Article Summary:

What is yoga?

What Is Yoga?

Yoga means to be completely at peace within yourself. It is not possible to define this peace except to say it is freedom from all suffering, freedom from self-doubt and mental confusion. A sweet natural blessedness unfolds in you as you approach this peace, which is increasingly realized as the very essence of your life. This realization is called yoga: a clear awareness of the union or oneness of your body, mind and ego with the source of your life and consciousness.

Being established in the actuality of this knowledge, your life flows with a vital freshness and harmony, clear in mental alertness and sublime with loving compassion. This fully conscious state is infinitely expansive, creative and life-supportive.

Self-knowledge is possible due to the capacity of consciousness, through the human mind, to be self-reflective; in other words, you have the capacity to know the essence of your own life and mind. This potential has been researched, on the Indian sub-continent in particular, for thousands of years.

Yoga is one of countless explorations into this nature of consciousness and existence. Yogis have discovered, through intensely deep personal inquiry, that at the root of their own life exist infinite space, freedom and the ever-present moment, which is awareness.

Any temporal activities, situations or outcomes do not alter this unchanging space, whether of the physical world, the mind, or any interpersonal relationships. Therefore, when one finds, remembers and becomes established in identity as this, then there is not longer any need of the individual ego to have to prove superiority or to believe in thoughts of being inferior to anyone else. This pure space of your existence is not affected by the words of praise from anyone; neither are you diminished by criticism.

In this state of awareness the body and mind continue to function; the body moves and thoughts do not stop. But the belief that thinking equals reality is finished. A result is that thoughts of anxiety, anger, fear, neediness and confusion pass away and don't tend to recur.

Just as waves pass through the immensity of the ocean and are gone, leaving the ocean as it always is, so thoughts pass through the immensity of your consciousness and are gone, leaving you just as you always have been. A yogi is someone who engages in practices in order to realize this essential existence and the potential power of their own awareness.

Many schools of yoga practice have evolved in India over the last thousands of years such as:

Dhyaan Yoga - the practice of meditation in order to refine and increase the capacity of the mind to know life's true nature,

Mantr Yoga - repeating vibrations of sound to effect mental transformation,

Gyaan Yoga - realization through intellectual inquiry,

Bhakti Yoga - liberation through utter surrender to the will of the Divine,

Karm Yoga - freedom through selfless actions,

Hath and Tantr Yoga - engaging the body as vehicle and temple of prayer and practice.

The scripture "The Bhagavad Gita" describes most of these paths, showing that they can be simultaneous practices for the human who is striving to overcome fear or confusion. Each approach actually increases one's capacity to practice the other aspects.

The yogi sage Patanjali collected and pithily encoded the wisdom of thousands of previous years of meditation research, which had to that time been taught in oral traditions. He drew upon the metaphysics of the Saankhya school of philosophy while detailing techniques and stages of a yogi's practice, particularly of meditation.

Patanjali is commonly known for the eight distinct limbs of yoga practice he presented. Four of these are outer practices listing social and personal virtues as well as mentioning physical and breath exercises for the aspirant of yogic awareness. The four inner practices focus on meditation methods and results. Patanjali emphasized that the resultant apex of yoga awareness is of freedom, oneness and peace.

Yoga is known as one of the six major current philosophies in India, which, rather than being merely theoretical doctrines, aim to unfold the true existence of the student. Common to all six schools is that a human can evolve into a divine awareness of their life.

Padma is one of Canada's best-known teachers of meditation and yoga. Padma writes and hosts a daily national tv series called Living Yoga with Padma. She has also produced two instructional dvds.

Padma studied meditation in the Himalayas of India for eight years. She mastered Sanskrit texts of philosophy and is authorized to teach meditation and yoga by the director of the International Meditation Institute of India.

Padma?s program perfectly unites ancient eastern wisdom with modern western living. In Canada, she has been educating yoga teachers, doctors and corporate clients in the subtle yogic arts of healing the body and clearing the mind.

Padma was director of the Padma Yoga and Meditation Center in Vancouver, B.C., and currently leads courses and workshops. Padma holds a B.Sc. in Biology from McGill University, Canada.

To each of her classes, Padma brings a rich wisdom of physical, intellectual and spiritual knowledge. She aims to awaken a freshness, freedom and health in all aspects of our lives.

For more information visit: Padma

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