The Philosophy of Yoga
Yoga emphasizes on maintaining equanimity in all situations. Importance is given to making the mind calm, because as per the popular saying, “Still waters run deep”. Yoga philosophy is a discipline of Brahma Vidya (Hindu metaphysics). Yoga throws insight and wisdom on spirituality, ethics, psychology and physiology. It has been practised for thousands of years in India.
Uniting with the Universal Soul
Yoga aims to unite the individual soul with the universal soul. This is done by cleansing the mind and controlling the thought processes. By doing this, the individual soul can go back to the original state, when it was part of the universal soul. This is what is meant by the term “samadhi”. The yogi aims to look at the world in its true colors and accept the truth.
Yoga is Union
In Sanskrit, yoga means union. A yogi aims to attain union with the universal soul by practising physical and mental exercises. The traditional system of yoga has given rise to many other schools. The credit for yogic practices and knowledge goes to the ancient sage Patanjali.
The Eight Limbs of Patanjali Yoga
In his book “Yoga Sutra”, Patanjali wrote aphorisms which encapsulated yogic traditions and practices. He says the aim of yoga is to get self-knowledge. To this effect, he outlined eight steps, which are:
- Yamas (eternal vows)
- Niyamas (observances)
- Asanas (yoga postures)
- Pranayama (breath control exercises)
- Pratyahara (withdrawing the senses from external distractions)
- Dharana (concentration)
- Dhyana (concentration-meditation)
- Samadhi (the ultimate stage of meditation)