Intro to Yoga

You may not know that there are eight arms to yoga, and that postures – the physical workout is only one of the arms.

You are certainly not required to practice all 8 arms, I just thought you may find it interesting to know what some of the stated goals of yoga are!

The 8 arms of yoga are:

1) Yama (ethical standards)
The five yamas are: 1) non-injury, to do no harm, 2)honesty, 3) non-stealing 4) sexual restraint/abstinence
5) non greed

2) Niyama (self disciplines)
The five niyamas are 1) cleanliness, 2) contentment 3)integrity 4) introspection 5) surrender of misapprehension/acceptance of Reality

3) Asana (physical poses)

4) Pranayama breath control, techniques designed to gain mastery over the respiratory process while recognizing the connection between the breath, the mind, and the emotions. As implied by the literal translation of pranayama, “life force extension,” yogis believe that it not only rejuvenates the body but actually extends life itself.

5) Pratyahara withdrawal or sensory transcendence. The practice of pratyahara provides us with an opportunity to step back and take a look at ourselves. This withdrawal allows us to objectively observe our cravings: habits that are perhaps detrimental to our health and which likely interfere with our inner growth.

6) Dharana concentration. In the practice of concentration, which precedes meditation, we learn how to slow down the thinking process by concentrating on a single mental object: a specific energetic center in the body, an image, or the silent repetition of a sound.

7) Dhyana Meditation or contemplation. Although concentration (dharana) and meditation (dhyana) may appear to be one and the same, a fine line of distinction exists between these two stages. Where dharana practices one-pointed attention, dhyana is ultimately a state of being keenly aware without focus. At this stage, the mind has been quieted, and in the stillness it produces few or no thoughts at all. The strength and stamina it takes to reach this state of stillness is quite impressive. But don’t give up. While this may seem a difficult if not impossible task, remember that yoga is a process. Even though we may not attain the “picture perfect” pose, or the ideal state of consciousness, we benefit at every stage of our progress.

8) Samadhi Bliss or ecstasy