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    The Art Of Yoga And Meditation Essay

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    To be one with oneself is said to be a great gift, possibly the greatest gift. This is the idea behind the Yogic lifestyle and ways. Many probably wonder what a yogic lifestyle is, I myself had to search not only in books, teachers, but also within myself. One thing I learned about Yoga is that everything is modified to fit your beliefs and strengths. But if you are anything like myself you want hard core, written stone beliefs. So thats where the 8 Limbs of Yoga enter. The 8 Limbs of Yoga consist of eight different stages that one must go through in order to reach enlightenment and self-realization.

    Yoga itself means union of the parts of ourselves, which were never divided in the first place. In Yoga, the intention is to yoke, which means to join; it is the same as the absorption in the state of Samadhi. The first step or stage in the 8 Limbs of Yoga is Yamas. Yamas is moral observance of non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, celibacy and non-covetousness. Love, joy, and peace are deep states of Being, or rather three aspects of the state of inner connectedness with Being (Tolle 29). In this stage is where you see Meditation. Meditation describes a state of concentrated attention on some object of thought or awareness.

    It usually involves turning the attention to the mind itself. In this stage one must observe yourself, and watch your worries and thoughts go away. For example, this particular stage is in reference to the Savasana that is taken at the beginning and end of every physical practice. This is the point of where you can do a body scan and determine where you are holding tension and what you need to let go. The second step or stage is Niyama. Niyama in a sense is your inner integrity. In this stage you find purity, contentment and knowledge in oneself. This is once again accomplished through mediation.

    The third step or stage is the most common, and the most recognized yoga practice, Asanas. Asanas translated means seat. The word is used to describe the yoga postures, but also refers to the position of the spirit in relation to divinity. The physical practices consist of several different sequences that challenge the body was well as the mind. Many learn and follow these sequences through classes, videos, and the most common is through the Yoga Sutras. The Yoga Sutra is book depicting the sequences and positions in detail. Yoga Sutra itself refers to the joining of several threads into one.

    Yoga is the control of the modifications of the mind (Sutra 2). The idea behind the Yoga Sutras is to witness your inner state, so as to experientially go beyond all of them to the center of consciousness. The sequences are used to challenge your physical capabilities, your mental stability, and your oneness. By oneness it is meant when you reach a state in where you are completely in the now and are not worrying about the past or the future. The fourth step or stage to the 8 Limbs of Yoga is Pranayama. Pranayama refers to breath control. It means control of the life force (prana).

    It is commonly used to describe the various yogic breathing exercises that help give one control of the life force. The word enlightenment conjures up the idea of some super-human accomplishment, ad the ego likes to keep it that way, but it is simply your natural states of felt oneness with Being (Tolle 12). What The Power of Now is trying to say is that oneness is the path to enlightenment; one way of reaching oneness is through your breathing. When one focuses on his/or her breathing it makes all thoughts of the monkey mind drift away and allows one to have a truly clear mind to focus on you.

    The fifth step or stage is Pratyahara. In the 8 Limbs of Yoga, Pratyahama is referring to preparing your mind for the practice by withdrawal of your senses. This moment is as it should be because the universe is as it is. Every problem is an opportunity in disguise (Chopra). At this stage, the consciousness of the individual is internalized in order that the sensations from the senses of taste, touch, sight, hearing and smell don’t reach their respective centers in the brain. With this, the Sadhaka, which is discipline, is free to meditate without distractions.

    At the advanced levels, the practitioners turn off the electrical currents, which flow through the nerves and even the involuntary muscles. This is accomplished through breath-control. The sixth stage or step in the yogic path of The 8 Limbs of Yoga is Dharana. Dharana can be translated as “holding steady. It is the initial step of deep meditation, where the object being meditated upon is held in the mind without consciousness wavering from it. That is, the meditator is conscious that he/she is meditating (that is, is conscious of the act of meditation) on an object, and of his or her own self, which is concentrating on the object.

    In the subsequent stage, as the meditator becomes more advanced, consciousness of the act of meditation disappears, and only the consciousness of being/existing and the object of concentration exist. In the final stage of Samadhi, the self also dissolves, and the meditator becomes one with the object. Generally, the object of concentration is God, or the Self, which is seen as God itself. The seventh stage or step of the yogic path is Dhyana. Dhyana refers to meditation, or an uninterrupted flow of attention of the psychic energy to an object. For example, an exercise that was practiced in class was concentration on the flame.

    It requires that one concentrate on the flame of a candle till you can close your eyes and see the flame inside yourself. The concentration allows one to reach a state of mind where all worries fade, and ones Atman reaches calmness. Atman refers to ones soul. The eighth and final stage is Samadhi. Samadhi is a term that describes a non-dualistic state of consciousness, an illusion, in which the consciousness of the experiencing subject becomes one with the experienced object, and in which the mind becomes still (one-pointed or concentrated) though the person remains conscious.

    This state of mind of which is an illusion is referred to Maya; Maya is the phenomenal world of separate objects and people, which creates for some the illusion that it is the only reality. The goal of enlightenment is to understand this more precisely, to experience this, to see intuitively that the distinction between the self and the universe is a false truths. The distinction between consciousness and physical matter, between mind and body, is the result of an unenlightened perspective. The last stage of The 8 Limbs of Yoga is the final step for one to finally reach enlightenment.

    In the end it could take long periods of time to reach the final stage of the yogic path. Brahman is the unchanging, infinite, immanent, and transcendent reality which is the Divine Ground of all matter, energy, time, space, being, and everything beyond in this universe. The 8 Limbs of Yoga is ones path to wholeness where our Brahman is fulfilled. We need to enjoy and take responsibility on what is happening now, not on what happened, whats going to happen or what if. These worries only occupy your mind, and do not allow you to enjoy what is going on (Tolle).

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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