What is yoga?

On this page I would like to give you an overview about what YOGA is. Since its such a popular topic on social media I have a feeling it often gets mistaken for only being a physical practice. Yoga is a lot more and its physical practice (the asanas) is only one part out of eight (the 8 limbs of Yoga by Patanjali). The ethical part of yoga is massive and if you see advertisements of very expensive yoga clothes with very skinny models or apps who want you to burn fat with yoga then this might be a bit misleading. Yoga doesn’t need a skinny body, it doesn’t need hyper flexibility, handstands or money to buy expensive gear from very commercial corporate companies. Yoga is a life choice and once you get into it, it simply leads you to your true self.

THE EIGHT LIMBS OF YOGA – ASHTANGA MARGA BY PATANJALI

1. Yamas

Amhimsa – no violence

No destructive actions, words or thoughts. Responsible use of our environment and other living beings. It also includes to choose the least destructive way of dealing with difficult situations.

Satya – no lies

This is more referring to authenticity then to unconditional honesty. To not pretend something, even not out of false consideration and to choose the best and least harming words for honesty.

Asteya – no stealing

To not take something which isn’t yours (No objects, no actions, no thoughts). To not steal someone else’s ideas and to not adorn yourself with borrowed plumes. It also means to not betray somebodies trust.

Brahmachrya – moderation

Moderation in all areas of life and focus on the essentials.

Aparigraha – no hoarding

Conscious consumption and the inner attitude of modesty.

2.Niyamas

Schaucha – cleanliness

Personal hygiene, conscious eating, continuity in the asana practice

Santosha – contentment

Being satisfied with what is and what you’ve got. Accept oneself as well as the personal circumstances.

tapas – self discipline / inner fire

A burning flame by which the obstacles to achieving our goal are incinerated.

svadhyaya – self-study

Originally from studying the old sacred writing, but it also refers to the ability of self reflection.

ishvara pranidhana – trust in a higher power

Dedicate, devote, surrender. Accept own limitations and know that not everything is within ones power or influence.

3.asanas

Practice with stability and ease. Go to your limits but don’t go beyond.

4. pranayama

Conscious control of the breath. Body and mind start to calm, blockades break down and energy can flow

5. pratyahara

Detachment. Withdrawal of the senses.

6. Dharana

Total focus and immersion. The total concentration of the mind.

7. Dhyana

Meditation. Surrender. No Judgement.

8. samadhi

The highest. Inner freedom. The pure self. Bliss.



Yoga MariSol – What’s Yoga?