What is Yoga?
Each of the 8 limbs of Yoga assists to cultivate a more refined state of awareness, removing obstacles and blockages that we've stored within ourselves, which take us away from our own true nature.
As these obstacles are removed through the practice of Yoga, we transform ourselves and our lives, coming closer to what is always already there, but hidden and obstructed by blockages and pain that we have yet to process.
According to Yogic and Buddhist philosophy, the body, breath and mind is like a map of everything that we've ever thought, said and done. It has recorded everything up until this point and we store that energy within ourselves. This mapping is referred to as vāsanās, samsaras and sankharas.
Our mapping is our karmic imprints. Our entire life situation has resulted from that, all of our past actions and future actions have come from and will stem from that.
Although we often submit to the unconscious habit patterns of the past. We can be free of that, through practicing conscious awareness, and eventually, mastery of the mind, which is what the Yoga practice aims to cultivate.
Through Yogic practice which help us build awareness, and eventually complete mastery over the mind, we can process the vāsanās and thus, they are released and we are no longer bound by those imprints.
At Lotus Yoga Shala, we focus our practice on asana, pranyama and dhyana (meditation), 3 of the 8 limbs of Yoga with the intention of releasing physical, mental and energetic blocks, to unleash new potential and to live a life aligned with our highest self.
Through the physical practice of yoga called "asana" -
Build strength, flexibility and balance of the body and mind.
Create greater levels of focus and body and mind awareness as we investigate the body through different positions, feeling parts that have been inactive, unused and lack energy.
As we begin to breathe into and energise parts of the body that have been inactive, we feel greater amounts of energy and awaken parts of ourself physically that have been unused.
Through the yoga practice of breath regulation called "pranyama" we learn to master the breath, our life force, using different breathing techniques. The subtler energy channels begin to purify and open and awareness and energy penetrate a deeper level.
Through the practice of "dhyana", meditation, we learn to sit with whatever it is that arises in ourselves. We exercise and refine our skill of concentration, focus and ability to remain balanced under all conditions of the mind.
Naturally, the more blockages we process within ourselves,through the process of Yoga, the more we feel a sense of real compassion, kindness and love for all beings.
This leads us to our final practice of Metta Bhavana (Loving Kindness for all beings).
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
May all livings being be happy, be peaceful, be liberated
Look forward to practicing with you in the Shala.
Atha yoga Anushasanam
Yoga citta vrtti nirodaha
Now the teaching of Yoga
Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind so one's own true nature can arise
- Patanjali Yoga Sutras 1.1-1.2-
According to the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, one of the primary Ancient Vedic Texts describing Yoga and it's practices, there are 8 limbs (stages) of Yoga.
As we practice yoga and progress in all 8 limbs, we come closer to our true nature and eventually, fully realise the nature of the self. This state is often referred to as "enlightenment", "self realisation", also known as "Samadhi (the 8th limb of Yoga)."
Although this is the ultimate goal of yoga, we each come to yoga for different purposes. And, in general, yoga practice leads to a healthier body, mind, energy levels, thus joy and compassion for others.