how to live a meaningful and purposeful life

did you know that the diverse practices of yoga were systematized into a formal philosophy in 400CE? Aside from the “balancing” and “stretching”, at the heart of it yoga is really about joining mind-body-spirit to be in the present moment and to be peace.

Patanjali compiled the Yoga Sutras, the foundational text of yoga which contained 4 chapters:

  1. Samadhi (bliss)
  2. Sadhana (practice and discipline)
  3. Vibhuti (power and manifestation)
  4. Kaivalya (liberation and karma)

The chapter on sadhana, which literally translates as “a means of accomplishing something”, contains the eight-fold path of yoga – guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. It contains information related to moral and ethical conduct, self-discipline and attention to health.

  1. Yama – ethical standards and behaviours, including non-violence, non-stealing, truth, restrain, non-covetous
  2. Niyama – self-discipline, including cleanliness, study of scripture and self, content, spirituality, austerity
  3. Asana – physical posture to develop discipline, concentration and openness for meditation… to be the best “container for spirit”
  4. Pranayama – breath control, the breath is our connection to mind and emotion, “life force”
  5. Pratyahara – sensory and withdrawal; draw awareness in and objectively observe our desires and habits
  6. Dharana – concentration, deals with the distraction of mind, precedes meditation
  7. Dhyana – meditation, uninterrupted flow of concentration, being keenly aware without focus
  8. Samadhi – bliss! when the meditator merges with focus and transcends self, connection to the “divine”, one with universe

… did you notice that asana, the part that we associate SO much with yoga in the West, is only 1/8th of the yogic path? I encourage you to think about in what other ways can you walk the path of yoga?

be peace.

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