WHAT IS YOGA?
Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind (Yoga Sutras 1:2)
Yoga is a vast and ancient tradition.
It is a spiritual technology that aims for nothing short
of complete personal transformation.
Understanding the true purpose of yoga practice
is key to progressing in your own practice…
“Yoga is a gradual process of replacing our unconscious patterns of thought and behaviour with new, more benign patterns that are experssive of the higher powers and virtues of enlightenment.”
“Yoga is skill in performance of actions.”
Bhagavad Gita 2.50
“As gold can be seperated from impurities by methods of chemistry, so can Truth be divorced from error by methods of yoga”
Theos Bernard, Heaven Lies Within Us
WHAT IS YOGA?
Understanding the deeper dimensions of yoga can be intimidating. There are many branches of the yoga tree, and each branch has its subdivisions. There is also a wide variety of philosophical views that on the surface may seem contradictory, but ultimately point to the same truth.
Patanjali / Classical Yoga
At Thrive Space Yoga we begin with the philosophical framework of Patanjali Yoga, also known as Classical Yoga.
Patanjali Yoga is outlined in the Yoga Sutras. The Yoga Sutras are essential study for all serious practitioners. Among other guidelines and insights, the Yoga Sutras outline the Ashtanga (8-limbed) yoga system.
The 8 limbs of Ashtanga yoga are:
yama, moral observances
niyama, personal observances
asana, posture / sitting meditation posture
pranayama, yogic breathwork
pratyahara, restraint of the senses
dhyana, deep concentration
samadhi, superconcentration / meditative absorption
The first 4 limbs are know as the bahiranga, or Outer Limbs. It is these four aspects that form the main part of what we teach here.
The 5th limb, pratyahara, is like a bridge, and the final 3 Outer Limbs, the antaranga, lead to the culmination of the yogic journey.
Yoga is like a constantly developing technology with roots that can be traced back at least 5000 years. We are uncertain precisely when the Yoga Sutras were first compiled as ancient Indian scriptures were often passed down in a vocal tradition, commited to memory, for generations before being commited to writing. But we can suggest based on scholarship that they emerged sometime between 1500 BCE and 300 CE.
Around 1000 years ago we see the emergence of Hatha yoga. Hatha yoga means ‘the yoga of forceful action’ and refers to a highly developed set of techniques that aim to perfect the health of the human body, purify and balance the nervous system and prepare the body and mind for the deeper stages of practice – meditation.
Where originally, the word asana meant simply a steady and easeful meditative posture, in hatha yoga the asanas were developed into a refined art of physical exercises. After all, the body must be made strong, flexible and free from disease before it can be seated comfortably in stillness for hours of meditation.
Unfortunately, most yoga in the modern age has been reduced to simply the asanas, divorced from their original purpose. Very few teachers teach the extremely important breathing techniques of yoga (pranayama), and those that do often have only a very superficial understanding of how to do this in a systematic and progressive way that leads to real development.
At Thrive Space we aim to address this by offering instruction in all essential components of hatha yoga. Hatha yoga is embedded within the Classical Yoga of Patanjali. It can be considered the preparation for the higher path of meditative yoga.