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About Yoga

 - Sundararaja Yogashraya
Yoga is an ancient discipline which originated in India thousands of years ago. Traditionally yoga is part of the 6 Schools of Thought (shad darshana) of the Indian tradition: Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga, Purva Mimamsa, Vedanta. The term yoga derives from the Sanskrit root yuj, which means to unite, to yoke. It is essentially a philosophical quest to trace back men’s origin and re-unite with the Universal Self, from which we emanated. Its aim is therefore the union of the individual soul (jivatma), the essence of every human being, with the universal soul (paramatma) the origin of the entire creation.  Unlike philosophical schools based mainly on speculation yoga is an experiential philosophy. This means that the practitioner needs to perform specific techniques to attain its aim. A specific methodology is also required as well as a strict observance to a set of rules which regulate every aspect of life.

 - Sundararaja Yogashraya
The most ancient texts which refer to this noble art, the Upanishads and the Puranas date back to the late or post-Vedic period around 700 B.C., but the merit of collecting and codifying the vast and ancient knowledge on Yoga goes to Sage Patanjali who lived around 300 B.C. In his text the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali expounds in a terse and concise manner the entire Yoga Philosophy together with the techniques to achieve its final goal, the merging into the Universal Soul. According to Patanjali eight (ashta) are the limbs (anga) of Yoga. Therefore Patanjali Yoga is referred to as Ashtanga Yoga, the Yoga of Eight Limbs:
1) Yama (ethical conduct) – The yamas regulate our relationship with others and the outside world
  • Ahimsa (non-violence)
  • Satya (truthfulness)
  • Asteya (non-stealing)
  • Brahmacharya (continence, celibacy)
  • Aparigraha (non-possessiveness)
2) Niyama (observances) – The  niyamas regulate the life of the practitioner as an individual
  • Shauca (purity)
  • Santosha (contentment)
  • Tapas (austerity, religious fervour)
  • Svadhyaya (self-study and study of the Scriptures)
  • Ishvara pranidhana (surrender to God)  
3) Asana (postures) – Asanas are postures that need to be maintained steadily and effortlessly. They bring self-control and mastery over the body.
4) Pranayama (extension of life breath , prana) - The practice of specific techniques of voluntary conditioning of the breath allows the practitioner to store and direct the vital energy at will preventing its dissipation. Pranayama practices lengthen the life span. Yogis measure the life span in breaths rather than years. 

5) Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses) - In this stage the senses start to loose their grip on external objects and the practitioner learns to draw them inside towards his inner self.

6) Dharana (concentration) - The practitioner attains a state of one-pointedness of mind and is able to hold his concentration steadily on a single object or point. Such ability allows him to prevent the emergence of disturbing and superflous thoughts.

7) Dhyana (meditation) - When the flow of concentration continues uninterruptedly for a long time the practitioner enters into a contemplative state where the notions of body, mind, senses and ego are completely integrated.

8) Samadhi (total absorption) - At the climax of the meditative stage the practitioner experiences a transcendental state and his Soul is absorbed into the Universal Soul. The practitioner has thus reached his final destination. Here his quest ends. He has attained Yoga, the Ultimate Union.

पुरुषर्थशून्यानाम् गुनानाम्

प्रतिप्रसवः कैवल्यम् स्वरूपप्रतिष्टा

वा चितिशक्तिरिति ॐ

BKS Iyengar Uvaca (said)

Hard work and humility are essential for spiritual sadhana
When I practice I am a philosopher, when I teach I am a scientist, when I demonstrate I am an artist
All may be able to do yoga but only one in a million is fit to be called a yogi 
Knowledge has no end
My words should not be listened but reflected upon
For a yogi his body is a laboratory for perpetual experiment and research 
Yoga helps to endure what cannot be cured and to cure what need not be endured
The art of teaching is tolerance. Humbleness is the art of learning
Confidence, clarity and compassion are essential qualities for a teacher
A good teacher helps you to explore to the maximum
A good book is better than a bad teacher
Training of mind and body leads to awareness of the soul 
Each movement is my mantra
The body is my temple, asanas are my prayers
Freedom is to be free from the chains of fears and desires
The mind must always remain in the state of present
Self realization must exist in each pore of the skin
Intelligence should be uniform in each posture
Do not allow mistakes to take deep root, but watch for and eradicate them by training and experience
If there is no wind in our sails, the only way out is to row
Intellectuals tend to be arrogant. Intelligence, like money, is a good servant but a bad master
The body is your temple. Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in
When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God. When you exhale, it represents the service you are giving to the world
The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind & the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life
It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity
Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured
The Light that Yoga sheds on Life is something special. It is transformative. It does not just change the way we see things; it transforms the person who sees
All of us have a dormant spark of divinity in us which has to be fanned into flame by yoga
Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open
Words cannot convey the value of yoga. It has to be experienced
We can rise above our limitation, only once we recognize them
He who has learnt to control his tongue has attained self-control in a great measure. When such a person speaks he will be heard with respect and attention. His words will be remembered, for they will be good and true. When one who is established in truth prays with a pure heart, then things he really needs come to him when they are really needed: he does not have to run after them. The man firmly established in truth gets the fruit of his actions without apparently doing anything. God, the source of all truth, supplies his needs and looks after his welfare

Sundararaja Yogashraya

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