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Yoga Beyond Stretches – 8 Limbs Of Yoga For A Blissful Life

Written by: Vedant Kulkarni, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Vedant Kulkarni

Yoga is not just about twisting and stretching the body or just breathing exercises, or only meditation. In the next 3 min, you'll discover the holistic picture of Yoga and how you can make the most out of it! A quick rundown of the 8 Limbs of Yoga is included, so keep reading until the end.

Silhouette photo of a woman in lotus position with sunset

Yoga requires no introduction. However, the irony is that most people who practice it do not understand it holistically. This is why many people do not find Yoga as effective, and only the top 1% who truly imbibe Yoga transform their life with benefits ranging from physical and mental strength, inner calm and bliss to even the cure of several chronic illnesses. This article aims to bridge the gap and convey Yoga more deeply — beyond just the practice — as a path to explore life.


Before getting to 'What' is Yoga, let's get a glimpse at 'Why' was it even discovered?


Why yoga?


Simply put the human mind. The mind harbors negative elements such as anxiety, fear, anger, and attachments that contribute to Misery and pain! Yoga is a solution to this perpetual state of misery by providing a pathway toward inner peace and equanimity. For centuries, this ancient practice has been used to transcend the limitations of the mind and achieve true happiness in any circumstance. One of the foremost ancient aphorisms on Yoga: The Patanjali Yoga Sutras defines the purpose of Yoga as “Heyam Dukham Anagatam,” i.e., to prevent misery in life before it comes. Yoga is the secret to turning this state of mind and empowering you to feel the way you want to feel at any time instead of being a victim of your feelings. Furthermore, it relieves stress, enhances creativity, improves communication, boosts confidence, and empowers us to perform in all walks of life.


Ok, so what is yoga holistically?


I mean it when I say Yoga is not equal to only stretching, breathing or even just meditating. Let me back it up with facts. Following are some of the definitions of Yoga from the sages in India who discovered, mastered, and lived Yoga: “Yogaschitta vrittinirodha”: Yoga is the practice of stopping/calming the mind's constant fluctuations;


“Samatvam Yoga Uchyate”: Staying calm despite the chaos and finding inner peace in a crumbling world is Yoga;


“Yogah KarmasuKaushalam”: Skillful action without attachment to the results is Yoga;


“Manah prasamanopayah yogaityabhidhiyate”: Yoga is a way for quieting the mind;


“Tam yogamitimanyate sthiramindriyadharanam”: having steady control over our senses is Yoga;


“Samyoga yoga ityukto jivatmanaparmatmanoh”: Yoga is recognizing oneness with the Higher Self.


Thus, Yoga = blossoming of one’s potential across all areas of life: physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual. Do you see how powerful it is to attract all kinds of success you could ever wish for? A mind with focus, poise, and happiness has the potential to manifest whatever it wishes to without getting crumbled through the tough times. And Yoga is the way to Happily achieve your goals instead of chasing goals for Happiness (Did you spot the difference?). Yoga is a way of life: living with freedom in all walks of life. Yoga is also a spiritual discipline based on an extremely subtle science, which focuses on bringing harmony between body, mind and the being. Modern scientists say that everything in the universe is merely a manifestation of the same quantum firmament. One who experiences this oneness of existence is truly said to be in Yoga and has attained a state of freedom referred to as Mukti, Nirvana, Kaivalya, or Moksha.


Got the definition. Now what does yoga entail? And what are its 8 limbs?


Maharishi Patanjali, the propounder of Yoga, explained the 8 limbs of Yoga.


The first 2 limbs are Yama and Niyama which suggest best practices to follow in our daily lives including self-discipline and they unveil the secrets to contentment, manifesting intentions and goals, and getting rid of conflicts in life.


The third limb is Asana (referring to the physical postures). The purpose of practicing asanas is to cultivate physical and mental strength, flexibility, and balance in preparation for meditation. An important point to note is that Asana (physical postures) is only one of the eight limbs of Yoga. Unfortunately, people associate Yoga solely with improving physical health and fitness while its ultimate goal goes far beyond these superficial benefits. The true essence of Yoga lies in aligning personal geometry with the cosmic to attain the highest level of bliss and oneness, and Asanas serve as the initial steps on this transformative journey, laying the groundwork for spiritual growth.


