How Yoga Works: The Philosophy and Principles of Yoga

Although postures and positions come to mind when it comes to yoga, actually yoga also has other unknown effects. From lifestyle to nutrition, yoga also contains a different philosophy. Yoga is a 5,000-year-old science of breathing and movement that develops strength, flexibility, balance, and focus. But practicing yoga is not just breathing or focusing on that moment, as thought. Yoga is also a way of life. So do you know how yoga actually works?

Yoga works as a system that has its own philosophy and principles. It is not a religion, and definitely not a sport. The roots of the art of yoga come from ancient India. Yoga has become the main way of connecting body and mind. Practicing yoga helps increase flexibility, and its relaxing meditation qualities can also relieve stress and tension. It provides a completely unique form to keep your body fit and strong while keeping your mind healthy and stress-free.

The Principles of Yoga: How They Work?

Although Yoga is becoming widespread throughout the world, only Yoga Asanas, namely physical exercises and a few basic breathing exercises, are taught under the name of Yoga, while the issue of eliminating mental illnesses and spiritual education is not mentioned. There is no doubt that these studies are also beneficial, but the effect of Yoga is limited because the purification of the mind is not emphasized, because 90% of physical complaints and ailments are caused by the mind. The Hatha Yoga System is a Perfect Yoga System. It contains both material and spiritual information that makes physical, mental, and mental health perfect.

Hatha Yoga practices allow the subtle energy channels to open and the energy to move freely. With Pranayama exercises, the mind stops, so that we become aware of the light within us. In this way, Hatha Yoga prepares us for Meditation practice. Hatha Yoga practices aiming at mind-management and perfect physical health are carried out within the framework of the Five Basic Principles. So what are these five miraculous principles that offer you a healthy, happy, and successful life?

  • Principle 1 – Proper Relaxation

In daily life, even while we are asleep, we constantly consume energy without realizing it. Our mind and body are busy with material activities during the day and dreaming instead of resting in sleep in the evening. That’s why we are mentally and physically tired all the time; We wake up tired in the mornings and cannot find enough energy for our daily activities.

Staying healthy and young, not getting sick frequently, extending life, strengthening the nervous system, reaching desires and desires depends on the mental and physical energy level. In yoga classes, one learns to relax and be filled with energy. His energy rises, his mood changes, he leads a more conscious, more peaceful, more successful, and happier life.

  • Principle 2 – Proper Movement (Asana)

Yoga movements, including mental work, aim to work, balance, heal, and manage different parts of the body. The effect of physical exercises applied by ignoring the effect of the mind is short-lived.

  • Principle 3 – Proper Breath (Pranayama)

Breath is life! The lungs trap the “prana” (vital energy) in the air in the body. All functions of the body, such as speaking, thinking, and moving, take place thanks to “prana”. When the “Prana” is not taken enough, all functions slow down; Mental problems such as forgetfulness and difficulty in learning arise; internal organs can no longer function as before; muscles lose strength and the body loses resistance. However, all of these are prevented by natural breathing, correct breathing, and deep breathing techniques taught in yoga classes. Since breathing is directly linked to the nervous system; The person attains a healthier, younger, and more beautiful, calmer, and more peaceful structure.

The word meaning of pranayama is to transform/expand the pranic energy in the body. It is generally known as just a breathing technique such as breathing in and out. It is true, but not limited to, that the level of prana (energy) in the body increases through pranayama. ‘Prana’ is a life-giving energy that is more subtle than oxygen and is omnipresent. In Pranayama, special breathing exercises are used to support this vital force.

Our way of life deeply affects the pranic forces. Our activities; sleep, diet, thoughts, senses all affect our Prana. The disorder, randomness, and confusion in the lifestyle consume pranic energy and lead to pranic blockages. Therefore, we feel exhausted and exhausted from time to time. Depletion of pranic powers leads to diseases in organs and muscles. Pranayama exercises strengthen these forces and balance the five pranas in the body. Pranayama is a science, education, and practice that takes one to the spiritual dimension.

  • Principle 4 – Proper Nutrition

We are what we eat! Unfortunately, no one has complete information about how important nutrition is. It is not just about providing weight, calories, protein, fat, carbohydrate, and minerals to the body when it comes to nutrition. Moreover, the nutrients with the essence (energy) it contains shape the mind in a very elegant (subtle) way. In other words, food directly affects your mind and shapes your thoughts. Emotions such as aggression, violence, fear, irritability, excitement, greed, passion, anxiety, jealousy, anger, irritability, negative thinking, love, tolerance, and patience are directly linked to your food.
Why not eat more consciously for happiness, health, and peace?

