Most of us come to yoga for three reasons. We want to take care of our body. We want to learn to relax, to calm down. We may also feel that our life is not complete. We are searching for some form of happiness, but do not know how to obtain it. In order to be happy, we must find a sense of true peace. The way to true peace is through relaxation and letting go. we can only discover who and what we really are by learning unwind our body and slow, and finally stopping, our mind with proper breathing.
The Eightfold Path of Yoga:
In following this path, we achieve the blissful state found in meditation. Enlightenment and union can result only within the dimensions and to the depths of the individual’s ethics and code of conduct. The more you practice within this path, the more successful you will be in finding your state of bliss or permanent joy. The first two aspects of the eightfold path of yoga are yama and niyama, which cover our code of ethics and conduct.
Yama: The Five Restraints:
In order to follow the eightfold path of yoga, we practice yama, or the “five restraints.” These are:
- Inoffensiveness. This asks that we not abuse any living things. We should be gentle toward all things. There should be no destruction, no injury, no killing, no abuse of any living thing. we should feel gentleness toward all things and have no destructive impulses or thoughts.
- Truthfulness. We should not lie, present half-truths, or be evasive. We should refrain from embellishing the facts and should describe things as they really are. Truthfulness does not hurt others. A Hindu proverb tells us: “Speak the truth, speak the pleasant, but not the unpleasant truth.” A joke follows this proverb. There was a Hindu doctor whose job was to bring babies into the world. Each time the doctor gave the newborn baby to the mother, The mother would say: “Oh, doctor, isn’t my baby the most beautiful baby in the whole world?” Even though the doctor loved babies very much, sometimes the baby was not as beautiful as other babies. However, the doctor did not want to lie, so he would respond by saying: “Now that’s a baby!” This reaction made the new mother feel happy, and the doctor did not lie. In other words, we should always consider the effects of what we say.
- Not stealing. In addition to not stealing from another’s property, we should also abstain from greediness of any sort. If we are accumulating material things that we are really do not need, we are wasting goods, stealing from humankind, and being cruel. Instead of taking, we should wait until offered. we will then become more patient and reflective.
- Nondesire. Wanting things that belong to others shows a certain amount of jealousy within us. Jealousy generally creates animosity toward to person who possesses what we desire.
- Continence. It is important to practice self-control and moderation in food and sex. We should eat to live, not live to eat. Our body is sacred and we should do our best to keep it in good shape. Overeating makes us sluggish and interferes with our meditation by making us want to sleep instead. We should enjoy, not abuse, all our senses, even appetite. We do not necessarily have to give up sex, but we should avoid excessive indulgence.
Niyama: The Five Observances
Hand in hand with yama is the practice of niyama, or the “five observances,” practices that yogis and yoginis follow in order to reach enlightment. These are:
- Purification. We must strive to cleanse our body, our mind, and our heart. We must cleanse our mind and heart or hatred, envy, jealousy, anger, greed, lust, and impure thoughts and words. Our body should be kept clean not only by scrubbing it, but also by eating healthy food and keeping it free of pain.
- Contentment. We should make an honest effort to accept, without resentment or bitterness, all that comes our way, even though it may be disagreeable to us at times.
- Strength of Character. We should be patient, disciplined, accepting, calm, and follow the five restraints of yama.
- Study. We should try to read good books, preferably scriptures or anything that is beneficial for our growth.
- Complete self-surrender to a Higher Being. Wow! This appears to be asking a lot of us. By surrendering the “self,” you are giving up your ego-self. In doing so, you will recognize why, who, and what you are. You’ll be able to use this knowledge to help others. You will have a genuine desire to experience the present and to know the NOW.
Breathe. Rest and relax your body. Release all stress, tension, and problems of the day. Then, begin your postures.
Upper and Lower Rolls:
Lie on you back on the floor, and bring your knees to your chest. Your arms are on the floor at your sides. Rock backward and forward from your shoulders to your waist, only using your upper back. Do not let your buttocks touch the floor. Your hands on the floor are used for support. Just roll on your upper back a few times. Lower your legs to the floor.
Lie on your back on the floor. Raise your knees toward your body and cross your legs. Hold your ankles with your hands and roll your waist and hip area around the floor-left to right and right to left. Try to make big circle, from your waist, to your right side, to your lower back and left side. This movement really makes the lumber area feel relaxed, and massages the lower back muscles.
Half and Full Bow:
Lie on your stomach with your legs apart and your arms stretched out beyond your head. Inhale and lift your arms and legs off the floor, balancing yourself on your stomach. Exhale and slowly lower your arms and legs.
