No, I’m not discussing how to make your core stronger for holding Navasana or Salamba Sirsasana, I’m talking about the real point of yoga. The philosophy behind the asanas. I find myself delving deeper into this aspect of yoga for two reasons. One, I did not do so well on the philosophy section of the test, honesty first. Second, because I find myself drawn to the meditation, self learning, and self-study of yoga. Perhaps this is part of my find myself path that I am on, but I try to work on my meditations daily, more than once if able.
The core of yoga is the Yoga Sutras that Patanjali expounded upon. There are 196 sutras that explain the nitty-gritty of yoga, the philosophy, tools, and behaviors for reaching enlightenment. Let us focus on the eight limbs of yoga here. Now you can delve deeper into this subject, and its encouraged that you do, by reading the many, many books that are out there. My favorite book being “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: A New Edition, Translation, and Commentary” by Edwin F. Bryant. Now a big part of the sutras are the 8 limbs of yoga, which explain the steps to reach samadhi, or enlightenment. In order, you have the yamas, nyamas, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. The yamas and the niyamas are your external and internal observances, and coincidentally align perfectly with the 10 commandments. It’s the foundation of your behavior that will deepen your awareness and ability to experience the other limbs fully and completely. There are posts on the blog that go into the yamas, you can find them here.
So for those newbie yogis who think it is all about the asana, here you go! I was there, thinking that it was just a simple practice to stay active with less cardiovascular exertion, but I was completely wrong. It is about living the 8 limbs and searching within yourself, reaching your edge and being comfortable with it, then pushing it when your body is ready. You learn your body and mind in a way that you haven’t before, and focus on the beauty of existence with love and compassion. This is the core of yoga, compassion.
P.S. there will be further posts deepening the discussion on the eight limbs, this was meant as a quick overview. xo