Wednesday Research: DO YOU KNOW YOUR YOGA?

🎀 Good evening girls! 🎀

Today I want to write about yoga.

I have been practicing yoga on and off for many years, although I have never become an addict of it.

What I have always found the most interesting is the connection of the movement of the body with that of the mind.

🎀 When I engage in a yoga practice, I like having someone go through a type of meditation or philosophical training. (I am a philosophy lover after all: it is my first degree!)

However, I realised I knew nothing about yoga, its origins or underlying philosophies.

(What I found particularly sad about my philosophy degree is that it ONLY focused on western philosophies. I think it’s a shame. Western religions AND eastern religions have amazing philosophies – even if they are not secular.)

*RANT WARNING*: (skip to next section for discussion of YOGA)

🎀 The whole secularization of everything leaves out a LOT of ideas and knowledge from our university curriculums.

I THINK it’s just as ignorant and biased to ignore these philosophies, and not get to know them a little bit.

I had a teacher once that said that if you don’t know the basic stories of the Bible (for example, the old testament at least!) you ARE uncultured. The Bible is one of the oldest, if not, THE oldest book in the history of books! How you turn 30 and never heard of Noah’s Arch (for example) – I don’t know!

How can any program that adheres to the pursuit of knowledge IGNORE the tenants of religions as intellectual interests? It boggles my mind.

Then we have a bunch of *progressive* law or philosophy students (*cough, cough*) that speak out against religions, because speaking out against religions has also become some sort of modern virtue signaling – yet they have never read a single Biblical story OR any other type of religious philosophy! They’ll say:

‘Religions are the root of war.’

‘Those who believe in some sort of religion can’t think for themselves.

OK Buddy. I’m sure there is a lot of destruction that is done in the name of SECULARIZED political ideals as well. BESIDES most religious people that I have talked to – have THOUGHT LONG AND HARD about the unknown,  the meaning of everything (!), intuition, etc. 

(It sounds to me like they’ve thought about it more than those professing generalizations as a virtue-signalling technique.)

But you got me, that’s a generalization as well.

Bottom line is: religions are interesting in and of themselves! You don’t need to adhere to their tenants of faith to appreciate their stories or their philosophies.

🎀Here’s the most interesting part: who HASN’T tried to do a yoga class? (FYI yoga IS DEEPLY seeded in religious philosophy). As you will see in the next section of this blog post.🎀

YOGA:

🎀Yoga is one of the six ‘Darshan’s‘ of Indian philosophy and religion.

Each Darshan has a specific way to view the world. (Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa, and Vedanta).

🎀For example, Samkhya is a philosophy of dualism.; Nyaya is the philosophy that analyses logic and inference; Vaisheshika is the philosophy that prones naturalism; Mimamsa is a system that influenced Hindu law from the study of Upanishads; and Vedanta which is the conclusion of the vedas (‘knowledge’), applies to the Upanishads.

🎀The basic text of the practice of Yoga is the Yoga-sutras. Yoga in fact ASSUMES the existence of God, who seeks spiritual release.

🎀One can achieve liberation (mokshasound familiar?) when the spirit is freed from matter. The spirit is stuck there because of ignorance.

The goal is to ‘dephenomenalize’, or try to make the self less physical, to enter the original state of consciousness. The mind is thus subdued and the practitioner can enter into a union with the ultimate realitysamadhi.

CLASSICAL YOGA

🎀There are EIGHT stages to Classical Yoga (ASHTANGA YOGA – familiar again?)

  • Yama: restraint
    • abstinence from injury, falsehood, stealing, lust and avarice
    • general
  • Niyama: discipline
    • cleanliness of the body, contentment, austerity, study and devotion to God
    • general
  • Asana: seat or posture
    • exercises in physical posture, for flexibility
    • physical
  • Pranayama: breath control
    • for respiratory relaxation
    • physical
  • Pratyahara: withdrawal of the senses
    • physical
  • Dharana: focuses on the mind.
    • It means ‘holding on’:
      • i.e. to a physical object for a long period of time in the mind
      • I guess we could also call this one a pre-form of meditation
      • mental
  • Dhyana: ‘concentrated meditation’
    • beyond a memory of ego
    • mental
  • Samadhi: total self-collectedness
    • the final stage
    • what it takes to get out of the cycle of rebirth.

OTHER YOGA SCHOOLS

🎀Historically, some of these tenants became Yoga schools of their own instead of simply ‘stages’. That’s why we practice different types of yoga.

🎀Then comes the Karma-Yoga (or action-yoga) practice, which differs from the Classical Yoga practice by its focus on the people who cannot solely devote themselves to the practice of yoga everyday. Yoga thus gets instilled in their day to day life through karma.

🎀There is also:

  • Bhakti-yoga, or the yoga of love
  • Jnana-Yoga, or the yoga of knowledge
  • Kundalini Yoga, or the yoga of energy (the chakras are found in this philosophy)
  • Hatha- Yoga, or the yoga of violent effort
    • (which is a way to QUICKLY get to the ultimate reality through ‘violent effort’ in yoga practice)

🎀AND FINALLY: Yin Yoga, my personal favorite. I was surprised to find out (although I should have figured this one out by the word: YIN), that it is a unique style of Taoist yoga from China. It’s essence is to be in harmony with the rhythm and flow of nature.

In the 20th century, Westerners increasingly took interest in Yogi techniques.

Multiple studies are now done that promote the practice of meditation (or as it is originally called: dharana, dhyana or samadhi).

THE END.

This was very enlightening!! Perhaps I can make more specific posts in the future about different types of yoga. What do you guys think? Interesting or nah?

🎀Let me know in the comments below!🎀

Lots of love,

🎀Miss Bow🎀

Works Cited:

  1. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Yoga-philosophy
  2. Michael, Tara. Yoga. 1980, Édition du Rocher.
  3. Iyeangar, B.K.S.. Au Coeur des Yoga Sutra: le guide de référence sur la philosophie du yoga. 2015, Paris, Libella.
  4. Bhagavad Gita
  5. Upanishads
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