The Basics of Yoga
YOGA is a philosophy about life which can vibrantly refresh your mind and body. To understand it, think of a tree. A tree is comprised of a lot of smaller things that without them, the tree would not survive. A tree is comprised of roots, bark, leaves, flowers, fruit, branches, etc. Likewise, Yoga is comprised of a lot of smaller things that without them, Yoga wouldn't survive.
To understand these smaller things, let's start out by saying that in Yoga there is a threefold quest. The threefold quest consists of the external quest, the inner quest, and the spiritual quest.
The external quest consists of behaviors, actions, and things you do to your physical body. That is to say that the external quest comprises of things in the material world. These are: yama, niyama, asana, and pranayama.
YAMA is what we would call "ethical principles." These would be beliefs and practices that one uses in daily life such as ahmisa, satya, asteya, brahmacharya, and aparigraha. Ahmisa means non-violence. Non-violence is very much a way of life and a way of thinking. It is the foundation for the others, because non-violence is a way of thinking, acting, treating yourself and others. Satya is truth, speaking and believing the truth in one's life. Asteya is non-stealing, which means that one should not shoplift or steal from someone else. Brahmacharya is sexual moderation, meaning that while sex is natural and wonderful, it should be done moderately and with meaning. Aparigraha means non-coveting, which says that you shouldn't covet what someone else has, whether that means someone else's lover or partner, or someone else's material clothing or beliefs.
NIYAMA is what we would call "individual disciplines." Niyama consists of saucha, santosa, tapas, svadyaya, and isvara prandihana. Saucha means purity. Purity is everything; physical appearance, purity of soul and mind and deeds. Santosa means contentment, which says that you should be content with what you have and not covet what others have. Tapas is the word for austerity. If one is austere, then one can face adversity and hardship triumphantly and grow internally. Svadyaya is the study of the self, so that if you study yourself you will learn truth about yourself and reach self-actualization. Isvara...