Yoga for Beginners: The Basics

 

Welcome to Yoga for Beginners! During this introductory course, we will cover the most important elements of yoga philosopy and practice. If you follow these principles in your day-to-day life, you will attain many benefits.

Let us begin…

According to the great teacher Patanjali, yoga can be reached by practicing eight different aspects of yogic discipline. Patanjali was an Indian Saint who lived during the classical period of yoga philosophy and history: 200-800 CE.

Patanjali is attributed with writing the Yoga Sutras (sutra means ‘thread’). Within these Sutras are the different aspects of a comprehensive yoga practice – these pieces, when threaded together, form a complete practice that will elevate your total being – called Ashtanga. The word ‘Ashtanga’ is a Sanskrit word with two parts: ‘ash’ meaning eight and ‘tanga’ meaning limb or part.

patanjali

Ashtanga refers to the eight interrelated aspects of a comprehensive yoga practice. That they are interrelated is important; when you practice (or don’t practice) one limb of yoga – like breathing (pranayama) or postures (asana) – the other limbs are affected.

These eight aspects are commonly referred to as the eight limbs of yoga practice or Ashtanga Yoga, “ash” meaning eight and “tanga” meaning limb or part.
Here’s the purpose of Ashtanga

Patanjali’s Ashtanga (eight limb) yoga system is designed to enable a person to develop and refine their body and mind as a whole system, ultimately to achieve peace, bliss, and union.

Video: The 8 Limbs of Yoga – Introduction

Video Transcript

 

The Indian Saint, Patanjali, identified eight interrelated aspects of yoga practice in his text, The Yoga Sutras, which he composed during the classical period of yoga philosophy and history (200-800 CE).

These eight aspects are commonly referred to as the eight limbs of yoga practice or Ashtanga Yoga, “ash” meaning eight and “tanga” meaning limb or part.

It is important to remember that these eight limbs of yoga practice are not separate; they are interrelated parts with an integrative nature. In other words, working to master one aspect of yoga brings you closer to realizing the other seven aspects.

The purpose of the eight limb system is to enable you to develop and refine your body and mind as a whole system, ultimately to achieve peace, bliss, and union.

So what are the Eight Limbs of Yoga practice?

Yoga for Beginners: Paths of Yoga

Tri-Marga

The Bhagavad Gita calls Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Gyan Yoga the “Tri-Marga” or Threefold Path.

Karma Yoga

This type of yoga involves a disciplined approach to life where one pursues selfless action as a way to achieve spiritual perfection.

Bhakti Yoga

This type of yoga involves personal devotion to  and love for the Divine. Practicing this form of yoga leads to higher vibration and enlightenment. This type of faith is a common approach to spiritual transcendence that many world religions follow.

Gyan Yoga

This path of yoga involves the pursuit of wisdom or knowledge to achieve into one’s true nature and realization of the Divine. This practice requires intellect and dedication.

Raja Yoga

This path, also called the Royal Path, is an ashtanga path of meditation that involves all eight limbs of yoga. Kundalini is a raja yoga.

Hatha Yoga

The is the most popular path of yoga in modern times. It has a strong focus on cultivating the body in order to elevate the mind and consciousness.

Mantra Yoga

This path uses sound as a vehicle for merging one’s consciousness with the Divine and achieving transcendence. By coordinating breath and mantra (repeated words or sound) with rhythm  one transcends the duality of ego consciousness.

Just as all rivers end up in the ocean, all yoga ends up raising the kundalini. What is kundalini? It is the creative potential of all human beings.

Yogi Bhajan

Master of Kundalini Yoga

Yoga for Beginners: Chakras (Energy Centers of the Body)

The 8 Chakras

1. Muldara

Also called the “root” chakra, this energy center relates to security, survival, and self-acceptance. It is located at the bottom of the spine; the perineum.

2. Svadisthana

This energy center relates to desire and creativity. It is located at the area of the sexual organ.

3. Manipura

Also called the “navel” chakra, this energy center relates to will power and stability. It is located at the area of the navel point; solor plexus.

4. Anahata

Also called the “heart” chakra, this energy center relates to love, kindness, and connection. It is located in the middle of the chest at the level of the nipples.

5. Vishuddha

Also called the “throat” chakra, this energy center relates to expression of truth and authenticity. It is located at the throat.

6. Ajna

Also called the “third eye”, this energy center relates to concentration, intuition, and unity. It is located between the eyebrows.

7. Sahasrara (shush-ara)

Also called the “crown” chakra”, this energy center higher transcendence. It is located at the crown/top of the head.

8. The Aura

This energy center relates to the electromagnetic field that surrounds the body. It is the combined effect of all the other chakras that produces one’s projection or expressed totality.

Review Quiz

This is a five question review quiz to test your knowledge of the material above. Good luck!

The 8 Limbs of Yoga is also referred to as __________

 
 
 
 

Who composed the Yoga Sutras?

 
 
 
 

True or False? A person who practices yoga must follow the 8 Limbs of Yoga sequentially.

 
 

Which path of yoga is also called the “Royal Path”?

 
 
 
 
 
 

What is the name of the Heart Chakra?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Question 1 of 5

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