The Sanskrit word yoga means ‘to unite, to yolk’. Although popular belief is that yoga refers to practising Asanas or breathing techniques, but originally yoga is about union between body, soul and mind leading to union of ones individual consciousness to the supreme Universal consciousness.
Yoga is a Lifestyle, it is a system of holistic purification of the mind and body through Physical, Mental, Moral and Spiritual discipline. Hence even before we get on the yoga mat we must try to inculcate the following practices in our lives.
Certain principles were listed in Patanali Yoga Sutra as Yama and Niyam, these are virtually the “dos and don’ts” of a yogi. These principles highlight the mindset of a true yogi. Or, as my Guru says “Become a better human being before you become a yogi”.
- Yama – Abstinence ( or the Don’ts of yoga) Moral discipline through universal morality.
- Ahimsa– Non-Violence- against all creations humans, animals and plants alike.
- Satya– Truthfulness – to oneself and to others.
- Asteya– Non- stealing.
- Bhramcharya– Self-control – to not be driven by physical needs.
- Apavigraha– Non- selfishness – to give and to share.
- Niyama – Cultivation: Spiritual discipline through self purification.
- Saucha– Purity – Bathing before your class, keeping yur yoga area clean.
- Santosh– Contentment – Not being distracted by greed of acquiring more.
- Tapas– Self-discipline – Monitoring one self by introspection and trying to change for the better everyday.
- Svadhyaya– Self-study & Self- practice being true to your craft.
- Ishvara Pranidharan– Surrender to God – Knowing that you have done your bit, you leave the outcome to God.
3. Yogic Ahaar or Yogic Diet
Yoga in essence is maximising the efficiency of our body and mind. Like a machine requires fuel to operate, we need food for proper functioning of our system. Hence a Yogini must choose her food wisely, we should try to eat foods that are Positive Pranic, which means that the energy released by digestion of these foods should be greater than energy consumed in their digestion, resulting in a net positive energy output.
Finally, after all the external and internal work the body and mind must get some rest. Sleeping is one of the easiest ways to do this and i must say there is no correct ‘sleep quota’ or number hours one must sleep but whats more important is the quality of sleep. Complete down shut of the body and conscious brain is necessary for smooth functioning of the system. So taking adequate amount of rest before and also after a yoga session is very important.
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