  • Principle 5 – Positive Thinking and Meditation

Often seeing only the full part of a glass half full of water is perceived as a positive thought. But the truth is that half of this glass is also empty. Positive Thinking is being able to see this glass in its entirety; that is, to see and accept everything and all dilemmas (love-hate, birth-death, wealth-poverty, success-failure, victory-defeat, youth-old age, health-illness …). This understanding takes place thanks to the training given in yoga classes that we can easily apply in our daily life.

Meditation is not an imagination technique, such as concentrating on a particular subject or mantra to relax the mind or imagining being at the seashore. It is much deeper and indescribable than these: It is a “Journey Into”, or a “Journey to Truth”. It is the “Path to Truth”. When the mind structure is learned and purified from all thoughts, brain waves come to a minimum, the mind becomes clear and the person hears his own voice, sees himself, reaches his own essence, and then to God.

How Movements in Philosophy of Yoga Works

  • Jnana Yoga (Knowledge Yoga):

Jnana Yoga practitioners try to answer the question “who am I” by asking some philosophical questions. The goal is to get rid of ignorance by accessing yogic knowledge. Thus, it becomes possible to become aware of the illusion and be liberated with the knowledge of reality, as when we wake up from a dream. There is a fundamental difference between a Jnana Yoga practitioner and a Bhakti Yoga practitioner; Although the practitioner of Bhakti Yoga (Bhakta) knows that he is one with the universe, unlike the practitioner of Jnana Yoga, he prefers to separate himself in order to show his love for his lover. As you can imagine, knowing is necessary to be able to practice. You cannot implement something you do not know.

However, just knowing cannot lead us forward, unless it is put into practice. Application is essential. Actually, we evolve whether we notice it or not, but when we do this consciously, we speed up the process. At the same time, let us point out that this information does not come to us from outside, it already exists within us, we just need to get it out. The important thing is to lift the veil between us and knowledge. It is worth repeating here, too, that yoga practices are practices that ensure our personal development, not religious practices.

  • Karma Yoga (Action Yoga):

Karma means action. There is no moment when we are not in action with our words, actions, and thoughts. Therefore, Karma Yoga comes to the rescue of those who say that they cannot find time to practice yoga through mastery of action, and it can be done at any time. Determining the yogicness of the action; It is not what action we act, but the attitude we take while acting. There are 2 basic points in Karma Yoga practice called Action Yoga:

To abandon the fruits of the action
Not saying “I did it”

To abandon the fruits of the action: It is to continue to act, but not to do our actions for a benefit, to gift the fruits of our actions to the universe so that we do not become dependent on our actions.

Yogis (male yoga practitioners) / Yogini (female yoga practitioners) act only to purify their selves. In one of the basic Indian texts, Bhagavat Gita, Sri Krishna says: “What is required is not the physical abandonment of the actions, but the mental abandonment of the actions. That is, one will continue to do the action just like everyone else, but there is a difference that the eye does not perceive, while everybody acts by the desire of the fruit of the verb, a yogi acts by willing the welfare of the world. ” In this case, the yogi does the action neither lovingly nor hating it, only doing it. This frees the person.

Well, what if our mind slips to pay for the good we do? So won’t we help to avoid this addiction? Let’s not forget that it is important that we start somewhere. Our primary goal should be to increase the number of our good verbs, even though we expect reciprocity. Then we must learn to let go of this interest, and then we must be able to say “I am not doing it”. Again in the Bhagavat Gita Sri Krishna says: “Your mission is only to work but never because of its fruits. Don’t let the fruits of the action motivate you to work, nor let your addiction push you into the action. “

It is worth remembering that we escape our responsibilities that yoga demands; It is not that we leave our job, our family. We must fulfill our obligations only because we think they are correct. The world does not need our help, but when a person helps someone, it is the receiving, not the giver; is helping him. Therefore, beyond expecting a response, we should even be grateful to those whom we think we have helped, for giving us this opportunity to reveal our beauty and purify ourselves. Notice, it doesn’t matter what our action is either. The important thing is the attitude we take while doing the act. Whatever work is done, it is necessary to do it in a yogic manner. The same is true for our professions. Although the definition of the job does not change, what changes are the way each of us approaches it.

