Yoga Basics Essay, Research Paper
KAITE HOOVER YOGA
A teeny intro
When I was in sixth grade, my friend and I found a book about yoga. We sorted through pictures of women in leotards doing poses that I found exhausting to look at. I never thought that I would fall in love with this thing called yoga. The reason I am in love with yoga is because it’s a complete way of life. To me, yoga is a philosophy, lifestyle, exercise, etc. It’s more complete and humbling than most religions, and yet most people seem to think it’s a trend. This is why I was afraid of this paper for so long, because it’s so spiritual and humbling, and I didn’t want to misrepresent such a beautiful way of life.
YOGA is a philosophy about life which can vibrantly refresh your mind and body. To understand it, think of a tree. A tree is comprised of a lot of smaller things that without them, the tree would not survive. A tree is comprised of roots, bark, leaves, flowers, fruit, branches, etc. Likewise, Yoga is comprised of a lot of smaller things that without them, Yoga wouldn’t survive.
To understand these smaller things, let’s start out by saying that in Yoga there is a threefold quest. The threefold quest consists of the external quest, the inner quest, and the spiritual quest.
The external quest consists of behaviors, actions, and things you do to your physical body. That is to say that the external quest comprises of things in the material world. These are: yama, niyama, asana, and pranayama.
YAMA is what we would call “ethical principles.” These would be beliefs and practices that one uses in daily life such as ahmisa, satya, asteya, brahmacharya, and aparigraha. Ahmisa means non-violence. Non-violence is very much a way of life and a way of thinking. It is the foundation for the others, because non-violence is a way of thinking, acting, treating yourself and others. Satya is truth, speaking and believing the truth in one’s life. Asteya is non-stealing, which means that one should not shoplift or steal from someone else. Brahmacharya is sexual moderation, meaning that while sex is natural and wonderful, it should be done moderately and with meaning. Aparigraha means non-coveting, which says that you shouldn’t covet what someone else has, whether that means someone else’s lover or partner, or someone else’s material clothing or beliefs.
NIYAMA is what we would call “individual disciplines.” Niyama consists of saucha, santosa, tapas, svadyaya, and isvara prandihana. Saucha means purity. Purity is everything; physical appearance, purity of soul and mind and deeds. Santosa means contentment, which says that you should be content with what you have and not covet what others have. Tapas is the word for austerity. If one is austere, then one can face adversity and hardship triumphantly and grow internally. Svadyaya is the study of the self, so that if you study yourself you will learn truth about yourself and reach self-actualization. Isvara Pranidhana is dedication to Allah, the creator. If you are dedicated to Allah, your life will be wonderful because your life is surrendered to the hands of your maker.
ASANA is the word for the yoga postures that my friend and I grimaced at. The Yoga postures are cleansing and exhausting. They exercise your brain and your body, and require focus, strength, and flexibility. When you do the asanas, your breath must be deep, even and requires concentration. This type of breathing is called pranayama.
PRANAYAMA is a conscious attempt to inhale, retain the breath, and exhale deeply. When inhaling, one must receive the essential energy with gratitude and with humility. When retaining the breath, one must hold it and praise the air for it’s giving. When exhaling, one must surrender all thoughts and emotions until the lungs are empty.
The internal quest consists of pranayama and pratyahara. The internal quest focuses on the mental state and all things internal; thoughts and internal body functions.
PRANAYAMA is deep, even breathing. See Above
PRATYAHARA is a withdrawal of the senses. This includes when you are practicing the poses, (the asanas) when you are deeply breathing in pranayama, and it seeks to unite the mind and senses into one whole and full being.
The spiritual quest consists of dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. The spiritual quest focuses on achieving moksha, or enlightenment from the material world.
DHARANA requires absolute concentration, with the mind remaining unmoved and untouched. This can bring about the effect of flowing intelligence and releases stress. If one is in the state of dharana for a prolonged period of time, one is considered in DHYANA. Dhyana means meditation, and if one is meditating for a prolonged period of time, one may attain moksha, or enlightenment. In yoga terms, this is called SAMADHI, whereas one is released from the material world and they stand as a light for everyone else as an example of peace and beauty.
A TEENY OUTRO
YOGA is a gift to the world, and in particular, me. I am so happy that I have taken this class and I hope to continue for the rest of my life, or until I attain moksha. Attaining Moksha is my main life goal, and I sincerely hope that I attain this goal. I think that with yoga and Allah in my life, anything is possible.