Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Preparing for yoga session ( sadhana)

I still remember my first yoga session, I was a teenager and my head was full of thoughts, impulses and emotions.
One of the first things that the yoga teacher told us, was to relax, close our eyes, empty the mind and leave everything that happened in that day , behind, like a coat on the floor.
After that, the teacher told us to create a sacred space around us, to fill it with peace and harmony.
He also told us that we can try at  home to create a special place for our practice, lighting some aromatic candles, putting some suggestive images around us, like yantras or manadalas.
I still try to create a space that is special for my practice and I find nature , the best place for a yoga practice.
The most important thing is always to give ourselves a moment between our activities, to become aware about what we did and what we are going to do and, as they always say , you have to stand "naked" before the Divine.
This "nudity" means taking off our daily personality for a while, give ourselves a break, get closer to our inner space.
This preparation moment before starting a yoga practice is necessary for the transition between our profane self , to our sacred self.
 Some people prefer doing asanas using a music as a background sound, I personally prefer the silence, or the nature's sounds.
Whatever helps you to create your own sacred place, don't forget to fill it with love and gratitude.

Wishing you a peaceful day!

Friday, 21 August 2015

Yama and Nyama, the true values of a yoga practitioner

After so many years of yoga practice, you really start to appreciate your decision on following some moral values, because you realize they build a character and a destiny.
Traditionally , yogis follow as part of their practice, some moral values called Yama and Nyama.
Some of you might read already about them, some tried to put them in practice, but society is not always the best place for them.
The Yama  values are according to the Hindu Upanishad:
  1. Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): Nonviolence
  2. Satya (सत्य): truthfulness
  3. Asteya (अस्तेय): not stealing
  4. Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य): continence
  5. Kṣamā (क्षमा): forgiveness
  6. Dhṛti (धृति): fortitude
  7. Dayā (दया): compassion
  8. Ārjava (आर्जव): non-hypocrisy, sincerity
  9. Mitāhāra (मितहार): measured diet
  10. Śauca (शौच): purity, cleanliness
The Nyama values according to Upanihad
  1. Tapas: persistence, perseverance in one's purpose, austerity
  2. Santoṣa: contentment, acceptance of others and of one's circumstances as they are, optimism for self
  3. Āstikya: faith in Real Self (jnana yoga, raja yoga), belief in God (bhakti yoga), conviction in Vedas/Upanishads (orthodox school)
  4. Dāna: generosity, charity, sharing with others
  5. Īśvarapūjana: worship of the Ishvara (God/Supreme Being, Brahman, True Self, Unchanging Reality)
  6. Siddhānta vakya śrāvaṇa: listening to the ancient scriptures
  7. Hrī: remorse and acceptance of one's past, modesty, humility
  8. Mati: think and reflect to understand, reconcile conflicting ideas
  9. Japa: mantra repetition, reciting prayers or knowledge
  10. Huta: rituals, ceremonies such as yajna sacrifice

Yama is the guide for the yogi to have an attitude also in society regarding others, while Nyama focuses more into ourselves and our attitude towards our own spiritual practice.
I always focused more on some values that maybe are easier for me to cope, such as forgiveness and compassion, sincerity, also about perseverance and faith.
Trying to follow all these values might be a challenge, but in the end its our personal daily battle to improve ourselves, learn and grow as individuals.
A yogi living in this materialistic world where people lie, steal and have no dignity trying to make some money, might feel discouraged to apply these values, but don't be scared, loosing some benefits, will bring a bit of respect for yourself and that is more awarding and priceless.
You can't do a real yoga practice if you are not happy about who you are as a person, that will always make you reject yourself, that's why these values come to help you correct your attitudes and for sure you'll sleep better at night.
That's all for today, i hope i brought a little light into your life :)

source for Sanskrit translation

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

What is yoga ?

Many people ask me what is yoga? Is it a religion? Is it a sport? Is it a cult ?
It's always a bit difficult to explain that, first of all yoga is a tool, a support, a way and a path towards something greater, which is ourselves and the Divine.
When I first had my contact with yoga I was very little, around 7-8 years old, my brother was a teenager and was trying to practice yoga at home.
I would spy on him and try to imitate him like a little monkey, without knowing what is behind all those movements called asanas.
Being a teenager myself, I started to have a big curiosity about my body and how it works and then I rediscovered yoga , at a yoga school in Bucharest and I understood that it's like a science combined with spirituality.
Yoga is the perfect union of spiritual and rational, religion and science.
I think that yoga has so many levels of knowledge, it starts from the basics which is your body through physical exercises and breathing technics, then it slowly takes you to a deep level which is meditation and modified states of the consciousness.
The ultimate goal of an authentic yoga practitioner is always to reach a higher level of spirituality and approach through the Divine and his own essence.