This is a very emotive title for this post. Do we ever really consider why we do what we do and are we aware of why this system of yoga was developed . Over the years I have seen many changes and developments and the direction yoga has taken. Is this how it was supposed to go…. I recently attended a showing of ‘Awake’, a documentary of the life of Paramhamsa Yogananda. He wrote a book about his life called Autobiography of a Yogi, a cult book of the 60s. What a powerful read. I remember being so inspired after reading this book that it had a profound effect on my future in yoga and my quest to find myself as a spiritual being in this world… and what a journey it has turned out to be.
I was reminded of the hours I spent in libraries and bookshops in search of the material that spoke of and recounted the lives of those exceptional ones who attained to those heights of spiritual awakening and a personal realisation of ones own divinity. Paramhamsa Yoganandya was such a person, and thorough his efforts help bring yoga to the west and oh boy look at what is happening now. He’s message was to follow the Eightfold Path of Ashtanga Yoga.
In brief the eight limbs, or steps to yoga, are as follows:
- Yama : Universal morality
- Niyama : Personal observances
- Asanas : Body postures
- Pranayama : Breathing exercises, and control of prana
- Pratyahara : Control of the senses
- Dharana : Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness
- Dhyana : Devotion, Meditation on the Divine
- Samadhi : Union with the Divine
Each of these 8 steps brings us closer to an awareness of our true being. But this journey is not to be understood by intellectual study alone, but by the penetration of our understanding through the discipline and effort integral to yoga sadhana.
I ask you, is this how you practice…. do you think that your sadhana will bring you to the place of understanding of your true nature??