Principles of Yoga
Yoga being a very complex and integrated system which is having a history of more than 5000 years. Any individual is not ever untouched by the vastness of this field the literature and philosophy etc. These principles are when followed it brings the balance to the body, mind and even equilibrium to body and mind. The key principles that are helpful in understanding of yoga aspects are:
- Yoga as know from its roots is a Moksha-Sutra i.e. it liberates the human body, mind and soul. From the yogic prospective the soul is immortal, superconsious, unlimited and free. All the teachings from Yoga help us to realize this fundamental truth.
- As all humans are having different strengths and weakness so according to this the Yogic sages have designed various yoga types according to the mental, emotional & physical capabilities:
Raj Yoga: Practicing this yoga the individual undergoes deliverance via intense meditation & concentration. This is also known as the Eight fold Path of yoga or Patanjali’s ashtanga yoga.
Huth Yoga: This is also known as the forceful yoga. Practicing this type of yoga an individual attains deliverance through physical transformation.
Gayana Yoga: This is also known as the Wisdom yoga. An individual attains deliverance via the application of higher wisdom that helps to clearly differentiate real from unreal.
Karma Yoga: This is also the Action Yoga. An individual attains self deliverance by transcending.
Bhakti Yoga: This is also known as Devotional Yoga. An individual attains deliverance via following the divine path that leads to God.
Tantra Yoga: This is also known as the Continuity Yoga. An individual attains deliverance through ritual, visualization, subtle energy work, and then the perception of identity.
Mantra Yoga: This is known as the Yoga of Potent Sound. An individual attains deliverance via recitation loudly or in mind the most empowered sounds of the divine power as Om, Ram, or Hare Krishna.
- Yoga is so realized to having its foundation on Moral life. These moral virtues are ahinsha (non violence), satya (truth), and brahamcharya. And if these morals are not followed the individual does not attains the complete spirituality and tranquility in life. Therefore yoga is a combination of various principles to be followed and practiced daily. This can only be achieved by complete conscious practice. Therefore regular and correct practice of yogic postures and techniques maintains a good health.
- Therefore yoga is attainment of self discipline in all aspects whether it is mental, physical or emotional.
- Yoga is so made up of practice physical and mental. It is only by these regular practices that an individual attains the spirituality and tranquility in life.
- Focus whether it is on the mental or physical level brings the improvement within yoga. It is with focus comes control and power generating energy into the body.
- Yoga is the process of progression of unconscious thoughts and behaviors with new beneficial behaviors that help in the development of a stronger body and mind. Thus yoga brings self realization by means of following of certain principles.
Various scholars or sages have had described the Principles of Yoga in various ways:
Patanjali’s Eight Principles of Yoga:
- Yama (abstinence)
- Niyama (Observance)
- Asana (Postures)
- Pranayam (Regulation of breath)
- Pratayahar (Withdrawal of Senses)
- Dharana (Concentration)
- Dhayana (Meditation)
- Samadhi (Super Conscious)
Swami Shivananda’s modified Five Principles of Yoga:
- Proper Exercise: This constitutes yoga postures; so when postures are performed in proper manner bring about the stretching, toning of muscles & ligaments. By doing so spine and joints become very flexible. It even goes on to improve circulation in body. Yoga asanas when practiced daily they bring flexibility and suppleness and helps the body to produce loads of energy required to work continuously. These asanas help to release synovial fluid to lubricate the joints, vertebral column, cleansing and rejuvenating the spine and joints for viscosity and elasticity. And as an individual practices asanas heat is produced in the body that further improves the circulation. This also assists the muscles and various tissues to receive fresh oxygen. Which eventually brings about the mental clarity and focus into the mind, proper digestion and elimination of toxins from the body.
- Proper Relaxation: Helps to release the tension in muscles letting go the worries and ensures to conserve the energy of body. An individual after attaining fulfilled skill in asanas the individual must rest properly. Also in yoga most the relaxation techniques are practiced in supine position as the Shavasana – Corpse pose. This lets the tension letting out of the body as well as the mind.
- Proper Breathing: In yoga proper breathing has a great importance. It is only this control of breathing that helps in the regulation of the various hormones. Proper breathing does not only means inhaling and exhaling but also the retentions of breaths between them. Breathing in yoga is divided into four parts since breathe or prana is the life force and when an individual practices Pranayam i.e. the control of breathing thus giving him the control of life. These four parts are
- Puraka (Inhalation)
- Kumbhaka (Expanded retention of breath)
- Rechaka (Exhalation)
- Kumabhaka (Contracted retention)
This produces the stimulation and oxygenation of the body. During both the phases of breath retention metabolism of body and temperature fluctuates increases the oxygen uptake. Then when the process of exhalation followed it cleanses the body. The toxins are removed out of the body as muscular contraction and emptying lifts the diaphragm. Thus energy is moved all over the body maintaining the vital balance.
- Proper Diet: An individual has to consume well nourished diet to keep his body light, supple and mind calm. And even helps to resist various ailments. This does not only includes the diet that we consume but also the amount that we consume. For this purpose we have to consume Sattvic diet. And avoid Rajasic and Tamasic diet.
- Positive thinking & meditation: When followed it helps to remove away the negative thoughts bringing about the stillness and calmness in mind. Thus it helps to attain super consciousness. It is this meditation and thinking helps the body, mind and spirit to get on one track.
Therefore these principles of yoga help in attainment of physical and spiritual well being of an individual.