The practice of yoga has evolved over thousands of years and includes a wide range of philosophies and styles. The goal is to still the restlessness of the mind and body and to become tuned to the moving of the Spirit. In scientific terms this state is ‘homeostasis’ – the physical and mental ability to remain balanced among changing circumstances, as well as the ability to behave cooperatively within a larger system.
Each of us engages in a variety of ‘larger systems’ – families, businesses, educational institutions, faith communities. The holistic practice of yoga has the potential to transform our relationships in all of these places. When our bodies are physically and mentally balanced and spiritually aware we bring more energy, love and joy to these places. Yoga is not tied to anyone particular religion rather it can be a way to help you understand and embody your own faith more fully.
Many of these yoga traditions are rooted in one text called the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali believed to have been written or compiled around 150 bce from thousands of years of oral tradition. In his teaching Pantanjali describes the 8 limbs of yoga. The physical practice (poses or asana in sanskrit) is just one of the 8 limbs!
The other 7 limbs teach us further about how to be in relationship with others and ourselves (the yamas and niyamas), energy (pranayama or breathing) and God (control of the mind and stages of awareness (pratyahara to samadhi) .
This yoga practice is a journey. Like any worthy endeavor the journey may raise many questions. Fear not! I am confident that together the answers we discover will lead to healing and wholeness.