Most of the time when people think about yoga they simply imagine contorting their bodies into strange and awkward positions in hopes of keeping themselves in shape. I have to admit that I was one of those people. However, I have come to understand that the art of yoga is much more complex than I had ever imagined. This form of exercise, that I thought was restricted to famous people attempting to keep there movie star physiques, is becoming an epidemic among modern society. Yoga is much more than contorting your body into strange and somewhat un-normal positions.
Mind and Body explains that “Yoga is both philosophic and metaphysic conditioning. ” This art is also a general name for the controls and techniques that are used to create mythically the perfect body, mind, and spirit. Along with the above definition of yoga, we must look at it as one of the six systems of Indian philosophy “Darshanus”, meaning viewpoint or vision from the root (Hewitt). Yoga differs from all other systems because it is not content on the metaphysical knowledge, but has devised and presented practical techniques that allow intellectual understanding and can be reinforced by experimental knowing.
The fundamental principle of Yoga philosophy is that nothing exists beyond the mind and its consciousness. The objective of this philosophy is to dig up misconceptions about the existence of external ‘realities’ from the minds of men. It believes that it is possible to reach this stage of self realization through regular practice of yogic meditative processes that bring complete withdrawal or detachment from all false sources of knowledge and exposes an inner sense of balanced calm and tranquility (Mind and Body).
The sense of meditative healing and yogic philosophy works on the five states of the mind, the five modifications of the mind, and the nine impediments of the mind. To begin the philosophy exposes the five states of the mind which include; disturbed, confused, distracted, concentrated, and completely balanced. “The first three stages are causes of impediment to the mind and are considered negative. ” says Hewitt. The last two stages of mind are positive and engaging to meditation.
Various yogic practices are designed for achieving these two particular states of mind. The yogic philosophy also breaks down the forms of thought or modifications of the mind into fives stages. These stages include; comprehension, misunderstanding, conceptualization, deep sleep, and memory. The knowledge gained from either sensory or inner perception, inference, or verbal authority is all considered to be true knowledge according to yoga. However deep sleep, conceptualization, and memory are looked at as negative modifications to the mind in particular forms.
(Mind and Body) Last are the nine impediments of the mind that define the yogic philosophy. Sickness, incompetence, doubt, delusion, fatigue, overindulgence, confusion, lack of perseverance, and regression are all results of the modifications to the mind and forms of thought. These nine conditions are the greatest causes of all sorrows, miseries and pain, which disturb the mind and result in distractions and loss of mental tranquility. Knowing all this changes my entire outlook on yoga.
I understand that this art that people engage in is much more complex than simply body positions and the humming that I often associated with this practice. The philosophy of yoga encompasses all the elements of mind, body, and spirit. References “Mind Body Focused”. August 29, 2008 . Claire, Thomas. Yoga for Men : Postures for Healthy, Stress-free Living . Franklin Lakes: The Career Press, 2004. Hewitt, James. The Complete YOGA Book. London : Hutchison Publishing Group Limited, 1977.