The fourth: Pranayama (the practice of breathing techniques). Pranayama helps us govern the movement of energy through the nerves in the physical body, resulting in a state of mental tranquility.


Pratyahara (the fifth and the most underrated limb) involves the skill of taking the attention inward without being disturbed by the countless thoughts, worries and tensions that occupy our mind this is indeed one of the most important life skills today.


The sixth limb Dharana refers to the skill of focusing the mind on a single point of awareness.


Dhyana: the closest aligning English word is meditation. Dhyana is an effortless and continuous flow of awareness toward the object of meditation without any distraction. Most people even today mistakenly perceive it as concentration or even imagination.


The eighth limb, Samadhi, is in no way contemplation but a state of meditative absorption where one experiences a profound sense of unity with the object of meditation or the divine. In the state of Samadhi, individuals undergo a profound transformation where their sense of separate self completely dissolves. This results in a transcendental experience of pure awareness that surpasses thoughts, emotions, and sensory perceptions. Samadhi is marked by utter stillness, tranquility, and profound bliss. It encompasses various levels and types, ranging from initial experiences of serenity and calmness to more advanced states of ecstatic bliss and enlightenment.


All of this is just the tip of the iceberg of all that Yoga has to offer, literally!


Wow! but how to learn yoga learning


Yoga = taming the wild mind and conditioning it to tap into the most blissful experiences life has to offer (above and beyond sensory pleasures). For most people, doing this is an unknown terrain and even closing their eyes and sitting quietly for a few minutes is a terrible or even painful experience. Moreover, imagine practicing the eight limbs of yoga for years if not decades (and that's how Yoga was learned since its inception students would leave their homes and go to the master to learn yoga for around 12 years!). But to reduce the pain in the process and to allow you to continue with your life while still being able to tap into the immense offerings of Yoga, we designed a shortcut (Yes, literally!).


A shortcut through which you can tame the mind and emotions, dive within and experience bliss all in less than 20 odd minutes. Curious to know more about it? Join us for our upcoming webinar (free). In there, I also share the 3 secrets to breaking free from anxiety, overthinking, and stress regardless of the work/environment you are in. So make sure that you do not miss it!


In a nutshell


Yoga is a gift to blossom one's true potential and to go beyond the mundane "work, buy, die" definition of life. Yoga promotes personal well-being, free from any religious doctrine, belief system, or social affiliation. It is a method that can benefit individuals from all walks of life, irrespective of their background in terms of faith, ethnicity, or culture. As long as one approaches the practice with sincerity and dedication, one can reap the rewards that Yoga has to offer. So, starting today, let’s not miss the opportunity to Dive into Yoga and Dive Within!


Remember the first step is to Experience it. You could 'learn' Yoga from a video or a book too, but unlike information transfer, Yoga works entirely on 'experience transfer.' Yoga works on your body, mind, emotions and being at the same time and it is an experience not to miss. If you haven't signed up yet for the webinar, this is the time (the webinar capacity is limited; if the link is still accepting new registrants, secure your seat as soon as possible!).


Follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter, and visit my website for more info!

Vedant Kulkarni Brainz Magazine
 

Vedant Kulkarni, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Vedant is an internationally acclaimed executive well-being coach, aka 'Friend In Need' for high performers like you, to help you clear the clutter of anxiety, overthinking and depression, take control of your emotions & feelings, and set up a road map to reach the top of your industry. Through his decades of experience and expertise he developed unique short, and effortless meditative techniques which are helping thousands high-performing executives, founders, employees, and artists to reclaim their peace of mind, take their performance to the peak, find love in what they do, and explore deeper secrets of this mind, and the life. Over the last decade, Vedant has guided CEOs, Executive Directors, and Heads of State from across the world, advised the United Nations, and closely worked with the World Health Organization on implementing solutions on mental health & wellbeing.

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