Yoga and the Yogic path to enlightenment -An Introduction

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The Yin Yang yoga training explores the history and the philosophy to the Yogic path to enlightenment -Part one

Fundamentally, Yogic practice was meant to purify the body and prepare it for meditation.
Yoga is not just a process of going to class once a week and moving your body it certain positions. For many people, when they first start it is, but for those who start to go more regularly, may find, through the physical act of stretching bending and challenging the body the focus of our worldly distractions starts to fall away
When you start the practice yoga It’s hard to think about your shopping bill when holding a plank. Slowly the process removes your mind from all outer day to day distractions that keep your mind running wild to a more slower pace, where you begin to see how you can at least for a short while let go. After a series of sun salutations (joined up poses) the body can get fatigued, the mind can give up fighting for your attention and as you start to settle on the move and breath the sense of who you are, what you become aware of deepens.

Emotions memories and unfinished business

By sitting still and breathing deeply into yourself, any issues, fears, worries you have been parking can come to the forefront. It is a time to listen and observe not a time to get caught in the story. This alone can be a challenge. its when we start to experience these real parts of ourselves that can make many of us who begin yoga, turn away and never step foot in a yoga studio again-which is a shame as it’s a chance to also gain clarity, increase the power you need for decision making or learn to not get so caught up in the trials and tribulations of others.

And as simple as it sounds the art is to sit breath and witness and not get caught in all the things you must do that day, next week or the next year
The art is to calm the mind, notice then let those thoughts drift off .

According to Patanjali, the Indian sage, who wrote the sutras, yoga is an eightfold path. The eight steps act as guidelines to living a meaningful and purposeful life. They service as a prescription for ethical conduct and self-discipline. They direct the attention towards one’s health and help us acknowledge we are spirits in a human body.

1- The first path deals with ethical standards and a sense of integrity and how we conduct ourselves in our lives. 2- The second is about self-discipline and spiritual observances such as how you set up the space to contemplate, carry out your spiritual practice, meditate and go on walks alone in a mindful way.
3- Is the Asanas or holds in yoga. The body is seen as the temple and we need to look after it well so that it will serve us in our life .while we develop our ability to do the moves we also develop a spiritual and meditative practice which is necessary to enter deeper stages of meditation
4- Is breath. Pranayama. Its how we gain mastery over our breathing process and realise the connect between breath movement the mind and spirit. Breath is our life force. Breath not only rejuvenates the body, keeps us alive but can help us expand and grow.
5- Is Pratyahara, where we take our focus and attention from the external life and move it inwards This withdrawal can allow us to look at our cravings, habits, behaviours, relationships an what is helpful or detrimental.
6- Dharana is where we start to try and deal with distractions of the mind. Something that many of us westerners struggle with. With time we develop concentration, slow down our thought process and pay attention to our actions and travels. Our focus constantly shifts, and we learn what creates this. we begin to have more awareness and therefore more choice about how we use our mind
7- Dhyana is where this focus on breath, our thoughts, our body deepens. We begin to release and empty the mind, relax the body, concentrate better where we are aware without focus. We can be still without thoughts. It can take some people some time to be able to do this but there can come a point where we naturally sit and are aware that we are just aware.
8- Samadhi, the final stage is what Pantajli describes is where we begin to feel a state of ecstasy and feel a profound connection with the divine. We move towards more joy, freedom and peace. We may start to get snapshots of this in any phase of our life currently and build this up with yogic practice. Then at some stage all the things you think were really important can fade away as the deeper feelings of peace emerge and you may now feel a deeper organic process taking place where practice doesn’t feel forced but rather something that enhances your life and self so much that you become really mindful of how your choices can disrupt that and you may find you wont be prepared to do that anymore