Not saying “I am the one who does”: A yogi practicing Mixed Yoga does not think “I am the doer” because both senses and sensory objects are made up of Gunas, which are the values ​​of nature. The Gunas [Satva (purity), Rajas (movement), and Tamas (inertia)], which are the values ​​of nature, are everywhere and these values ​​are found in one’s environment as well as in one’s physical and mental nature. There are all three values ​​in the nature of the person, but one becomes dominant by varying during the day. According to the dominant value, a person’s attitude also changes.

For example; Satva value if one wants to meditate; Rajas value if he wants to engage in active activities such as walking and sports; Tamas value increased if he wants to sleep. (When a value rises, others do not disappear, only remain at a lower level.) What is desired is to convert low-level energies into high-level energies by practicing. That is, Tamas must first be elevated to Rajas, then to Satva, and finally to a higher level than Satva.

  • Bhakti Yoga (Yoga of Love):

It is to awaken, increase, and overflow positive emotions such as love and affection. Our choice for practicing Bhakti Yoga can be a person or if we have a religious belief, the Absolute. Choosing one thing is beneficial so that we don’t get distracted. However, the point to consider when making our choice is that this love should be unconditional love, true love has no interest. For example; There is no expectation of return in a mother’s love for her child. The mother continues to love her child, whether the child treats him well or badly, whether he rewards his labor or not.

Therefore, if the mother wishes, she can choose her child for this application. Of course, we can choose our spouse or anyone we love. However, in such a situation, we need to be sure that we will not quit our practice by being disappointed in an unexpected attitude from the person we love, it is a risk. For example, if the person we love does not choose to be with us or if any decision he makes to be happy does not make us happy, can we leave ourselves aside and continue to be happy just because he is happy?

Can we continue to give him love and affection? This is what makes Bhakti Yoga, which initially seemed easy, difficult. We can also imitate nature for unconditional love. For example, the Sun radiates its rays equally to everyone without any discrimination. Air is there to be inhaled by all; it just exists; is in harmony.

  • Raja Yoga (Mind Yoga):

Patanjali’s Yoga Science is also known as Ashtanga Yoga, King’s Road, Classical Yoga, 8-Step Path. It offers techniques that will lead the person to liberation with mind control. The 8-step path given for this emancipation must proceed sequentially. These steps, the first 4 steps of which are external disciplines and the last 4 are internal disciplines, where even domination of a single principle purifies the person, are as follows: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi.

Raja Yoga gives us techniques to control our minds. What does this mean? Let’s think like this: Our mind is very mobile and if we cannot control it, it will dominate us, it will drag us from place to place. Our minds cannot remain calm and a confused mind will tire us. Only if we can master it, we can calm our mind, and with a calm mind, we can proceed on the path of liberation by mastering each of the 8 steps in turn.

How Relaxation Techniques in Yoga Works?

Relaxing the body is the purpose of Hatha Yoga at the physical level. The state our body should be is a state of relaxation; this is done using relaxation techniques. Our body and mind follow each other, the state of hardness in our body affects our mind. When our body relaxes, our minds also calm down. On the one hand, our body will be relaxed only if our mind is calm. Therefore, we need to calm our mind, slow our breathing, and relax our body in order to achieve complete relaxation.

We cannot achieve complete relaxation by simply resting our body without calming our mind and slowing our breathing. Therefore, there are days when sleep alone is not enough to rest us. As we stimulate and relax our body, the quality of relaxation increases. For this reason, different relaxation techniques are applied throughout yoga sessions. These techniques that you can apply alone, apart from practicing between postures, are as follows: Sudden Relaxation Technique, Fast Relaxation Technique, Deep Relaxation Technique.

Sudden Relaxation Technique

Sudden relaxation; It is the technique of first contracting and then relaxing the body from the bottom up. Thus, small muscle groups that we do not notice as tense in our daily life relax. This is the reason why this relaxation technique is used first in the sessions.

  • Lay on your back. (It can be applied in our daily life, in the office, etc., while sitting or standing.) Keep the arms and legs slightly apart from the body. Keep your body loose and comfortable. (Savasana – Corpse Pose) Join your feet. Keep your arms close to your body and palms touching your legs.
  • Now stretch your body from bottom to top, in the following order, first, then relax, to understand the difference between full stretch and full slack. Thus, notice your dominance over your body.
  • Contract your toes. Muscle your feet. Contract your ankles. Contract your calves. Contract your knees. Contract your thighs. Contract your groin area. Tighten your buttocks. Exhale. Take a deep breath, hold your breath, contract your chest. Keep your arms attached to your body. Contract your back muscles. Contract your neck and face. Now completely free your body, exhale, and relax. Rest in Shavasana.
  • Observe the difference between full tension and complete slack.
  • Remember that your body should be in this state of relaxation as it should be in daily life.
  • Turn over and stand up slowly with support from your hands.

