Finding ease within yourself
Yoga is a system of practices that awaken you to the present moment. The English translation of yoga is “to yoke; to tie together”. The goal of yoga is awareness: a state of mind that simultaneously experiences all that is active in the environment, in the body and in the mind. To tie or yoke these active components together as a single reality is to live in the present moment. Raja yoga is the royal path of yoga. It is one of four main yogic paths. It outlines how to achieve the goal of yoga by following these eight practices:
1.) Yama are the five moral vows: non-violence, truthfulness, not stealing, not indulging in sensory pleasures and non-greediness.
2.) Niyama are duties to yourself: cleanliness, contentment, self-regulation of desires, self-study/self-reflection and contemplation of your connection with the universe.
3.) Asana is holding a posture while using breath and micro movements to expand your body.
4.) Pranayama: using breathing practices to regulate breath and still the mind.
5.) Pratyahara: mastery of the senses. Choosing where your awareness goes.
6.) Dharana: developing single pointed awareness.
7.) Dhyana: letting go of single pointed awareness to become aware of all that is active within and outside of you. This is meditation.
8.) Samadhi: sensing your connection with all of creation.
Samadhi is the final goal of the yogic practices.