How to Live a Yogic Lifestyle
A yogic journey can be understood as devoting one’s body and time to oneself. Just the practice of yoga, does not make one a yogi, one must understand the core ideas and the history of when and how yoga originated.
Yoga originated in ancient India as a practice to evoke the spiritual self in a person. The ancient yogis of India dug deep into the human psyche to reach a self that was beyond all forms of man-made attachments. To start a yogic life, one had to first surrender themselves to the journey as a preparation. First they had to detach themselves from all ideas of the self that were created due to things like familial attachments, the lust, the love, the desire, the materialistic attachments, the honorary positions they upheld, the concept of their personality and behavioral patterns and the love for anything that kept them attached to the man-made idea of success and the world.
After their surrender to the yogic journey was the first step to the union. Which brings us to the meaning behind the word yoga; yoga is a Sanskrit word that translates to “the union”. With the practice of yoga, ancient yogis aimed to unite the powers of the physical body and the mental brain to get them to work together in a unique synchronization and inculcate a unique rhythm in their bodies.
For this union to happen, the body and the mind were to go through an intense training to improve the potential of the functioning of the body and the mind. And hence the eight limbs of yoga came into being. The eight limbs of yoga, ensured the proper practice and techniques required for the body to get into the routine of a yogi. The eight limbs are known as “ASHTANGA” in Sanskrit; Asht meaning “eight” and anga meaning “limbs”. These are the eight limbs of yoga:
This is a fundamental ethical percept of yoga and this means the use of restraint and the acceptance of moral vows and moral discipline. This is the orientation of the practice of yoga.
This is another fundamental ethical percept of yoga. This implies observance and making observance an ideal moral code in all the upcoming practices of yoga. Niyama implies personal observance.
Now this is a limb of yoga that is known to all. Sana implies bodily postures in order to strengthen capabilities and potentials of one’s body for the union.
Prana is a Sanskrit word for “life force”. Prana is what delivers the force of life to all parts of the body. Pranayama is the practice of breathing exercises and breath control as breath is the element that unites the body and the mind in oneself.
pratyahara denotes the withdrawal of the senses. Senses are the ability with which we receive the world. When you withdraw all your senses from functioning, it makes it easier for you to consciously choose the sense that you need to use during everyday situations; which means the experience of the world is filtered according to your needs and desires.
This denotes concentration in a focused way to achieve awareness of the internal conscious state of being. One needs to be aware of their internal state of mind in order to organize them in a better way, and hence dharana comes before dhyana.
This is understood as the Meditation and the absorption of the divine. After dharana, one’s mind becomes free of the influx of information, and is hence free to absorb the divine thoughts and make way for goodness to enter the mind. This is a practice of the mind that results in inner peace and understanding of the relation between oneself and everything that is external to oneself.
Samadhi is known as the union with the divine. It is the ultimate reward for the practice; it is the union that one seeks for, with the practice of yoga. This restorative limb of yoga helps one experience the enlightenment and the bliss of the entire practice.
After one has followed the ashtanga, they start to understand the ideal behind the practice of yoga and hence start the yogic journey.
However, in today’s date, yoga is just a practice to achieve a balanced sense of health and well being of the mind and a part of daily routines. In order to truly lead the yoga lifestyle there are a plenty of measures that one must fulfill with all devotion and faith in their spiritual selves.
A yoga lifestyle can be embarked upon in India, where there are revered schools that teach yoga to those who truly want to embark on a yogic journey. There are also many schools in India that teach yoga teacher training in Rishikesh for those who like to spread the hood word of holistic well being in people around them or in their community.
In order to truly lead a yogic lifestyle one has to:
1. Practice detachment
Detachment is a practice that makes you less susceptible to external forces. Detachment helps you with attaining the first limb of yoga, Yama. Once you practice restraint in your lifestyle, you will notice that life has automatically started to become a little less complicated than it used to be. You are then ready to take the vows of devotion to your spiritual self.
2. Observance as a habit
One must include observance in their habit. They must observe the way their body reacts to things, the way their mind works when they are taking a decision, how they react and perceive things and situations in daily lives and observation of the world and how it functions.
3. Practice asanas
You need to now strengthen your physical body to reach its optimum health. To reach your body’s best potentials and capabilities means that you will be free of ailments and all the other illnesses that prevent you from your growth.
4. Breath control
As explained earlier breath is the life force of the body. One has to practice breathing exercises and breath control, in order to help this life force reach all the parts of your body and make you more nimble and flexible in your everyday life.
Concentration or the withdrawing of senses and focusing it on one thing, is what one must practice before meditation. Meditation helps you organize your thoughts and resolve issues in your mind within itself and makes room for new thoughts and ways of thinking.
Relaxation must be an integral part of your day. This is when you are not affected by your external surroundings and are still in peace with your own self and absorbing energies around you that are blissful and divine.
One must start on a vegetarian diet for the body is a temple and you cannot pollute it with dead meat and the bacteria and viruses that inculcate within the dead meat. Vegetarian diet provides much more nutrition and rejuvenating energy than a non-vegetarian diet.