Just one facet of Yoga relates to the physical practice, i.e. the different body postures (Asanas). Back in 200AD, the sage Pantangali described in his ancient yogic text The Yoga Sutras a system of Yoga with eight limbs. The first two limbs consist of suggestions on how to live one’s life by providing fundamental ethical principles to guide our relationships with others (Yamas) and how to best use our energy in our attitudes about and treatment of ourselves (Niyamas). Limb #3 refers to the Asanas. Limb #4 describes Pranayama, or management of breath and our life force (Prana). These breathing techniques of Pranayama support the Asanas, as well as the other four limbs of Yoga, which relate to different steps or facets of meditation. The practices of Asana and Pranayama help to rejuvenate and purify the body while disciplining and stilling the mind. This allows an individual to achieve the control of the senses (Pratyahara) and concentration (Dharana) necessary to meditate (Dhyana) and with great devotion and practice, even achieve a feeling of enlightened consciousness (Samadhi).
My husband Ian says he has derived many benefits from meditating regularly over the past few decades. He derives positive energy from meditation that allows him to emanate kindness, calm, competence and impartiality. Personally, while I came to Yoga for physical exercise, it was the meditative aspects of Yoga that have helped me the most in managing the painful losses that inevitably occur in the cycle of life and death (Samsara). Although challenging with the busy lifestyles people lead today, experiencing even eight minutes a day in a state of relative mental stillness helps to relax the nervous system and bring the mind, body, senses and spirit into balance.
Meditation can help us relax and find harmony with ourselves, other people, and other beings. A daily meditation practice, along with a daily yoga practice, food awareness, nature appreciation and gratitude, comprise the five Blissology Commitments promoted by yoga teacher, Eoin Finn that can help create an upward spiral that has the potential to make the world an even better, healthier place.
In addition to our home, Ian and I are fortunate to have meditated in several inspiring places in Nature.