Yoga is a living tradition, a philosophy and a spiritual science that leads to a uniting of the body, mind, and spirit. The practice of yoga induces peace and well being on every level of our lives—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual—creating a personal transformation. It reveals the key to establishing and sustaining vitality, contentment and wisdom in our lives.
Yoga consists of a systematic series of techniques and methods which bring about a connection with our soul consciousness. Students are encouraged to realize this direct and personal experience for themselves through their own practice, self-discipline and study.
Over the millennia, yoga was primarily taught as an oral tradition although certain aspects of the teaching were committed to writing by the Indian sage, Patanjali. This short book presented a way for yoga to be practiced and studied and is still used today as a foundation for yoga practice. Patanjali describes yoga as an eight step process:
- compassion for all living things (ahimsa)
- commitment to the truth (satya)
- non-stealing (asteya)
- moderation (brahmacharya)
- non-grasping (aparigraha)
- purification (scaucha)
- contentment (santosha)
- burning enthusiasm (tapas)
- self-study (svadhyaya)
- celebration of the spiritual (Ishvar-pranidhana)
Asana (postures or poses)
Pranayama (regulation of the life force)
Pratyahara (sense withdrawal)