Yogais founded on non-violence (Ahimsa). We cannot be on the path of Yoga without compassion. Yoga is the realization of the Self, the only truth linking together all the different species of the world. Wecannotseparate different types of yoga:
Jnana yoga: its goal being to reach transcendental knowledge
Bhakti yoga: the way of devotion, which aims for adoration or Love
Karma yoga: the way of helping others, through actions without personal interest
These three yogas are the trimarga, the path towards awakening.
Raja yoga, also called yoga of the Kings or Ashtanga yoga, is an approach of yoga inspired bythe yoga sutras written by Patanjali.
When the term Ashtanga is associated with Yoga, it refers to the 8 steps of yoga :
1 - Yama is the set of rules concerning relation to others
2 - Nyama is the set of rules concerning relation to self
3- Asanas is the set of postures that help to purify, vivify, and magnetize the body, fortifying articulations for an enhanced solidity and balancing the skeleton. Standing postures reinforce agility and stamina.
By guiding the body from top to bottom, physical structure and muscular chains are in perpetual movement, rendering the body more athletic.
Some postures help us to become aware of subtle, powerful and abundant energy, plunging us instantaneously into the concentration necessary for us to find balance.
Throughtheaccuracy of our alignments, reached through patience and perseverance, we find a sensation of stillness within our own bodies.
4 – Pranayama is the control of breathing, the breath of life, the length of time within a cycle of breathing, its restriction, expansion, and stretching. Practicing Pranayama correctly helps to purify the essential channels of life on earth and to eliminate stress.
5 – Pratyhara is the control of the senses, which aims for stability. It acts by drawing focus on the rhythm of the breath. The outcome is a peaceful and controlled mind, allowing us to achieve a concentration that can bypass the input of the senses.
6 – Dharana is focus. All our attention is focused on only one object. Our gaze, in a subtle and penetrating softness, is as if magnetized by energy.
7 – Dhyana leads us to contemplation, in a deep meditative state where thoughts no longer exist.
– Samadhi (contemplation), or the nirvana state, is the ultimate step of this 8-step yoga: the absolute achievement, the fruit from the tree.
To reach it, we have to climb up to the highest branches until we are able to contemplate the whole.
It is the fruit that gives the seeds for the next generation of trees. This step cannot be separated from the first one. Only patience, altruism, compassion, humility lead us there. We want our actions to lead us on this path (without skipping steps, letting it become steep and dangerous) towards this supreme state.
The goal of yoga is to seek harmony, aunity of body and mind that guides us to the state of Sattva (Light, Brightness…). In other words, the prevention or cessation of mental modifications (manas), the roots of karma itself.
Postures (this has nothing to do with "stretching”) help us examine the weaknesses of the mind, to take the time to understand how to act in order to make them dissolve.
Through the accuracy of our alignments, reached with patience and perseverance, we find a sensation of stillness within our own bodies and a strong spine, allowing all body and back pains generally disappear.
With regular practice, the upper part of the heart opens up to the upper part of the body linked to the subtle senses, which helps to open the mind and to see more clearly.
It is at this moment that a new state ofconfidence can be born.
Further, this self-confidence helps to control the rhythm of the heart, to learn to take time, and to understand the reality of this present, when the connection between the Self and matter is in harmony, relaxation and pleasure.
The body always offers new horizons. By better listening toour bodies, it becomes what it is: flexible, agile. It is the best instrument to open our consciousness, the most beautiful of holy edifices.
This is why practicing yoga should be on a regular basis. So we don’t lose this confidence, so we have a just view of our senses and bodies, often neglected in daily-life.
Practicing Asanas links usefulness to matter, and to the deep and infinite meaning of action. This is why it is not a waste of time to be patient, to discover ourselves with effort and will, without competition.
During Asanas, while practicing the sequence of postures, pranic energy (vital energy) flows. From beginning to end, the uninterrupted flow of the breath activates the Agni (the internal fire, nourishing the Mind within us).
Yoga is also about not feeding the ego, which prevents us from growing towards a just consciousness of the Self.
This harmony lies in the present moment and is potentially accessible to every human being.
"At the heart of yoga there is an important message: every human being is naturally balanced and full, for the Self cannot be destructed or damaged. This is our inner nature, and yoga is the way to a greater consciousness of this inner entity”: the Self. When we follow systematically the path of yoga, this becomes of great importance in our lives.
Inwardly, it allows us to act according to our needs, to our most cherished intentions and values. Outwardly, it teaches us to strengthen the body, to relax and balance our nervous system and to find peace and concentration on an object. In conclusion, yoga is said to lead directly to the realization of our true nature.
Yoga is a non-exclusive philosophy. All beliefs, religious or humanist, can fit in it. However yoga is not a religion. Offering union, religious choices and others are respected. Since what is essential is to stop disruptions of the mind, it implies: respect of others, peace and non-violence (Ahimsà). This is why the first step of yoga is learning to change our eating habits, to go toward a vegetarian or vegan diet, to feed the body with Peace.
Traditionally, Hatha Yoga is not a soft form of gymnastics, but a whole spiritual path. There are different practices or physical exercises in it that are more dynamic, such as Ashtanga Vinyasa, sometimes better suited to athletic people. But the interest of Hatha yoga is to activate the body to link the energy channels called "Nadis”. It is said we have 72000 of them, including the 7 chakras along the spine.
Thus, practicing Hatha yoga leads to the awakening of Kundalini, the primary energy existing in every human being and moving inside Sushumna, the main channel located along the spine. This channel’s basis is found around the coccyx in the perinea, and goes up to the top of the head (fontanelle).This technique allows the ascending and descending streams flowing through the main energy channels (left channel: ida, right channel: pingala) to combine.
Thisis one form of Kryia, which refers to action, process or movement, especially when internal Prana and concentration bloom. Purification and transformation born of yoga techniques thus prepare us for deep meditation.
In the morning’s night, my heart in one, the Earth turnstowards the day. The whole of my being lightens up. My step, aware of its lessened movement, renders me immobile, faced with my being that passes by far away on the unseen and infinite line, returning me to find my heart once again.