“As a lotus flower is born in water, grows in water and rises out of water to stand above it unsoiled, so I, born in the world, raised in the world having overcome the world, live unsoiled by the world
To keep the body in good health is a duty, for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom, and keep our mind strong and clear. Water surrounds the lotus flower, but does not wet its petals.”
The Buddha -- Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C

Friday, March 22, 2013


When i started to learn 'Yoga' about 5, 6 years ago in a community class i thought Yoga was an exercise that would make me flexible and strong.  In 2011 i took an Ayurveda class from my chiropractor i found out that Yoga is much, much more than an exercise. From the Ayurveda class i first heard about Patanjali Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita. Out of curiosity i asked my chiropractor's recommendation for books on these two subjects. What a revelation these books gave me on Yoga and in my humble opinion they are must-reads for all Yoga practitioners.

In reading these books realized i did not know what Yoga is about at all!  Yoga is not an exercise but a profound philosophy which teaches one to achieve self-realization and liberation of the soul.  Yoga philosophy also teaches one to cultivate oneself to serve humanity through a set of rules for character building and spiritual development.

The exercise or series of postures called asanas as practiced in Yoga studios  is merely the third of eight limbs mentioned in Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  Although practicing asanas will make one flexible and strong, the main purpose of the asanas is to quiet the mind to prepare one for meditation which will eventually lead to self-realization, and union of individual and universal conciousness.  According to BKS Iyengar, probably the greatest yoga teacher alive, "Yoga is not a therapeutic science at all.  Yoga is a science for liberating the soul by bringing the consciousness, the mind, and the body to a stage of integration".   Mr. Iyengar also considers practicing the asanas as meditation in action. Therefore,  if we just approach Yoga as a mean to bring about physical fullfillment then we might have short-changed ourselves, imho.

When i was writing on Ayurveda i mentioned that i would write a post on Yoga and i thought i would finish one very soon after but months have passed until now. The reason was that the more i learn about Yoga philosophy through reading books, articles, and practice the less courage i have on writing about this profound subject. Somehow i think that anything i write about Yoga could be very misleading unless i became a real yogi, which is unlikely to happen in this lifetime :-).   According to Mr Iyengar " All may be able to do yoga but only one in a million is fit to be called a yogi."   Therefore all i like to do is to share with you the writings about Yoga philosophy, written by yogis, that have inspired me in my practice.

I love to hear from you :-)


Books (more to come)

How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali
Bhagavad-Gita: The Song of God
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
The Tree of Yoga (Shambhala Classics)
Light on Yoga: Yoga Dipika
Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga

Note:  Regarding yoga asanas, I like to  follow the form created by BKS Iyengar.  The reason is because it pays great attention to detail on how different parts of the body should be precisely aligned in order to get maximum benefit and minimize the chance for injury.   Iyengar yoga (based on Hatha yoga) frequently uses props such as blocks, strap to help the body ease into the posture.   Iyenga teacher training is demanding and from this report there are 3892 Iyenga yoga teachers in the world and according to NAMASTA (North American Studio Alliance)  in 2005 there were 70000 people holding teaching certification in the North America alone.  In the US there are currently only 925 Iyenga teachers so in many parts of the country it is not easy to have a teacher close to where you live but if you could locate one  i strongly suggest that you  take the class if possible.  I am taking two classes, one Iyengar which concentrates on techniques, and one non-Iyengar which provides a flowing sequence like a workout.  I find this works best for me from the exercise standpoint.

In 2005 NAMASTA determined the figure of 70,000 yoga teachers based on both an estimate of the number of teachers who received training and readership surveys by the major yoga publications. The estimate includes people who might no longer be teaching and teachers who have received different levels of training. 

The picture at the top of the post was created from this photo using Photoshop ( i had so much fun! :-) )

Outer light


becomes inner light

two aspects of the same reality

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