Psycho-Spiritual training for peaceful children By: Melba Ariza, M.A.
The Yoga System of Patanjali What is yoga? Yoga means “union”. It is the union of the individual with the universal; inner with outer, finite with infinite. Yoga is a very specific science because its materials are our own bodies. But it is ours the motivation to pursue the path and reach the end. Union of body, mind and spirit through the practice of postures for the body, meditation for the mind and the integration of our sprit in every act of our life.
Yogic action The “Yogic action” has three components: discipline, self study and orientation toward the ideal of “pure awareness.”
In a Yogic Action: discipline provides the energy; self study serves as a road map; and pure awareness, as exemplified by the divine Isvara (God), is the destination.
Yoga’s eight Limbs Yoga has eight limbs or parts in the “path to realization”. Patanjali recommends to follow the eight limbs of yoga which include: rules of behavior (yamas), Observances (niyamas), postures (asanas), control of breath (pranayamas), withdrawal from the outside sensory world (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana) and non dual consciousness (Samadhi).
Importance of the eight limbs of yoga: Patanjali begins to lay out the eight limbs of Yoga pointing out: that this path leads from external to internal, and from ignorance to realization. We need first to identify one’s ignorance as the root cause of suffering. Humans tend to make up and adorn life experience and it is not until we realize this tendency that we can start heading to the right direction, towards the supreme objective which is pure awareness.
Niyama & Yama as the Ten Commandments When we learn about the yama and niyama, we can associate them with the ten commandments of Christianity. However, from the point of view of yoga we realize that yama and niyama have a more precise and practical reason to be accepted because they serve as the map to our self realization and liberation, the ultimate goal of all humans.
What are Yamas? The rules of morality which are in the form of prohibitions. When they are kept by each individual –there is a great course of conduct.
Yama Yama is the observance of psychological restraint (control). It is the first limb of yoga because all our actions are colored by our underlying motivations. Yama comprises five restraining tendencies, which are not absolute moral commandments but psychological restrictions to a still mind, without which progress in yoga will miss us.
Yama includes: Non-violence. Non-violence is more than restraining from physical force. Violent thoughts, such as those of anger or resentment, also disturb the mind. Gossip is equally damaging. Both, verbalized gossip and inner gossip are destructive to calmness of mind. Honesty. It is a part of the practice of honesty to examine our actions, our words and our thoughts, and refrain from any distortion of the truth. While honesty means to refrain from telling lies it also means not hiding the truth from others and ourselves in order to be acceptable or in order not to be exposed. So much of our thought is taken up with distortion of our feelings and intentions.
Non-stealing. Non-stealing also means not taking that which is not freely given. Through it patience and humility are also cultivated. Continence. Rather than implying celibacy, this restrain refers to not indulging in sex as a means of escaping from awareness. So much sexual activity, whether physical or in fantasy, is pursued solely as a means to escape from the boredom or discomfort of reality. Non-coveting. The satisfaction of desire by external objects or situations is always temporary. It soon follows by discontent which leads to more and more desire. Only by letting go of desire for what we do not have can the mind become quiet and allow the cultivation of inner awareness that leads to the goal of yoga.
What are Niyama? Niyama is the second limb of yoga. It comprises the five qualities needed as a basis for yoga practice. These qualities provide the driving fuel that ignites and drives the yogi on his way. Without them the fruit of practice become intermittent and insincere until it is dropped altogether.
Niyama includes: Purity. Purity of body mind and action are essential to yoga. The body, nourished by health-giving foods, must be a source of strength and energy. Purity of mind is brought about through the practice of yama. Purity of action is when the mind and body are fully engaged on the task in hand; there is no separation between mental and physical activity. Along with the physical purity that brings good health and the psychological purity cultivated through the practice of yama, purity of action is vital to yoga practice. It is of little value to practice yogic techniques absent-mindedly, or while wishing to be in another time or place.
Niyama includes: Contentment. The ability to be content with little is vital to yoga practice. A mind that is driven by desire for more will be unable to stay still enough or present enough to enter deeply into the practice of yoga. If we have no contentment we are unable to motivate ourselves to establish the stillness and quietness basic to yoga practice. If we are able to practice yoga, then contentment naturally follows from our regular practice as it wears away the binding of desire, and releases us from the habitual anxiety that desire generates.
Niyama includes: Commitment. The yogi must have commitment to his practice; if not he will be inconsistent and will never benefit from the fruits of his efforts. The pressures and distractions of life are so constant and so potent that their effects cannot be avoided other than by constant redirection or our awareness into the present. If we stop our practice then we soon slip back into the bondage of desire and attachment and its false promise of happiness.
Niyama includes: Self-knowledge. As the yogi progresses self-knowledge automatically develops. This knowledge, both of limitations and limitlessness problems and potentials, aids in practice and helps to maintain the necessary commitment. Surrender. In the beginning the yogi must surrender to the methods of yoga. With regular practice this surrender becomes more and more natural as we let go of the grasping quality of mind that kept us bound to desire. When our surrender is complete, when we are no longer concerned with establishing external security and
Obstacles The obstacles to Self realization are restrictions self imposed by the fluctuation of the consciousness of the individual due to the mind instability. The aim of these paths is to remove obstacles to Self- expression and to help the Self attain its freedom.
Goal of Yoga For thousands of years the practice of yoga has been substantiated by the experience of many yogis who have attained great joy, peace and complete fulfillment beyond the external force from the senses. Some call it knowledge of God and some others call it enlightenment.
Goal of Yoga What matters the most is the effect of yoga, which includes: vitality, health, peace compassion, generosity, understanding and more.
Goal of Yoga Yoga is a system of mental and physical training with prescribed postures, breathing exercises, meditation and relaxation. It affords to men: 1) longevity, 2) resistance to disease, 3) growth of a beautiful body, and 4) mental and spiritual sublimation. Some yogis may reach self-realization through self- knowledge by the practice of Yoga.
Yoga Practice Yoga practice helps us to work with: our limitations and troubles and allows us to create a better relationship with our emotions. We learn to let go of our identification with passing feelings by simply accepting them and experiencing them. We do not repress or make them a source of unconscious conflict. We take responsibility for them and direct them toward the creative process of our life, recognizing, rectifying, and avoiding future harm.