Fast Relaxation Technique

Fast relaxation is a feeling-breathing technique that is also used as a healing technique. After the body is relaxed from the bottom up, the breath is concentrated and breathing is felt. Then the person realizes that he is breathing the universal life force (Prana).

  • Lie on your back (in Savasana).
  • Direct your attention to the tip of your nose and watch the air coming in and out of your nose. Don’t change your breath while doing this, don’t control it. Just watch while staying in normal breathing. The cool intake of the air through the nose, the warming exit; Feel the crashing of the nasal walls, the passage through the windpipe to the lungs, from there to the diaphragm (stretching the belly and abdominal muscles), and leave your body in the opposite direction while exhaling.
  • Now direct your attention to your navel. Just feel your belly, as if you only have a belly.
  • How your belly swells with each breath, how your abdominal muscles are stretched; Observe how your belly is deflated with each exhalation, and how your abdominal muscles are restored and relaxed.
  • Keep breathing while maintaining this awareness. Feel that you are sucking in not just the air, but the universal life energy Prana.
  • Inhale the universal power full of healing with each inhale, infuse the used Prana with each exhalation into the universe. Notice that your body is healing on its own. Now do this consciously:

  • Inhale beauty and peace with each breath, take away the anger with each breath.
  • Absorb confidence with every breath; give anxiety, fear with every breath.
  • Absorb health with every breath, exhale sickness with every exhale.
  • Breathe in all the positive features with each breath, remove all negative features from you with each breath.
  • In this way, continue feeling and breathing for a while.
  • Gradually direct your attention back to your body. Pay attention to the navel area first, then to the tip of your nose. Observe your normal breathing again.
  • Turn over and stand up slowly with support from your hands.

Deep Relaxation Technique

Deep relaxation is a relaxation technique used at the end of the yoga session to relax the body and release body awareness. Thanks to this technique, tired muscles are relaxed during the session, the body is rested and no fatigue is felt at the end of the session. With this technique, the person also remembers that he is using the body as a tool and that he is a Self. This technique can be used at the end of the session or it can be used alone. If it will be applied at the end of the session, it should be applied for about 10 minutes, if it is applied alone, it should be applied for about 30-45 minutes.

  • Relax your toes.
  • Loosen the soles of your feet.
  • Relax your ankles.
  • Let your feet relax completely.
  • From the bottom up, relax your calves.
  • Relax your knees.
  • From the bottom up, relax your thighs.
  • Loosen your groin, buttocks.
  • Let your body relax completely from your feet to your waist.
  • Feel the difference between the areas you are loosening and the other parts of your body.
  • Notice that the sense of shape and weight has disappeared and that even though you don’t feel the loosening places, you don’t feel a lack, you feel full and whole.
  • To increase this awareness, take a deep breath and make a deep A sound.
  • Feel the vibrations of this sound in the lower part of your body.
  • Relax your belly area.
  • Relax the diaphragm, stomach, stomach.
  • From the bottom up, relax your chest.
  • Relax the lower, middle, upper parts of the back.
  • Relax your shoulders.
  • Relax your upper arms from top to bottom.
  • Relax your elbows.
  • Relax your lower arms from top to bottom.
  • Let your wrists, palms, and fingers be completely relaxed.
  • Feel the lightness in your body. Notice that the body has lost shape and weight. See that even though you don’t feel your body, you feel complete and whole, not a deficiency.
  • To increase this awareness, take a deep breath and make a U sound. Feel the vibrations of this sound in your body.
  • Loosen the front, side, and back sections of your neck.
  • Let the chin, cheeks, lips, nose, eyes and eyeballs, ears, eyebrows, forehead area, hair follicles, and face area relax completely.
  • See the expression on your face disappear. Notice that even though you don’t feel your face, you don’t feel a deficiency, and you feel complete and complete.

