Monday, December 5, 2011

What is Yoga?

A note on what is Yoga from my reading of an article on Linga Purana.

Yoga has eight components. These are known as yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi.

Yama is preparatory to meditation, it has to be backed up by the practice of non-voilence. Niyama means certain rules that have to be followed. These include truthfulness, celibacy and lack of jealousy. The rules also encompass cleanliness, the donation of alms and fasting at appointed times. Pranayama signifies the control of the breath of life. This must always be attempted in a proper asana (posture). Pratyahara implies the withdrawal of the mind from addiction to sensual and material pursuits. An image has to be decided on for purposes of meditation. When this image is fixed in one’s mind, that is known as dharana, and the actual process of meditation is called dhyana. Samadhi is the final stage of meditation, when the union between the paramatman and the atman is realized

Yoga must always be practiced in an appropriate place. One must not be close to a fire, nor must the place chosen be a cremation-ground or a location frequented by wild beasts. There must not be any noise or insects that are likely to distract one’s attention. For example, a cave is a very good place to practice yoga in.

Do not imagine for a moment that yoga is easy. There are numerous distractions and disturbances that make one deviate from the right path. One has to fight laziness and sloth. As one progresses, there are illusions that one hallucinates from. Demons are seen . There are powers that one attains and these also cause distractions. But if somehow one manages to conquer these, true bliss can be attained.

No comments: