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The 8 Limbs of Patanjali Yoga

Modern-day westernized yoga is extremely watered-down and sexualized. It only covers the physical aspect of things. Yoga is so much more than yoga pants and stretching. It’s about shedding the layers of your illusory idea of yourself to reveal the true self. Yog mean union, they added the -a to the end to make it more marketable. 

There are lots of different types of yoga, all with their own ancient texts that describe in great detail what they are. Westernized yoga is only familiar with a fragmented version of ashtanga yoga.

Ashtanga Yoga is – Ash=8 tanga=limbs

1.) Yamas, Yama = Restraint 

  • Ahimsa- non-violence toward yourself and others (overeating, eating acids, and smoking are self-violence).
  • Satya- truthfulness
  • Asteya- honesty with yourself and others
  • Brahmacharya- sexual abstinence, respecting your sexual energy. (Tantra is an alternative to Bramacharya). 
    • It really just means not being a sex addict, although celibacy is the highest form of self-respect.
  • Aparigraha- non-possessiveness, keeping only that which is essential for living, keeping your mind unoccupied with the material and the superficial world, makes you free to travel and to be relaxed without worry.

2.)  Niyamas, the fixed rules & regulations. 

  • Saucha- cleanliness inside and out, detoxing etc. emotional detox and not holding onto things. To develop an indifference to the body and non-attachment to others.
  • Santosha- contentment, your gratitude leads to satisfaction. Being grateful and content, doesn’t mean you can’t strive.
  • Tapas- austerity, Pushing your limit, physically and mentally. Causes body to create heat to release impurities. Tap- means to burn, to burn away impurities.
    • This is all to prepare the body and mind for meditation, they both must be clean.
    • 5 Methods for pushing your limits:
      • 1.)Exposing the body to the sun 
      • 2.)Subject your body to the heat of a fire
      • 3.)Pranayama (breathwork)
      • 4.)concentration on one point (Trataka- sun gazing, candle gazing, etc)
      • 5.)Fasting/Breatharianism
  • Svadyaya- Self-observation, observing yourself and your thoughts, actions, words in the moment and being aware that your thoughts, words and actions manifest your life
  • Ishvara pranidhana- surrender to god, losing your body awareness and remaining in the tranquility and union. Letting go of the need and desire to control everything and surrendering to your higher self, and realizing that the one that wants to control everything isn’t you.
    • god is you, god is the true self

The Yamas and the niyamas are your moral guidelines, they need to be addressed before you even start getting into the physical like the asanas. The niyamas are more about you out in the world, where the Yamas are more about yourself. If you are in alignment with all of the yamas and niyamas, then you are already in the breatharian state. Breatharian is a basic inner standing in real yog, all master yogis achieve breatharian quite early on their path to complete self-realization and union.

3.) Asana, postures. “Steady and comfortable should be the posture” “Asana is just your seat.”

  • This is what everyone thinks yoga is. 
  • The asanas are not designed for you to get stronger OR more flexible. They’re designed to help you gain more stability
  • The goal is study ONE asana until you can remain still in that one posture for hours at a time.

4.) Pranayama, cessation of movement of inhalation and exhalation. Completely stopping the breath. This is the parasympathetic breathwork taught in TCM Respiration, both in the HOW TO BREATHE Course and the BREATHWORK BOOTCAMP Program.

  • Translation 1
    • Pra= continue
    • Na= Flow
    • Yama=control
  • Translation 2
    • Prana= Breath
    • Yama= lengthening/widening
  • Pranayama= continuous control of the flow 
  • The Bandhas are an essential tool in the pranayama practice, explanations and tutorials on the bandhas can be found in Level 1 of the HOW TO BREATHE Course and the BREATHWORK BOOTCAMP Program.

5.) Pratyāhāra is a combination of two Sanskrit words prati- (the prefix प्रति-, “against” or “contra”) and āhāra (आहार, “bring near, fetch”).

6.) Dharana (Sanskrit: धारणा) means concentration, introspective focus and one-pointedness of mind. The root of the word is dhṛ (धृ), meaning “to hold, maintain, keep”.

7.) Dhyana (Sanskrit: ध्यान) literally means “contemplation, reflection” 

8.) Samadhi (Sanskrit: समाधि) literally means “putting together, joining, combining with, union, harmonious whole, trance”

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