As yoga started to progress and develop, we come to the next stage of its evolution; we come to a great author and sage known as Pantajali who is said to have lived around 400 BC. His first work was the Mahābhāṣya, a treatise on Sanskrit grammar and it is believed he possibly had authored a book on medicine called Charakapratisanskrita, though this is not certain.
In the Yoga world he is known especially for his work known as the Yoga Sutras written around 400BC. The Yoga Sutras are part of the Samkhya philosophy which was created by Rishi Kaplia a Vedic sage who lived around 600BC, apparently the Buddha studied Samkhya philosophy on his quest for truth, Samkhya was a very popular teaching during this time and one of the concepts was, that belief in God was not a necessary component in one’s spiritual practices (sadana), this was similar to the Buddha’s teaching which came later on, however Patanjali suggested the need to have a belief of God as part of one’s spiritual sadana, which is connected to devotional Yoga called Bhakti Yoga, the Yoga Strutras could have emerged and be influenced by the other philosophies including Buddhism, which were present during the time of it’s writing.
THE 8 LIMBS of YOGA by Patanjali, the 8 fundamental stages of Yogic spiritual development
1. Yama: Social conduct; The Yamas help to harmonize external relationship; Satya (Truthfulness) – Ahimsa – (Non Violence) – Asteya – (Honesty) Brahmacharya (Sexual Control) – Aparigraha (Non Possessiveness)
2. Niyama: Personal conduct; The Niyamas to harmonize our inner feelings and emotions: Shaucha (Cleanliness) – Santosha (Contentment) – Tapah (Austerity) – Swadhyana (Self Study) – Ishwara Pranidhana (Surrender to Divine Will)
3. Asana: Yoga Postures; The Asanas that are relative to this limb is a balanced sitting pose like padmasasna (Lotus Pose) and Siddhasana (Perfect Pose) , basically a comfortable meditation sitting posture.
4. Pranayama: Yogic breathing techniques; to focus the internal human forces, to regulate the mind.
5. Pratyahara: Withdrawal of the senses; to gather within and to regulating the fluctuation of consciousness so awareness can become more internalized via yogic meditation techniques.
6. Dharana: Concentration of the mind; the step before real meditation happens, total mental focus . Mantra can help induce this stage. Dhrana needs consistency of practice to be achieved.
7. Dhyana: Meditation; Once we manage to steady the fluctuations, mental, emotional and psychic substances of the mind in Dharana we proceed into a state of meditation.
8. Samadhi: Super conscious awareness; there are different levels of Samadhi in the Katha Upanishad (111:10) it states. When the 5 senses of perception together with the mind are at rest, even when the intellect has ceased to function, that say the sages, is the supreme state.
The first 5 stages are relative to external practices which prepare the body and mind, helping to dissolve and remove external distractions for higher level practices. The last 3 stages integrate the internal yoga practices for deeper development of our spiritual potential, helping to rise above unbalanced thoughts and psychic disturbance in the mind. These steps of Yoga are really for advanced aspirants, as there needs to a lot of preparation, so these steps leading to higher consciousness are achieved.
To be continued The Roots of Yoga pt 3
The roots of Yoga were first developed some 5000 to 10,000 years ago in northern regions of India by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization that date back some 12,000 years, one of the largest and most advanced of all ancient civilizations. The Indus-Sarasavati people had a variety of spiritual practices, including worship of the mother goddess Shakti and Lord Shiva, which are symbols of duality and the feminine and mescaline energy concepts potrayed in Tantra and Daoism, similar concepts were known in ancient China as Ying and Yang made popular by the arts of Qigong and later by Tai Chi Chuan, worship of nature and animals was also known to exist as part of thier spiritual practices.
The word Yoga meaning to join and unify, applies union, was first mentioned in the Rig Vedas (praised knowledge) an ancient text, one of the first spiritual texts in human history written in Vedic Sanskrit in around 1700–1100 BCE and originally only taught via orally tradition, which has become the development of Hinduism still being practice today in modern India.