  • To increase this awareness, take a deep breath and make a thin M sound.
  • Now the body is completely loose, comfortable. Rethink the body from the bottom up, loosening the loose parts, despite the possibility that you may have muscles that are not relaxed.
  • Realize that it exists even if you don’t feel your body, see that your existence does not depend on your body. Expand yourself as much as you want (as much as the universe if you want). Notice the unity within the area you have expanded. See that it exists everywhere, in all lifetimes; Notice that there is every eye that sees, every mouth that speaks, every ear that hears, every foot that walks.
  • Now gradually begin to feel your body, but keep the feeling of universal unity and eternity. Feel your whole body from your toes to the top of your head. To reinforce this feeling, take a deep breath and divide your breath into three equal parts, making the sounds A-U-M in one breath. Notice the vibrations of this sound in your body.
  • Start moving your toes and hands. When you feel your body fully, join your legs, bend your left knee and step on the ground. Lying forward on the navel of the left hand, behind the head of the right hand. Turn right, when you feel your balance, stand up slowly and sit with support from your hands.

How the Concept of Happiness Works in Yoga

We all wish you lots of happiness as we enter a new year. Among what we want to be happy, there are many things we can increase the list, such as success, good earnings, health. Whatever we wish, they all have in common; being happy. I guess that each of us has a different definition of happiness. So how is the definition of happiness in yoga? We will examine this with you and search for the key to happiness together. If you want, what is happiness for us first? Let’s have a look; so that we can better understand the difference.

What could be the things that make us happy? A food, hobby, girlfriend/boyfriend, money, shopping, nature… It is possible to reproduce these examples. So it is our pleasures that make us happy accordingly. The closer we get to things that bring us pleasure, the further we get away from things that cause us pain, the happier we feel. So what do we use when interpreting situations that give us pleasure and pain? Of course from our 5 senses. We perceive the external world (sensory objects) with these senses, and we identify those appealing to us as objects of happiness.

However, these objects of happiness are insufficient to make us happy for a long time, the happiness they provide is temporary. By our nature, something we acquire does not give as much pleasure as it was in the beginning, even painful or becomes ordinary. This time we start to pursue a new object of happiness. So if what makes me happy today doesn’t give it tomorrow, or what gives me happiness doesn’t give it to someone else, it’s not true happiness.

Because the real thing is not variable or transient. Let’s also think like this; If an object provided true happiness, it would be the same thing that made everyone happy, and our happiness would increase when we increased its dose. However, when we eat too much food that makes us very happy, we see that it becomes uncomfortable. So what is true happiness and how to be happy?

Happiness in Yoga Philosophy

According to yoga, happiness depends on not being attached to sensory objects. In one of the basic yoga texts, Bhagavat Gita says: “When one thinks about objects, an addiction occurs against them. From addiction comes desire, out of desire, anger. The error comes from anger, loss of reason from error; The collapse of the ability to discriminate from the loss of reason comes, and the person perishes with the disappearance of the ability to discriminate. Let’s explain a little bit about what this means: The more we see an object, the more we think; We develop an addiction to it and we start to desire more. If our desire is fulfilled, we will pursue another desire; If he does not come, we think about how we could not get him and we get angry.

This anger causes chemical changes in our body and we become unable to think correctly. Therefore, we would be mistaken. False thoughts bring the loss of reason, prevent us from making correct evaluations, that is, we lose our discrimination ability. This is an indication that we are devastated. What to do to be happy yoga’s advice to the question; It is to remember that happiness is a state, that it is not external but internal. In fact, we are trying to reach this state by using sense objects because we do not know how to reach this state. There is a very good story I want to share with you about this:

An old woman drops her key at her house and loses it. Unable to find it, she seeks help from a young man and starts looking in the garden. Unable to find it, the young man asks: “Where did you drop your key?” The woman says, “I dropped it inside, my son.” “Then why are you looking outside?” the young man asks. “It’s very dark inside, my eyes can’t see,” replies the woman. This is how we are looking for the key to our happiness outside.

However, what really makes us happy is the moment of silence. Think about what happens when we see the person we fell in love with. That moment; Whatever is in our minds disappears, a silence and a single-point focus prevail. It is actually that state of silence that makes us happy at that moment, we do not know it. 5 bodies are mentioned in yoga and for happiness in yoga; It is said that we should code the body of happiness correctly, that is, define happiness correctly. Otherwise, it is certain that we will continue to seek happiness outside.

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Savaş Ateş

I like meditation and yoga. I read a lot of books about them. I applied them in my daily life. I want to write about my experiences.

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