity; and vairagya, the complete renunciation of worldly things. Our principles and values that motivate the way we act help us purify our actions; so it makes it easier to calm our mind.
Ethics is the foundation of the 8 limbs of yoga. Physical and mental disciplines cultivate good habits and take part of the self-transformation that we aim as yoga practitioners.
The first limb of Patanjali´s ashtanga yoga is yama the “moral self-restraints”; there are five, which constitute the “Great Vow”:
- Ahimsa --> non-violence
- Satya --> truth
- Asteya -->non- stealing
- Brahmacharya --> restoring the sexual energy
- Apariagraha --> non- possessiveness
The second limb of Patanjali´s ashtanga yoga is niyama, which are the “moral commitments”:
- Saucha --> purity
- Santosha --> contentment
- Tapas --> austerity
- Svadhyaya --> self study
- Ishvara Pranidhana --> devotion to God
We use the yamas to harmonize our social interactions and the niyamas to harmonize our inner feelings; so there’s congruence between our internal attitudes and our external actions. When your head, heart and hands are working together, then you are completely integrated.
The yamas and niyamas are just attitude training practices and techniques that are essentially psychological and physiological in nature. Benefits of yoga practices are far more for ones who follow the yamas and niyamas than for those who don’t.
These ten rules are not easy to apply, but I believe that by understanding them one becomes more conscious of ones actions and attitudes. With awareness the limited application leads to greater peace of mind and self-realization can only be achieved by the perfect application.
Although the 8 limbs of yoga have no sequence, which means that you can start from anywhere. Traditional yoga promotes well-being; it connects the development of physical, psychological and spiritual health. The eight stages are techniques to harmonize the mind and find a deeper perception; everyone has a different journey, you just have to experience them and find your own.
Juliana Beets Bujanos