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|Concept of Yoga
|All misery comes
from fear, from unsatisfied desires. When man will find that he never dies,
he will have no more fear of death. When man knows that he is perfect, he
will have no more vain desires, and both these causes being absent, there
will be no more misery- there will be perfect bliss, even while in his body.
The only method to attain this knowledge is through concentration.
Just as the astronomer concentrates all the energies of his mind and projects them through his telescope upon the skies, and the stars, the sun and the moon give up their secrets to him. If man concentrates more on his thoughts, he will understand himself better. Just as the more you concentrate your thoughts while reading this piece of writing, the better you will understand the concept of Yoga.
There is so much one can know in this world. The world is ready to give up its secrets if we only know how to give it the necessary blow. The strength and force of the blow will come through concentration. There is no limit to the power of the human mind. The more concentrated it is, the more power is brought to bear on one point. This concentration can be achieved with the practice of Yoga.
The practical aspects of Yoga play a more important part than does its intellectual content, which is largely based on the philosophy of Sankhya, with the exception that Yoga assumes the existence of God, who is the model for the aspirant to spiritual release. Yoga holds with Samkhya that the achievement of spiritual liberation occurs when the self (purusha) is freed from the bondages of matter (prakriti) that have resulted because of ignorance and illusion. The Samkhya view of the evolution of the world through identifiable stages leads Yoga to an attempt to reverse this order, as it were, so that a person can increasingly dephenomenalize himself until the self re-enters its original state of purity and consciousness. Once the aspirant has learned to control and suppress the obscuring mental activities of his mind and has succeeded in ending his attachment to material objects, he will be able to enter samadhi-- i.e., a state of deep concentration that results in a blissful, ecstatic union with the ultimate.
Generally the Yoga process is described in eight stages ( astanga-yoga, "eight-membered Yoga") also called the eight limbs of Yoga.
The first five stages are called external aids to Yoga; the remaining three are purely mental or internal aids.
The first two stages are ethical preparations. They are called Yamas and Niyamas.
Yamas ("restraint"), denotes abstinence from injury (ahimsa), falsehood, stealing, lust, and avarice; and Niyamas ("observance"), which denotes cleanliness of the body, contentment, austerity, study, and devotion to God. These are the ethical precepts that allow us to be at peace with our family, our community, and ourselves.
The next two stages are physical preparations. They include the Asanas and Pranayam.
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