What is yoga?

Posted by Sinead on

What is yoga?

This is such a big topic and one rarely asked any more. But what we want to affirm is that it’s not all about the yoga studio, yoga leggings, and moving into strange and challenging shapes. Yoga is so much more.

In one text on yoga called Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, it is said that "Yoga is the settling of the mind into silence". There are many translations and interpretations of this verse and in Sanskrit, this second Sutra, or verse, is "Yoga Citta Vrtti Nirodhahah".

Yoga Citta Vrtti Nirodhahah

Later in the text, Patanjali states that “by the practice of the limbs of Yoga, the impurities dwindle away and there dawns the light of wisdom, leading to discriminative discernment.”

This settling of the mind and the dawn of wisdom are not just about the yoga poses. It’s about so much more. It's living life fully, a conscious way of living, even enlightenment... Patanjali mentions the "limbs of yoga" and this is what we will look at in this blog.

The practise of yoga

There are eight limbs of yoga. And they are:

  1. Yama (abstinence)
  2. Niyama (observance)
  3. Asana (postures - what has inspired modern Yoga classes)
  4. Pranayama (breathing techniques)
  5. Pratyahara (sense withdrawal)
  6. Dharana (concentration)
  7. Dhyana (meditation)
  8. Samadhi (contemplation or superconscious state)

We practise yoga not just to get flexible and in good physical shape but also as a way of settling our busy minds, to observe a certain way of living, finding peace and balance.

All the limbs are equally important. And one leads to another. It is difficult to meditate if we can not concentrate or breathe properly. Or if we are achy in our bodies or we are uncomfortable to sit still. Therefore Asana, the Yoga poses, comes in handy. They give us strength and flexibility as well as connecting body and mind

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Perhaps with our modern lifestyle, Yoga Asana is the perfect gateway to connect and understand the other limbs discussed in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. Many Yoga practitioners find that practising the Asana, and going to Yoga class, helps them to breathe better, to concentrate and focus, calm down and that the practice even becomes like a meditation.

Inspiration from Yoga and meditation

Yoga and meditation are what inspired yogandha. It was in meditation that the products were conceived and that inspired the healing blends of essential oils. And the blends are ideal for your yoga practice and as well as meditation. Using the Muscle Soothe for achy post yoga bodies and Ground Roll-on to support a meditative practice for example.

Of course, you can enjoy your weekly Yoga class at your local studio, community hall or gym without thinking about Patanjali or any other Yogic philosophy. But it may be interesting to know a little more about some of these concepts. They can support you in your modern busy life too.

Follow our blog where we will discuss the first two limb of Yoga and how they apply to daily modern life. These are the concepts of Yama and Niyama and are general good principles to observe and practise in our lives.