Basic Yoga Philosophy

One of my teachers says you don’t do yoga but you are yoga. Yoga is your natural state but with the chaos around you (and in your head) it is hard to be chilled; ecstatic; joyous; healthy – all the nice things you feel after yoga practice. The practice, ranging from meditation to pranayama (breathing) to difficult physical poses, is a way to access yoga, to access this pleasant, natural state that is already there.

Patanjali wrote the yoga sutras (threads) very approximately 300BC and they
are the yogic “keys to happiness” or ways to “still the fluctuations of the mind.”

  • YAMAS(to other people): non –violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, sexual continence, non-hoarding
  • NIYAMAS(to yourself): cleanliness, contentment, hard work, self-study, devotion  to God, nature, community or a universal consciousness
  • ASANA: physical postures
  • PRANAYAMA: breath
  • PRATAHARA: turning senses inwards
  • DHARANA: concentration
  • DYANA: meditation
  • SAMADI: enlightenment   superconsciousness    ecstasy

Practising yoga is easier if you are putting good things into your body:

“You must consciously choose how much you wish to indulge, which determines how healthy you are. There is no free lunch”

Dharma Mitri, a modern teacher, says if you can control what comes in and out of your
mouth then you are getting somewhere. In yoga silence is called mouna; taking a few moments to be quiet can be challenging and rewarding.

Kriyas-Cleansing Practices: a very short introduction, please get more information before you try any of these! Click here to go to a website that has a lot of information about all kriyas. These come from the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

Dauti-cleansing with water and scrubbing

Basti-cleansing with colon irrigation

Neti-nasal cleansing

Trataka-eye cleansing

Nauli-digestive stimulation and intestinal cleansing

Kapalbati-skull shining, a cleansing breath

The word practice is used a lot in yoga. The most important thing is to try to maintain
a regular practice. A little bit everyday is much better than a lot once a
month! This is not easy and even the most dedicated yogis lose their way
sometimes. The answer is to just shake your self off and start again. And being
great on your mat is no good if you don’t take your yoga with you when you go
out; being calm in difficult situations, kind, diligent and responsible for
your actions.


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