If you are thinking of starting yoga, you are about to make the right decision. The benefits of yoga for mental and physical health provide enough reason to start yoga. The benefits of yoga are relaxation, better sleep, increased concentration, and more. So are you wondering why yoga is the best exercise?
The science of yoga starts from affecting the outermost dimension and physical body of the person. This is a practical and familiar starting point for many people. When an imbalance is experienced at this level, organs, muscles, and nerves no longer work harmoniously, but oppose each other. For example, when the endocrine system becomes irregular, the efficiency of the nervous system becomes so low that diseases begin to appear immediately. One of the purposes of the yoga system is to perfectly adjust the different functions of the body to work for the benefit of the whole body. Then Yoga progresses from the physical level to the mental and emotional level. Many people suffer from the interactions and stresses of daily life, phobias, and neuroses. Yoga offers a universal method to overcome all these problems. Yoga is the thought, speech, and action, or harmony and fusion between the head, heart, and hand. Thanks to the practice of yoga, awareness is raised about the interrelationships between the physical, mental and emotional levels, and how the disturbances at one level affect other levels. This awareness gradually brings the individual to the perception of the thinner areas of life.
Physical and mental therapy is one of the most important achievements of the Yoga system. This therapy is so powerful and effective as it is built on the principles of universal harmony and integration. Yoga has succeeded as an alternative therapy form although modern science has failed in the treatment of asthma, diabetes, blood pressure imbalance, calcification, digestive disorder, other chronic and structural diseases. The effects of Yoga studies are investigated in HIV and cancer treatment and promising positive results are obtained. According to medical scientists, yoga therapy is successful because it provides balance in the nervous and endocrine systems that directly affect all other systems and organs of the body.
In addition, for many people, in an increasingly stressful society, Yoga is a means to maintain health and peace. Breathing techniques help to relieve tension and revitalize, to remove physical fatigue and discomfort gathered from sitting at the desk all day. Relaxation techniques ensure that time is used more effectively. In the age of mobile phones, computers, heavy traffic, and continuous shopping, Yoga studies have a great meaning in personal and even business life.
8 Steps of the Original Yoga System That Makes Yoga the Best Exercise
Apart from individual needs, the underlying principles of the Yoga system provide a real tool to overcome social difficulties. When the world seems lost and cannot reject old values, Yoga cannot provide new values, and Yoga gives people the means to find their own way and connect with their true essence. Thanks to this connection with the true self, people can achieve harmony, peace, and compassion, which are very difficult in our time. The Original Yoga System, called Maha-Yoga, consists of eight parts. These eight chapters are the elements that make up the general structure of the Original Yoga System. Eight parts are technically called Asta-Anga. In Sanskrit, the word Ashta means ‘eight’ and Anga means ‘part’. There are hundreds of thousands of techniques in each section. Therefore, the basic implementation process includes eight sections.
The eight steps of the Original Yoga System are:
- Yama – (Control) Universal action control
- Niyama – (Strict control) Personal action control
- Asana – (Posture) Body training techniques
- Pranayama – (Energy control) Breathing and bioenergy techniques
- Pratyahara – (Retract) Astral, Chakra and Kundalini techniques
- Dharana – (Focus) Concentration techniques
- Dhyana – (Deep focus) Meditation techniques
- Samadhi – (Superior focus) Superior concentration techniques
The first four steps are called outer or rough steps, and the four last steps are called inner or thin steps. One of the aims of the eight-step Original Yoga System is to harmonize the body, mind, and spirit and reach the peak of personal development. These eight stages are similar to the successive steps of a ladder that must climb from the bottom up. It is necessary to progress patiently in these steps. Suddenly, jumping to the upper steps without any preparation is dangerous and inconvenient.