Lie on your stomach and bend your knees up. Stretch your arms back and clasp your hands around your ankles. Inhale and lift your body up, balancing yourself on your body up, balancing yourself on your stomach. Exhale and lower your body. Unclasp your ankles and lower your legs and arms Rest.
The Bow posture massages abdominal muscles and organs, and thus helps relieve gastrointestinal disorders, constipation, upset stomach, and a sluggish liver. It reduces abdominal fat and aids in rectifying a hunched back.
Half and Full Locust:
Lie on your stomach with your arms at your sides. Turn your arms inward so that the palms of your hands are under your thighs. Inhale and lift one leg up as high as you can – aim for the ceiling – and hold for as long as you find this position comfortable. Exhale and lower your leg slowly. Repeat for your other leg.
Lie on your stomach with your arms at your sides. Instead of placing your hands under your thighs, as in Half Locust, make your hands into fists. Try to rest your body on the full length of your arms. Push both fists into the floor. Inhale and lift both legs up at the same time, again aiming for the ceiling. Exhale and slowly lower your legs down. This is an important posture that uses almost every muscle in your body. Lie still for a moment and rest.
The Locust postures alleviate moderate abdominal problems and lower back pain or stiff-hernia or an acute back problem. The half and full Locust help to relieve insomnia, bronchitis, emphysema and indigestion, as well as normalize body weight and prevent obesity.
Bear Walk and Lower:
In standing position, exhale and slowly bend forward and down to the floor. Walk our on your hands, keeping your feet in place, as far as you can comfortably. Lower your body toward the floor. Support yourself with your feet and hands. Look up at the ceiling. This pose is called Lowering the Bear. Raise your body up and walk your hands back to your feet. Pause for a moment. Inhale and lift your body back to a standing position. Exhale.
Knee to Elbow Lift:
Stand with your hands clasped behind your head. Inhale and lift your right knee up. Bend forward and touch your right knee with your left elbow. Try not to bend downward. The idea is to lift your knee and high as you can. Exhale and lower your knee down, and straighten your body up. Inhale and repeat with your left knee to your right elbow. Following this movement very slowly, three or four times on each side. Exhale and relax. This posture teaches coordination and balance.
In a standing position, raise your arms in front of you and place your palms together with your thumbs touching focus on your thumbs. Inhale and lift one leg up and extend it out behind you. As you extend your leg up and out, bend your body forward, keeping your arms stretched out in front of you and your concentration on your thumbs. Exhale and return to a standing position. Inhale and repeat for your other leg. Exhale and return to a standing position. Rest. This posture is very calming and teaches balance.
This is a relaxing posture. Stand comfortably with your feet directly below your hips and your hands folded in front of you as if you are holding a very heavy watermelon. Don’t think about bending forward. Instead, try to experience and weight of the watermelon. Very slowly, relax your knees and lower your upper body down to the floor.
Relax your knees a little more and open your hands to release the watermelon onto the floor. This posture teaches you to relax and release-relax and let go. Rest in this folded position for a moment. Relax your knees back and forth. If you are truly relaxed, You may notice your upper body beginning to swing. Inhale and lift your body straight up. Bring your arms over your head. Reach and push up with your arms. Let your arms flow out to your sides as you exhale and bring them back to your waist. Inhale and straighten your knees, while pushing your hands and arms out to the sides. Exhale. Relax your knees and bring your arms back to your waist and down to your sides. Relax.
One of the best ways to relax is to become part of nature – to blend into it. This concept may sound a bit strange if you have never tried it, but with practice, you will gain a better understanding of the pleasure found in nature.
Being by relaxing your body comfortably, centered to the floor. Settle in by twisting, turning, or wiggling a little. Remember to exhale deeply and thoroughly to release the tightness you’ve accumulated during your daily life movements. Release yourself to peace and tranquillity. when your body is comfortable, prepare to go on a cloud trip.
Instead of lying in your present room, picture yourself stretched out on a small hill, resting on a soft plot of grass. Sink into the grass and let go. It feels warm and comfortable, and you feel relaxed, safe, secure, and serene. You desire nothing. You feel complete, content, calm, cozy. Above your stretches a pale blue sky that makes you feel even more peaceful. Feel the sun on your face and cool breeze passing over you. You are free of all anxieties, all worries and wants. And look, there’s a bird doing loop-de-loops and swirls in the sky – flying free. Yet lying there, you come to realize that freedom is not so much in the movement of flight, but in your present stillness of mind. A soft, billowy, white cloud comes into view. You watch it drift along, until you realize it has paused right above you. Listen to what it is saying to you. It’s inviting you to come aboard. Don’t hesitate. Don’t be afraid to climb aboard. You’ll be safe. Stretch out and sink in. It feels like a feather bed.