“What is Yoga” – Revista 20 anos

Alexandra Castro – Yoga Classes in Nori Center
Yoga (pronounced iõga – ióga according to Brazilian accent)

What is Yoga?

Yoga means ‘union’. The yoga tradition and technological essence can be understood from the classical definition of Patanjali, which in 3rd century BC codified in Sanskrit (ancient Indian writing) their techniques, stages and objectives, in Yoga-Sutra. He wrote that “Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodhah’, meaning ‘to control the functions of the mind’. The second translation, more technical and making reference to the means and goals, says that “yoga is any strictly practical methodology that leads to the”Samadhi” (freedom, to have a complete control over the functions of our body and our mind, acting only according to our will). The third and final translation is ‘yoga is a practical philosophy of life’.

The eight branches

The ancient texts define eight branches of yoga. Some call them eight steps, a less correct term if we understood that we do not pass from one to another in sequence, but instead they all evolve at the same time. They are the areas where we feel the progressive effects of our physical and mental balance, clarifying our consciousness of things and our self-confidence.

In black, the Sanskrit name. After, the original definition. And in brackets, their Western misrepresentations with tones of Judeo-Christian morality, as Master Carlos Rui said. Yama: attitudes toward others (‘abstentions, non-violence, control of sexual energy, do not steal…’).

Niyama: attitudes to ourselves (‘austerity, surrender of the ego’). Asana: posture or bodily practices (no special adaptation). Pranayama: Control of breathing practices (‘control of vital energy’). Pratyahara: controlled use of the senses (‘abstraction from sense-data’). Dharana: ability to locate attention (‘concentration of mind’). Dhyana: the ability to be influenced by the subject on which we focus (‘meditation’). Samadhi: super consciousness (no adaptation, though those who have an attraction for mysticism can associate this state to a kind of levitation).

Two names

  • In the middle of so many fake, true, or more or less gurus, the only reference that’s beyond suspicion is B. K. S. Iyengar, born in Pune, India, yoga teacher for more than sixty years, author of Light on Yoga and responsible for the foundation of the vast range of today’s most trained postures.
  • In the midst of so many people who practice yoga for the strangest reasons (Julia Roberts has assured that “it is not to change my life, but my ass”!!!
  • Sting says that this practice promotes sexual performances—than taking into account what was said above we have no reason to doubt),
  • it’s worth listening to Madonna (and go home to think about it): “yoga is a metaphor for life… you have to take it calmly, can’t rush it, you can’t jump to the next position, or you’re going to be in humiliating situations [by being forced to admit that you are not able to do this or that, and you have to learn everything from scratch], you only have to breathe, to let go, and everything goes very slowly… but has great results in body and soul.” Yes ma’am!

OM—The more abstract of mantras—sound symbols to concentration of mind as a tool of meditation.