In the second in this series of my musings about daily rituals (see here for my first posting on one of my daily rituals – writing) I will be exploring what yoga means for me and why I have a daily practice.
I am hopeful that everyone is coping well (or as best they can) during lockdown for Coronavirus and I trust that everyone will make careful personal choices as to how they approach life as lockdown shifts to the next phase (whatever that may be).
I imagine many people are discovering that daily rituals feed and maintain wellbeing. In sharing my daily rituals, I hope I might inspire other people to think about building a structure to their day and be careful in choosing daily rituals that keep spirits high and positivity flowing, so they might benefit from this time of enforced social isolation. There are many resources available to help people during this time and to tap into creativity and wellbeing activities could be hugely rewarding and who knows – lead on to bigger and better things once this is all over. One of my goals is to be able to look back to this time and feel I spent my time wisely and it was a wholly positive experience for me.
Yoga as a daily ritual.
Those who know me well, know that for the last ten + years , I have been practicing yoga and for the last five years, have developed a daily practice.
Yoga is one of my daily rituals.
But what do I mean by yoga? Is it exercise? Is it about improving posture? Is it about gaining flexibility? Is it stilling the mind? Is it breath practice? Is it relaxation? Is it being about being mindful? Is it a meditation?
For me, it’s all of those things and so much more.
Yoga was intended to be an entire lifestyle, a way of living, a philosophy for life. When I first began to learn about yoga, it was a surprise for me to learn that the ‘asanas’ (the yoga poses we practice on the mat) were not even part of what the originator intended. How many people appreciate that?
The birth of yoga originally comes from the Vedas (ancient Hindu scriptures). This dates back between 4,000 to 5,000 years and the knowledge was passed down from teacher to student in the way of verses and poems. It wasn’t until the second century B.C. that a sage named Patanjali outlined what is known today as the Eight Limbs of Yoga (or Raja Yoga).
I have chosen to follow Raja Yoga as it provides a framework and has as its essence the union of ourselves — our mind, body, soul, spirit, and emotions. The word ‘yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit word yuj, which can be translated into ‘yoking’ or ‘union’. Raja Yoga is far more than a form of exercise and my daily ritual of rolling out my yoga mat to practice asanas has become a metaphore for the way I chose to live my life – what I learn and practice on the mat, I take with me off the mat and into the rest of my life.
To discover more about Raja yoga, this might be a useful place to start: The eight limbs of yoga.
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