Rig Vedas consists of:
* Hymns to the deities especially Lord Indra the king of Gods , is the oldest part of the Rig Veda
* Brahmanas, commentaries on the hymns
* Aranyaka or "forest books" based on the philosophy behind ritual sacrifice
*Upanishads also known as the Vedānta, the foundation of Hindu religious beliefs and considered to be one of the most important works of Indian culture and religion.
The 3 foundations of Vedic Yoga
1. Mantra Yoga – Speech – Rig Veda – Earth
Mantra, recitation of spiritual Vedic Sanskrit sounds: Transformation of the mind, to internalize to deeper layers of consciousness.
2. Prana Yoga – Prana – Yajur Veda – Atmosphere
Development of our internal and vital energies: Internal transformation via specialized Yoga techniques.
3. Dhyana Yoga – Mind – Sama Veda – Heaven
Yoga meditation the final steps, before full transformation – leading to higher states know as Samadhi:
Yoga meditation; the development of higher and cosmic intelligence, the understanding of truth.
We will look further in the development of Yoga in Roots of Yoga Pt 2.
These days we hear a lot about the ego especially in esoteric practices as in Yoga, Reiki and Qigong. The ego is the persona of the person and this allows the person to express themselves in certain ways, through the conditioning of the ego we experience flaws, errors, right and wrong. The workings of the ego works with the impressions of our deeper consciousness, Yoga meditation, Qigong and even the simple practice of Reiki can allow us directly to access our ego, to resolve it conditioning, until we learn to dissolve the pre condition impressions; we will never really be able to experience ourselves as we really are.
Once we learn to rise above the physical conditioning, we no longer working from the place of the ego but from a higher state of consciousness, we no longer require the ego to rely on who we are, as everything is and will be as it should be, we realize our true self. We can continue to condition the ego by doing Yoga Meditations, Qigong practices or even Reiki healing ,to improve its workings (to feel better about ourselves), but eventually we do have to rise above it, this allows us to go beyond the normal human consciousness to our higher state of who we really are. Think of a piece of gold covered with mud, remove the mud and you found the gold.
People will still need to apply their ego in some way or form to live in this world, eventually we would need to sacrifice some of our needs, the more we sacrifice the more we can experience who we really are. Yoga, Chi Kung or Reiki can helps us, as long as we are prepared to let go, of who we think we are.
Photo; Yoga Beginners Course November 2016
Yoga for beginners can be the start of a very interesting journey into self discovery and allows one eventually to go into the deeper aspects of your life. Our Yoga beginners courses are taught over a 5 day period and 1 hour per day, so the complete Yoga beginner is not overwhelmed with too many concepts and their bodies can accommodate the challenges that Yoga practice brings, we take the student step by step into understanding the dynamics of how to work with yoga, on the physical level by using a sample of basic yoga postures, so that the student feels comfortable in their beginnings of their journey in their Yoga path.
The course is structured so that Yoga beginners repeat the previous lesson and continues to learn something new in their new lesson, by the end of the week we have a strong foundation and a full 1 hour Yoga practice to work with. We teach in this way so that the student can retain their class knowledge and develop further in their next lessons stage by stage.
Check out our Yoga Beginners Course in Chaing Mai
Welcome to our short Blog about Reiki Healing, you may or may not be aware that Reiki is a Buddhist healing meditation that was founded in Japan in the early part of the last century. Reiki usually means Spiritual Energy or some like to call it Universal life Force, it was applied to the master or teacher to acknowledge their field of understanding. There are Reiki teachers or Reiki masters that would like you to believe, that they give you that power to use Reiki, through what they call initiations, how can anyone give you what you already have? you were already born with The Power to Heal Yourself.
The Reiki practice is a simple method that you can apply to your life, to help to improve your health and maybe even improve the process of your evolution, this does not happen because you received initiation, you still need to walk towards your own destiny.
Those who wish to learn about Reiki, can check our Chiang Mai Reiki healing course for more info.