“The witnessing soul is like the sky. The birds fly in the sky but they don't leave any footprints…The man who is awakened lives in such a way that he leaves no footprints…He never looks ahead, he never looks back, he lives in the moment”.
THE ORIGINS OF YOGA
The exact origins of yoga are not known however, yoga is said to be the oldest physical discipline in existence. Through archaeological excavations made in the Indus Valley at Harappa and Mohenjodaro now in modern Pakistan, many statues have been found of deities depicting Lord Shiva and Parvati performing yoga postures. Shiva is said to be the founder of yoga and the embodiment of pure consciousness and Parvati (Mother of the universe) was his first disciple. It has been estimated that yoga could have been in existence for 10,000 years or more.
According to mythical tradition, yoga began at the beginning of human civilization when man first became aware of his spiritual purpose and then began to refine these techniques and further develop the discipline. As yoga began to evolve the ancient Sages slowly developed the science of yoga. In ancient times yoga techniques were passed on from Teacher or Guru to disciple by word of mouth. Through their own personal experience these realized Yogis and Sages were able to guide their students along the right path.
THE MEANING OF YOGA
The word Yoga has its roots in the Sanskrit language. Yoga means 'union'; it is a state of union between two opposing forces or polarities. In yoga these two opposing forces are termed Shiva and Shakti. Shiva is the male principle and represents (pure consciousness). Shakti is the female principle and represents (vital energy). It may be easily understood if we equate these two forces with the Yin and Yang.
- Shiva - Male - Yang
- Shakti - Female - Yin
These two forces known as Shiva and Shakti may also be explained as the union of body and mind, the union of individual awareness and universal awareness. Yoga is the process of uniting these opposing forces in the body and the mind in order to realize the spiritual essence of our own being.
Hatha Yoga is a form of exercise based on the understanding that the body and the breath are intimately connected with the mind, therefore by controlling the breath and holding the body in a steady posture for a period of time, yoga creates a deep sense of peace and harmony within the individual. Through the practice of yoga, one is able to bring about balance and harmony on the mental, physical and emotional levels allowing the practitioner to withdraw the senses from the external world and discover the peace, tranquillity and beauty that lies within. Through the coordination of the physical postures, breathing techniques, relaxation and meditation practices one is able to achieve this state of balance and harmony and a real sense of wellbeing.
The underlying purpose of all the different aspects of a yoga practice is to reunite the individual self with the "Absolute" or pure consciousness. To unite with this unchanging reality liberates the Spirit from all sense of separation, freeing it from the illusion of time, space and causation. It is solely due to our own limited understanding that we are not able to discriminate between the "real" and the "unreal", which prevents us from realizing our true nature.
It is said that the human Spirit often perceives that something is missing or lacking in our lives, a void, something that cannot be filled, and we spend much of our lives searching for that something that is missing, but can cannot seem to find it. We search for happiness, material wealth, love, name, fame, and we constantly seek out change in our lives, but we are all too often looking in the wrong places. Pure joy and happiness is our real nature, some say it is our birth right, we cannot find this everlasting happiness because it is only to be found within, and not in the external world. Yoga provides each one of us with the opportunity to discover that "true Self", that pure blissful living being.
ABOUT HATHA YOGA
Hatha Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual discipline dating back to Vedic time. To experience yoga is to experience oneness and unity with the inner being. Yoga is a state of integration, if practiced regularly it brings about a sense of joy, radiance and freedom. Yoga is union or a reintegration of ourselves with our 'True Self' the higher being that resides within each of us and is unquestionably the greatest of all human goals.
Hatha Yoga aims to integrate body, breath, mind, and the senses; it aims to bring about true peace and harmony to all levels of our being. Hatha Yoga can provide us with the opportunity to achieve this balance through the practice of asana, pranayama, mudra, bandha, relaxation and meditation practices.
TRADITIONAL HATHA YOGA PRACTICES INCLUDE:
Lead me from the
"unreal" to the "real",
From death to immortality.
May all beings
May all beings attain oneness,
May all beings attain fulfillment,
May all beings
May all beings