YOGA is the practice of quieting the mind. – Patanjali
YOGA defined: Yoga is the union, oneness of the mind, of coming together in which we connect to Divinity or God.
It is a balance and a reunion in yourself in which you are accepting of everything.
I condense these meanings from The Great Guru I’ve met last 2012 and from the Senior Astangi teacher last 2013.
By definition it is a Sanskrit word Yoga from the root yug and originally meant "to hitch up," as in attaching horses to a vehicle.
Another definition was "to put to active and purposeful use."
Still other translations are "yoke, join, or concentrate."
Essentially, yoga has come to describe a means of uniting, or a method of discipline.
A male who practices this discipline is called a yogi; a female practitioner, a yogini.
Yoga comes out of an oral tradition in which the teaching is transmitted directly from teacher to student.
The Indian sage Patanjali has been credited with the collation of this oral tradition into his classical work, the Yoga Sutra, a 2,000-year-old treatise on yogic philosophy.
A collection of 195 statements, the Sutra provides a kind of philosophical guidebook for dealing with the challenges of being human.
Giving guidance on how to gain mastery over the mind and emotions and advice on spiritual growth, the Yoga Sutra provides the framework upon which all yoga practiced today is based.
Initially, the discipline of hatha yoga—the physical aspect of yoga—was developed as a vehicle for meditation.
The repertoire of hatha yoga prepared the body, and particularly the nervous system, for stillness, creating the necessary physical strength and stamina that allowed the mind to remain calm.
The word hatha also has several translations. With “ha” meaning "sun" and “tha” meaning "moon," we have the common interpretation of hatha yoga as "a union of the pairs of opposites."
A more technical translation of hatha yoga is "force or determined effort."
Thus hatha yoga, the "yoga of activity," is the yoga that addresses the body and mind and requires discipline and effort.
It is the yoga that we can feel, that we can experience, right here and right now.
Hatha yoga is a powerful method of self-transformation. It is the most practical of the yogas, and sages have recommended its practice in some form for millennia as preparation for all the other yogas.
I first met Yoga way back 2006. It was an accident since I was invited by a friend who eventually became a Yoga enthusiast.
I started with Hatha yoga which is for beginners. It was an hour practice of different asanas. I remember I couldn’t reach my toes, but I continued the class.
It was indeed detoxifying experience wherein I sweat nonstop releasing toxins and what mesmerized me the most – the calm and focus it gives to the practitioner.
From that first class, I continued to explore Yoga. When I went to Manila in 2008 until 2011 and found a job there.
I had the chance to join a Vinyasa class under Teacher Paulo Leonido.
I will always cherish my yogi classmates because I learned so much about Yoga from them, its deeper meaning and the importance of thorough practice.
Then I decided to go back to CdeO late 2011, then I met Teacher Julie Ang who introduced me to meditation through the Art of Living together with the other Teachers Juliet Galvez.
In meditation, my spirituality deepened as I practice more with Yoga hand in hand with meditation.
Meditation is the most powerful tool we have as humans is the ability to control our mind and actions.
We may have thoughts that enter our minds from outside influences and habitual patterns, but we have a power to shift the use of our brain to focus on something else … anything else (it’s your choice).
Yoga somehow is a moving meditation. As you practice meditation you will strengthen your skill of mental control.
The more you practice, the more control and strength you will have over your mind.
In the midst of your mind there is chaos, both conscious and subconscious thoughts going on all the time.
Meditation allows you to control the mind by focusing it on a single thing.
As I deepen my practice since year 2011 up to now, I believe I found my yoga that I adore which is Astanga Yoga.
I have been inspired by Teacher Julie Bonita Corrales, Tanya Kay and of course Jang Samson.
Their discipline, dedication and love for wellness made me push to do yoga to the next level through teaching. I will ever be grateful to these Yogis who guided me all through this journey.
How yoga changed me
I quote “my yoga doesn’t matter if things aren’t perfect. My practice is my time to feel alive, loved and free.” Yoga changed me 360 degrees.
From how I think and see life in all aspects. I am more humble as I engage into my daily practice.
I can really confess my thoughts and inner self to my sticky mat. It may not be perfect but the feeling of awareness and loving is present there.
I control my mind and my body, too. Physical aspect may follow, but I always instill in my mind that it is not in the pose or if you could get in the pose, it is the journey of getting into the pose.
I now know my limits and I learn to surrender because after this struggle I can say I become me again.
Points to ponder
I learned many great things and discover them. They are around us. We all need to be aware and learn to love ourselves first.
Awareness what is happening at the present moment. Knowing our truest mission in our journey.
They say about birth that we are in the state of rebirth when we found our mission in life. I can say I found mine; I’m rebirth with the help of Yoga.
To everyone out there, give Yoga a try and you will learn more about yourself.
(Reference: Yoga definition - http://www.yogajournal.com/basics/160, The Roots of Yoga by Mara Carrico)