In India, there are 6 classical philosophical systems called Shad Darshana. Shad means six and Darshana means Philosophy. Yoga is one of the philosophical systems and has been formulated by the founder, Patanjali.
Other philosophies include:
ーNYAYA / VAISHESHIKA
ーSAMKYA / YOGA
ーMIMMAMSA / VEDANTA
(These words were originally written in Sanskrit, thus the spelling may differ depending on the interpreter.)
One of the scriptures of yoga is Yoga Sutra. It was compiled prior to 400CE by Patanjali.
The word Sutra translates to “thread” and each section of the sutra is tersely formulated. There are 4 chapters (or Padas) and 195 aphorisms (or Sutras). Each chapter has a theme and each aphorism is written in line with the various themes that gives us life hints, goals, realizations, precautions in a very simplified yet precise manner. The original texts were written in Sanskrit and have been translated into languages from all over the world. It is an essential guide book for those studying yoga.
In our Yoga101 Workshop, we are going to introduce a famous Sutra from the book.
Yoga is a Reminder
When I started practicing yoga, I thought I wanted to be better, I wanted to change, but in a vague manner. I didn’t know where to start. Neither did I have a specific plan. I ended up not doing much.
Once I started practicing yoga, and what I mean by this is not just the physical movements, but studying the philosophy, my view towards yoga completely changed.
It no longer became a hobby or an after-work lesson. It became a lifestyle. The way I perceived my thoughts, actions, and all aspects of my life started to change.
For example, why do we eat?
Is it to make us full? Or to satisfy our taste buds?
I realized that through my yoga studies, we eat because it directly becomes our energy source.
It sounds very simple and obvious, but bringing me back to the basics was what yoga taught me.
“How do we view the world?” is a big theme in the Darshanas I mentioned earlier.
This means to have a healthy mind and body, to be humane, and to enjoy life.
Why Yoga 101?
Through our Yoga 101 workshop, we want everyone to have and value their own practice. We want everyone to realize that moving the body is just one subject of the big picture. That there’s more to yoga. That is why we decided to share this workshop with everyone.
In the present-day society, we always seek for answers. It’s so easy to search about the yoga philosophies on google. However, reading it doesn’t become knowledge.
Do you remember the first time you rode a bike? Your parent or family or friend probably explained to you the steps and tips. Then boom! You were able to ride it! It probably wasn’t that easy. You rode it multiple times, falling over, and getting up again and again and again. You brushed up your skills over time through practice.
Yoga is just like riding a bike.
You learn the concept, and you put it into practice.
You probably read or heard all the benefits of yoga. However, the biggest benefit is to practice it yourself and feel it for yourself. Only then, you will be able to call it yours.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still in the middle of my journey.
Whether it be self-care, lifestyle, or wellness, there’s different angles you can try to tackle yoga.
Dec 8, 2010 from 14:30-16:00
Excited to meet you all on the mat for the Yoga101 Workshop!
Where does yoga lead us?
Is your goal to raise your leg the highest? Or to hold inversions the longest? Or to be the most flexible or to build muscle? Or are you here to lose weight?
What are you trying to get out of yoga?
In my class, I occasionally say, “Don’t fight in the asana.”
Humans naturally have a huge ego and have a tendency to (maybe unconsciously) think “Iwant my pose to look the best in this class.”
This deeply rooted concept can be let go through practice of yoga.
Within the eight limbs, there is Niyama which represent self-discipline that should be performed in your daily life. Further, one of the Niyamas is Santosha.
In sanskrit Santosha means ‘satisfaction’. Are you all satisfied? Us humans have a tendency to look towards things we don’t have.
Even celebrities who seem to ‘have it all’ are not necessarily always satisfied. Amongst them, some may feel miserable. We periodically see on the news that they get addicted to drugs or sadly commit suicide.
All humans have a difficult time maintaining the state of satisfaction.
For example, you see a beautiful dress or a gorgeous watch and you want to buy it. You decide to work hard, save money, and go buy these items. At first, you feel extremely happy that you possess these items and use them with great care.After a while, you walk past that store and see new items on display. You strongly feel the need to buy those as well.
This is probably something we’ve all experienced.
Through this example, you can see that humans are particularly terrible at keeping the state of satisfaction going.
Musk Deer Example
Here’sa story of a musk deer. One day, this deer smelled a lovely scent frome somewhere. So, he started searching for the smell. He walked and walked, but couldn’tdetect where the fragrance came from. Then, he realized that he himself was the root of the smell.
We usually get carried away with the fast moving environment and don’t have time to realize that the most important things are already with you and inside of you.
With our hatha yoga practice, it is possible to train our mind and body to be in a consistent state of satisfaction.
So, it’s ok if you pose is not perfect. First, place yourself in an environment to practice yoga. Feel grateful, and be satisfied. Although you may not have a perfect asana, pat yourself on the back for not running away from your practice and putting in the effort. Then, focus on your breathing and focus your attention to your mind and body.
Being a yoga instructor doesn’t liberate you from these desires. I still feel envious of others and of things I don’t possess. It’s important to continue your practice throughout your lifetime
As mentioned before, it’s difficult to always feel satisfied. I hope that through practice, the duration of satisfaction slowly multiplies. And don’t hesitate to take your practice off the mat!
Yoga has a purification method called “Kriya Yoga” to remove toxins from the body. Among them, I practice nose cleanse, tongue cleanse, and eye purification.
Morning time is when the ama (toxins) are discharged. Thus, after brushing my teeth, it has become my ritual to preform tongue cleansing.
Let me introduce to you an Ayurvedic tongue cleansing technique that originated from India.
My tongue scraper is made of copper. Copper is known to have high antibacterial effect and works very well on bad breath. After performing my tongue cleanse, I can notice better oral hygiene.
“My tongue is this dirty?” would probably be your first impression after you scrape off the white toxins from your tongue. I was shocked when I first conducted this procedure. However, after perusing the steps, my tongue felt surprisingly beautiful, and exhilarating!
Besides asanas, there are the eight limbs of yoga known as ashtanga. In that are the yamas and niyamas also introduced in the yoga sutras. Niyamas represent self-discipline that should be performed in your daily life. Out of the five niyamas is Saucha or cleanliness.
Saucha means to keep your body and heart always clean. It’s important to keep your appearance neat, but also our surrounding environment, too.
This includes your oral hygiene so don’t forget to clean your mouth!
*Note: I purchased this copper tongue scraper at Organic Life Tokyo event two years ago for 1000 yen. You can also purchase it on Amazon.