Thursday, August 6, 2009

Actual Practice to Self-Realization: Yoga Ashtanga - Yama (Part I)

The following is the tenth installment of a new book on Tantra Yoga that I am writing. As a follower of this blog you have the opportunity to read this soon to be published book as each chapter comes out. So please make sure to check this blog as often as you can. Or better yet, sign up as a follower of this blog to be automatically notified via email when each new
installment comes out.

YOGA ASHTANGA (8 Limbs of Yoga)

(1) Yama (ethics - dont's)
(2) Niyama (recommended practices - do's)
(3) Asana (yoga posture)
(4) Pranayama (breathing exercise)
(5) Pratyahara (making the mind introspective)
(6) Dharana (concentration)
(7) Dhyana (meditation)
(8) Samadhi (enlightenment)

Yoga is a method for awakening and developing the chakras and kundalini shakti. Yoga is a system to attain superconsciousness and it is a way to enlightenment.

There are eight steps to self-realization known as Yoga Ashtanga (8 limbs of yoga) and this is yogi practice. So being a yogi means the practice of ashtanga in life.

The eight limbs can be separated into three parts:

  1. Basic moral practices.
  2. Physical practices.
  3. Spiritual practices.


(1) Yama
1. No Violence (no killing).
Hurting and destroying other people, other living beings and things using violence, usually comes from the emotion of hate, anger, and lust of conquest (desire to subjugate) and not being able to control these emotions. After the violent act, emotions and thoughts of the guilty conscience and repentance becomes recorded in the subconscious mind. The conscious mind is affected by this process and the result is a very unbalanced mind that is not able to be at peace. This condition is very destructive to the meditation practice.

Non-violence is also very important to keep the peace in our society. This is why many spiritual and religious practitioners are vegetarian. How can you eat killed animals if you want to practice non-violence? "I did not kill them" you may say, but by purchasing and eating you are killing them indirectly and thereby contributing to violence. Generally speaking there are two different kinds of vegetarians. The first practice because of health reasons. These people are usually very healthy and happy because they practice vegetarianism for complete health. Another group of vegetarians are religious/spiritual practitioners. They practice no killing - non-violence of Yama - the very first step of all the spiritual practice. The benefit of this principle is very profound and receiving good health is merely a positive side effect. The real benefit one receives from this precept is incredible and only personal experience can explain this adequately. So in a sense, those vegetarians who practice vegetarianism only for health reasons, can be called "selfish vegetarians." I apologize for the label.... but vegetarianism is a basic must for those who attempt to awaken and develop the svadistana chakra, the second chakra. And also, those who claim to be a yoga teacher... must be a vegetarian, of course!!! Anybody who can not even step into a most basic practice of yoga, should not even think of calling him or herself a yoga teacher.

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