Beyond a sport. Philosophy of yoga

The first thing that comes to mind when people think of yoga is posture.

Yoga practitioners, on the other hand, can attest to its transformative power. The physical, mental, and even spiritual advantages of yoga practice make it more than simply a sport. Yoga is a way of life. It allows you to:

  • experience moments of relaxation

  • discover new aspects of your body and mind

  • gain a better understanding of your breathing mechanics

  • free your mind of worries and stress

From the very first session, you'll feel all of these positive emotions as a result of practicing yoga.

While a yoga mat, suitable clothing, and knowledge of all the postures are necessary, this is just a small fraction of what yoga is about. Having a good understanding of the yoga philosophy is very important.

In this Workee article, you'll learn the philosophy of yoga and hopefully appreciate its deeper meaning.

What is the ultimate goal of yoga?

The ultimate goal of yoga is to unite the body, soul, and mind. This is known as Moksha or Samadhi, which is a prolonged state of pure consciousness. Yogic philosophy is the practice of transcending one's ego to discover one's true self or "highest self." Yoga allows you to get in touch with your inner self, which is a state of total awareness. Essentially, It's about how free the soul feels when it's no longer held back by bad thoughts, feelings, and experiences. At its core, yoga philosophy is a key way to improve your yoga practice and, ultimately, reach enlightenment.

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What is the philosophy of yoga?

The main philosophy of yoga is straightforward: mind, body, and spirit are all one and cannot be separated. However, many philosophies help you understand the deeper parts of your body, mind, and spirit. 

These principles of yoga have to do with discipline, mental discernment, letting go, spiritual knowledge, and self-awareness.

 All these principles stem from the eight limbs( sutras) of yoga:

Restraint (Yama)

These disciplines are based on universal moral principles and aim to develop a person's moral character and his interactions with the rest of the world.

There are five Yamas:

  • Non-violence (Ahimsa)

Ahimsa is the foundation upon which all other ethical principles are built. It means the absence of violence in speech, action, and thoughts. One must be nonviolent and refrain from harming or killing any living thing. Keeping a close eye on your words and ideas is critical. Your words and deeds must express love and concern for yourself and others.

  • Truthfulness (Satya)

Stand for truth and not deception. And when you say the truth, you must learn how to do so in a way that does not hurt your neighbor but does the best for him. Your intentions should be true and based on honesty and transparency.

  • Do not steal (Asteya)

It's an admonition to abstain from physical or mental theft, coveting, or jealousy. The thought of stealing someone's physical beauty or talent is also considered stealing. You must dismiss the desire to take control of someone else's ideas or possessions.

  • Chastity (Brahmacharya)

’’Brahma’’ means infinity, and ’’Charya’’ moving in infinity. Brahmacharya is walking with the divine, which refers to the awareness of the sacredness of all actions and, thus, to moderation in pleasures and senses. In this sense, it means you should not pervert, degrade, exacerbate, or exaggerate any physical desire. When it comes to our sexuality, we need to be persistent and build connections that help us get a deeper understanding.

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  • Non- covetousness (Aparigraha)

The fifth Yama, Aparigraha, means letting go of attachments to things like worldly possessions and sentiments of envy, for instance. Helps us to avoid accumulating unnecessary things, frees us from greed, and encourages us to be generous.

Observances (Niyama)

The Niyamas or rules of personal behavior help you to improve your spiritual journey.

There are five Yamas:

  • Cleansing (Shaucha)

The first Niyama, Shaucha, means purifying and cleaning up your physical and mental self and attitudes. You must be clean, sanitary, and maintain integrity.

  • Contentment (Santosha)

This yoga philosophy means the ability to be joyful even when things aren't going your way. To be content in any circumstance is a choice that must be made consciously. Simply enjoying the present moment and realizing that pleasure does not come from external circumstances are this practice's two most important aspects.

  • Asceticism, Self-discipline (Tapas)

The self-discipline associated with effort helps you master your body and mind through mind control. By doing so, you remain focused and resilient in the face of adversity while you work toward a specific objective. Self-control means that laziness is replaced with willpower, leading to a deeper understanding of ourselves and yoga.

  • Self-study (Svadhyaya)

Self-reflection must be an ongoing practice since progress in connecting with one's being is dependent on understanding oneself. Your full potential, your role in the world, and how you cohabit with the Earth and its inhabitants are realized via Svadhyaya.

  • Surrender/ dedication to  God (Ishvara Pranidhana)

When you believe that there is a greater power, that the outcome of our deeds is not in our control, and that there is a divine plan that is taking care of everything, you submit to the power of the universe. Your pride and self-centered self-centeredness are replaced with humility and dedication. When we realize who we are, we have faith that the greatest is yet to come in our lives.

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Posture (Asana)

Yoga poses constrict and relax the skeletal, muscular, cardiovascular, digestive, glandular, and neurological systems, working on all levels of the body-mind-spirit. It aids in the development of attention and tranquility. Every posture we choose in everyday life, whether internal (mental, attitude) or external (physical posture), has the potential to enhance or hurt these systems. You acquire a healthy, strong, flexible, agile, resistant, and harmonious body through yoga postures. 

Breath Control (Pranayama)

The most obvious way for yogis to influence the body's bioenergetic field is through breath control techniques known as pranayama. The body-mind vital energy may be stimulated and controlled via breath control and focus. Generally, it is directed at the energy centers to achieve psychophysical equilibrium.

Withdrawal of the Senses (Pratyahara)

This sutra is associated with the five human senses and their organs:

  1. Sight (Eyes)

  2. Hearing (Ears)

  3. Smell (Nose)

  4. Touch (skin)

  5. Taste (Tongue)

We perceive the world through our senses. Experiences always have an outcome that can be interpreted as either pleasant or unpleasant. We can gather the senses through yogic practices to simply observe the experiences without allowing our ego to judge good or bad. Learning comes from not judging. We gain a better understanding of the inner world by gathering our senses. Because our senses frequently influence us, controlling them allows us to live a more balanced and serene life.

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Concentration (Dharana)

It is the state of awareness in which the mind stays still in steady harmony with its waves, uniting the entire being into a single point and aim. Yogic focus is characterized by a high level of energy and constant attention.

Meditation (Dhyana)

Meditation is a practice in which one seeks unity, wholeness, peace, happiness, and transcendence. This meditative state can be attained by combining non-dualistic awareness and natural focus, as well as letting go of all negative ideas, fears, and confusion.

Pure contemplation (Samadhi) 

When dhyana is achieved, you enter a state of samadhi in which you connect with the object of your meditation. And this brings you to the ultimate goal: to unite the body, soul, and mind.

Ihor, CEO at Workee

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