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  • Writer's pictureDana Verbytska

What do you think of when you hear the word Yoga?

What do you think when you hear the word yoga?

Is it an overrated hype which attracts wanna-be-aware and spiritual individuals showcasing their activewear?

Or is it just a boring, monotonous form of exercise for those who are looking for an easy way out?

Is it a religion or a cult?

Is it something that your mother or your aunt does? The list goes on…

But let’s find out what it really means

Whereas there are many styles and paths of yoga out there the most common is Raja yoga or commonly known as the path of 8 limbs.

Yama - self-control

Niyama- discipline

Asana - physical practice

Pranayama- breath exercises

Pratyahara - withdrawal of the senses

Dharana - concentration

Dhyana - meditation

Samadhi - complete realisation

If all of the above went straight over your head don’t worry.

Let’s come back to how the mind interprets things including the very word YOGA.

So, it turns out our mind (Citta) has different parts:

The basic mind is called ahamkara or ego, the "I" feeling.

This gives rise to the intellect or discriminative faculty which is called buddhi.

Another stage is called manas, the desiring part of the mind which gets attracted to the outside things through the senses.

Imagine, you’re sitting quietly enjoying the solitude when a delicious smell comes from the kitchen. The moment the manas (senses) record, “I’m getting a nice smell from somewhere”, the buddhi (intellect) discriminates, “What is that smell? I think it’s an apple pie. The same pie my grandma used to make. How nice!

Then ahamkara, (the I ) says, “Then I should have it.”

Those three things happen at once but we rarely distinguish between them. And just like that, your sense of peace is disturbed. And unless you get up and go to the kitchen and have a slice of that pie your mind will not relax.

So the whole point of yoga is to acquire the discipline of the mind to observe and restrain modifications (ripples) of the mind so that you’re not easily swayed by its modifications and are able to feel grounded at any given point.

You ask how long will it take. It all depends, it might take you a couple of months, a year or a lifetime but it’s sure worthwhile giving it a shot!

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