→ Sanskrit word “yuj” : to yoke, unite, join
Refers to union of the individual self with the universal self. Union of the mind, body, spirit.
→ Philosophical or mystical system found in India; some dates the beginning of yoga back to Shamanism from 25,000 BCE, pre-dating written history. → 4 main yoga systems:
Jnana Yoga: Path of wisdom. Explores the human mind through self-study and pursuit of knowledge, and to inquire into one’s own nature. (EX: Who am I?) Bhakti Yoga: Path of devotion. Most spiritual path and most practiced in India. Yoga of the heart. The object of love has to be of divine nature, like God or spiritual guru. Karma Yoga: Path of duty- selfless action. About giving oneself to the others without expecting anything in return. Requires strong commitment and willpower to achieve genuine selflessness. Two examples of Karma yogin are Mother Teresa and Ghandi. Raja Yoga: “Royal” path. Path of physical and mental control with its ultimate goal as enlightenment. Today, sometimes simply referred to as meditation. Although meditation is the main practice of Raja yoga, other important steps of preparation shouldn’t be overlooked.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras
→ written 200 BCE
→ Ancient text of the classical science of yoga, comprised of 4 chapters consisting of 196 aphorisms (short verses). → Most revered book on the science of yoga.
→ Defines the process to internalization and divides it into eight stages: the eight limbs of Raja Yoga, or Ashtanga Yoga (Ashtanga means eight limbs). These are disciplines and practices that the yogi should follow to attain enlightenment. Yama: social restraints; moral and ethical guidelines or principles for yogins to apply in regard to their relationship with others. Guidelines of integrity that help us create choices true to our higher functioning selves. Has 5 principles: Ahimsa: non-harming/non-violence
Satya: honesty or truth
Bramacharya: conservation of energy; chastity, celibacy...
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