Yoga System and Stages: Best Way to Exercise and Control Your Body
The yoga system is based on the control process. Yama (control) develops gradually and eventually reaches the highest level and becomes Samyama (super control). Here, the prefix Sam, which means ‘super’, is added before the word Yama, which means ‘control’. Yama is in a tight connection with concentration. In the Samyama stage, concentration develops into a super concentration called Samadhi. Concentration is in connection with both unification. When the concentration reaches its deepest state, the merger is the super junction called Samyoga. Concentration turns into super concentration, and the merger turns into a super merger. This state is called YOGA, or integration. Therefore, the Yoga system has three aspects:
- Samyama – Superior Control
- Samadhi – Superior Concentration
- Samyoga – Superior Merger
These three directions are interconnected and inseparable from the Yoga system. In the last stage of the yoga system, the super concentration turns into a superior concentration. Consciousness is completely immersed in the object of concentration. As a result, super unification turns into a real superior unity. This union takes place between the individual soul and the Universal Spirit. The Individual Spirit and the Universal Spirit are integrated. At this stage, super control turns into true freedom because control is no longer needed. Thus, the state of Yoga (integration) turns into Maha-Yoga (superior integration). In this case, individual consciousness reaches the highest level of consciousness.
In order to reach a superior level of yoga, the control power must be developed gradually. In order to evolve spiritually, the techniques in the eight stages of the Original Yoga System must be applied correctly and regularly. When the principles known as Yama are implemented, positive trends strengthen, positive energy and motivation increase, and one feels like part of the universe. In a broad philosophical sense, the word Yama can be interpreted as ‘free from negatives’. By applying Yama, the person gets rid of negative things by taking human actions under control. The individual must be free of all negative ideas, words, and actions in order to develop and spiritual evolution. For this, one must, first of all, apply the principle of Ahimsa (Nonviolence).
The universal action aspect of human life is being developed in the Yama phase. This stage is based on 10 principles:
- Ahimsa – (Nonviolence) Violence control
- Satya – (Honesty) Lie control
- Asteya – (No Stealing) Adoption control
- Brahmaçarya – Sexual energy control
- Aparigraha – (Not Spool) Spool control
- Daya – (Mercy) Hate control
- Kama – (Forgiveness) Anger control
- Dhriti – (Stamina) Weakness control
- Mitahara – (Moderation) Excess control
- Arcava – (Accuracy) Inaccuracy control
The application of these principles positively affects human psychology. The individual achieves four goals:
- Negative energy is discarded
- Energy channels are purified
- Energy is collected in the body
- Accumulating energy provides physical health and spiritual development
If the individual does not comply with the Yama principles, his energy is dissipated and the energy channels are blocked. When these principles are enforced, energy blockages are resolved, energy travels freely throughout the body, and accumulated energy provides personal development. When the principles called Niyama are implemented, negative trends are eliminated, bad habits are defeated, negative energy is thrown, and one realizes that he is a family with all living beings of the universe.
This stage is based on 10 principles:
- Şauça – (Cleaning) Pollution control
- Santoşa – (Settling) Greed control
- Tapas – (Abstraction) Redundancy control
- Svadhyaya – (Education) Ignorance control
- İşvara Pranidhana – (Absolute Presence Detection) Perception control
- Astikya – (Loyalty) Loyalty control
- Dana – (Philanthropy) Selfishness control
- Hri – (Humility) Pride control
- Mati – (Analysis) Thought control
- Vrata – (Oath) Variability control
10 principles of Yama and Niyama steps are explained in Darşana Upanişada, Gandharva Tantra, and Agni Purana books. In these first two steps of the yoga system, emotions, thoughts, and actions are analyzed and taken under control. Man is no longer a slave to his feelings, thoughts, and actions, but a master. This is the beginning of controlling fate. The inspection and control process develops naturally. It only analyzes human emotions, thoughts, and actions, and tries to control it without pressure on itself.
In a broad philosophical sense, the Niyama step can be interpreted as ‘reinforcing positives’. In the way of yoga, the individual should get rid of negative qualities and strengthen positive qualities. The implementation of the Yama principles is universal, whereas the implementation of the Niyama principles is individual.
