Naturally Rockford: Guest Column: The unveiling of yoga and the path to clarity

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-118054519119686.jpg’, ‘Image courtesy of www.nowandzenlodi.com‘, ‘Yoga is not just a physical practice or a practice of meditation. It is an eight-fold path that spans all aspects of life, from moral precepts to complete spiritual freedom.‘);

So, what is yoga? If you asked 10 Americans that question, you may very well get 10 different answers, and none of them may be wrong, but their answers may be incomplete. Yoga is not just a physical practice or a practice of meditation. It is an eight-fold path that spans all aspects of life, from moral precepts to complete spiritual freedom. It is not just for Hindus or liberals or hippies, it is for anyone looking to be happier and healthier in this life, a universal practice that can bring any person to a better understanding of themselves, the world around them, and the divinity they believe in.

The word “yoga” is directly translated from the Sanskrit term “yuj,” meaning union or yolking. The union we look for through a complete yoga practice is that of our physical nature with our internal truth, or soul. The practice of yoga dates back to around 5400 B.C., beginning in the Vedic period of Indian civilization. It was passed down mainly by word of mouth, and then spread throughout India in various forms and writings.

Here in the West, the most prominent form of yoga is called Hatha-Yoga. The most basic definition is yoga of the body, but this does not mean that the only part of this yoga is solely the physical work called “Asana.” The other seven limbs are Yama (Universal vows), Niyama (personal observations), Pranayama (control or regulation of the breath), Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses from external objects to the internal Self), Dharana (mental concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (spiritual freedom).

Here in Rockford, we are given a wonderful opportunity to study yoga with all its depth and beauty at a studio called Pranayama. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the philosophical body of work that most classical yoga stems from, state that Pranayama removes the veil covering the light of knowledge and heralds the dawn of wisdom. At Pranayama Yoga Studio, we are dedicated to spreading yoga in its entirety and hope to share the gifts it brings with our students, thereby unveiling the light that is within each and every one of us and spreading it throughout the community.

from the May 30-June 5, 2007, issue

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