Yoga is a Religion
In my previous blog, I discussed how modern day yoga has a focus on Asana -- the yoga of postures. Many modern Hatha yoga postures are less than 100 years old, and many others were invented by the 19th century British YMCA. The Yogasutras of Patanjali dates back to 400AD, and it outlines the 'eight limbs of yoga.' In my last blog, I pointed out that meditation comprises 3 of the 8 limbs! I also covered 3 more limbs: Pranayama, Pratyahara, and Asana. In this blog, I will cover the other two limbs, Yama and Niyama. I consider these two limbs to be the limbs of religion (Niyama) and ethics (Yama), which, between the two of them, comprise 25% of yoga.
This spring, I have been earning a Yoga Teacher Certification from Robin Bruce's course. I am enamored by this training because it not only focuses on ease, but it also covers all the bases of Yoga. We spend lots of time on meditation, Kundalini, yoga history, the kosha model, energy work, anatomy, savasana, pranayama, and even the business of yoga! Robin recommended I sit in on a lecture from Dr. Ellen Stansell, PhD of Indian Philosophy who lectures at Texas Universities. I was so blown away by her inspiration and my further research that I had to share it with the world!
Most Yoga Studio Poses are Less than 100 Years Old!
Nowadays, Western Yoga class is based on a branch of yoga called "Hatha Yoga." Almost all of the classes at the gym fall under this category: Yin, Vinyasa, Flow, Bikram, Kundalini, Forrest, etc... All are branches of Hatha, and all are based on bending our body into different positions (called Asanas) anywhere from a pretzel to a log. People are considered 'good' at yoga if they are flexible enough to reach the craziest position, and many are discouraged by yoga because of the limited flexibility of their body. To you, I say, fret not! This is only a modern phenomenon, and it is actually only a small part of Yoga! History shows that doing all of these crazy poses is less than 100 years old! Let me repeat: MOST POSES IN YOGA STUDIOS ARE LESS THAN 100 YEARS OLD! Yes, I was blown away by this fact as well. Let's start at the beginning though, to give you context of how we got here.
Copyright (c) 2015 Russell Eric Dobda