By applying Niyama principles, the individual obtains:
- The ability to collect life energy from the cosmic source to the body
- The ability to direct this energy to lower energy centers
- The ability to balance energy centers using life energy
- The ability to upgrade this energy to upper energy centers
The Niyama principles are personal practices related to the individual himself. Thanks to these principles, the senses and sensory organs are controlled.
Yoga Asanas Are the Best Exercises
Asanas give health, beauty, strength, endurance, lightness, brightness, nervous calmness, and happiness. The fruit of the practice of Asana is a spiritual awakening, consciousness, and freedom from all dualities. Initially, Asanas should be done slowly, without straining the body. The benefits of making asanas correctly and tidy are:
- Spinal flexibility increases
- Joints move and stretch
- The muscles strengthen, relax, rejuvenate, and take plenty of oxygenated blood.
- The functions of internal organs and glands are in order
- Lymphatic system and metabolism come alive
- The immune system is strengthened
- Circulation and blood pressure become normal and balanced
- The nervous system calms down and strengthens
- The texture is fresh and alive
- The digestive system is made healthy
- The urinary system comes alive
- The reproductive system is in balance
- The respiratory system is strengthened
- The whole body comes alive and strengthens
- All organs work harmoniously
Pranayama techniques control energy, regulate and direct it to different levels of the organism. The usual limits of respiratory functions are exceeded to experience the energy at rough and fine levels; respiratory functions are extended, accelerated, or slowed down. The respiratory functions taken under control during pranayama are:
The word Puraka in Sanskrit means ‘filling’ and it means filling the lungs with air. Puraka, or breathing, stimulates the respiratory system. The word “Reçaka” means “emptying” and it means emptying the lungs by exhaling. Reçaka or exhalation expels contaminated air and toxins.
The word Kumbha in Sanskrit means ‘pot’ or ‘jar’. The word Kumbhaka means ‘like a jar’. The jar can be filled with water or empty. Lungs like this may be air-filled or empty. Thus, in Pranayama studies, keeping it after breathing or exhaling is called Kumbhaka. Kumbhaka, or breath-holding, radiates energy throughout the body. Moreover, there are many Kumbhaka studies in the Pranayama step, then the word Kumbhaka specifically emphasizes the specific intake, retention, and delivery of the breath.
In a broad philosophical sense, the evacuation of the mind from all illusions is a deeper Recaka, the emptying of the breath. The perception that the individual is the soul is a deeper Puraka, breathing. Finally, the focus of the mind with unshakable text is a deeper Kumbhaka, holding the breath. This is a deeper Pranayama study. Bioenergy techniques are also used in this step of the Original Yoga System. Thanks to these techniques, the bioenergy field of the body is strengthened, expanded, energetic blockages are resolved, and the body is made more energetic and healthy. (For detailed information, see Yoga: Prana Vidya – Bioenergy Techniques book)
Techniques known as Pratyahara provide the development of conscious relaxation ability. These are extraordinary techniques for introversion, inner search, and development. Conscious relaxation techniques systematically bring the organism into a deep relaxation state. When the body relaxes, the mind is silent, nerves are emptied and muscle tension is relieved. When the body goes into deep relaxation mode, the speed of breathing decreases, the lungs relax and the respiratory system rests. (For detailed information, see Yoga: Pratyahara – Astral Techniques book)
As the breathing speed decreases, the heartbeat slows down. The heart rests and does not wear out. The circulatory system is positively affected and regulated. The triggering sympathetic nervous system begins to relax. Then the parasympathetic nervous system relaxes. Subsequently, the endocrine system begins to relax. Adrenal glands that constantly release adrenaline due to stress and overwork are rested. The rest of the endocrine system also positively affects physical and emotional health.
Conscious deep relaxation affects all systems of the organism positively, fatigue and insomnia are eliminated, accumulated tension is thrown, energy blockages are resolved and plenty of energy is stored. In the Pratyahara step, the individual absorbs his senses from material objects using certain techniques and reaches the astral body. The senses in the astral size have subtle energetic extensions. These extensions are always after material objects. This creates constant mental and nervous tension.
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