The Ideal Human Being Does This According to Hinduism
Hundreds of thousands of people all over the world wake up at the crack of dawn to enter a dimly lit room, roll out their weathered yoga mats and move from Sun Salutations to Downward Dog. Yoga, most commonly known as an exercise regimen, has been incorporated into the lives of extremely successful individuals as well as those searching for stress relief or personal healing. Whatever the reason, it has united great worlds apart and continues to invite many more without discrimination, judgment or added burdens. Though the practice originated from India, today, it is found in private studios, DVDs and almost every gym.
Most people have a vague understanding that yoga is a meditative practice that stems from India, but it incorporates many Hindu principles and beliefs. There is a great emphasis on individual awareness of the self in context of the individual, with the society and with the Divine.
Meditation in Motion
The yoga known as the exercise and physical practice is only one of eight parts that make up the entirety of the yoga system. The eight-part practice is centered around meditation on God or the Absolute.
Yama constitutes the ethical belief system. It encourages faithfulness to God and truthfulness and abstinence from stealing, violence and attachment. Niyama reinforces positive behaviors that all mankind should share. It purports the necessity to be clean, content, self-disciplined as well as to always be in self-reflection and devoted to God.
The physical aspect of this practice that people are most familiar with is asana. These collections of poses are designed to strengthen the temple that is the body, create flexibility and positive energy. By emptying any tension held within the body, it allows for positive energy flow and deep relaxation that is imperative to comfortably and earnestly meditate upon God. Pranayama calls for controlled and conscientious breathing motions that create inner calm, peace and vitality.
Because the spiritual and physical portions of yoga encourage an immense level of self-awareness, by consequence, it allows for release. Pratyahara inspires the individual to rise above daily tribulations and hardships and not to be weighed down by the ups and downs of life. It calls for positive thinking and to view the challenges of life as chances to heal.
Dharana is in reference to extremely focused and high-powered concentration. To complement, dhyana is specifically designed for meditation upon the Absolute, stilling the disturbances of the mind and opening the heart for healing and love. The final component and objective of yoga is Samadhi, the state where the individual is in direct presence of God, a condition of eternal bliss, peace and contentment.
Each of the eight parts of yoga is designed to bring the individual better understanding of him or herself while creating a space within for the Absolute. By the end of it all, the seasoned yogi will have achieved perfect peace and relationship with God.
Four Ways to Yoga
Hindu belief purports that the ideal person contains four qualities in equilibrium. These four qualities are in correspondence to the four “denominations” of yoga which go hand in hand with the eight “limbs” of yoga. Each denomination interprets the eight-part yoga system in a different way.
Raja-Yoga is search for the mystical union between the human self and the Higher Self. It is the practice and pursuit for the individual to discover his or her elevated and holy state. Raja-Yoga calls for transcendence above what is human in nature in exploration for what is far more divine and achieve a type of re-created self.
Karma-Yoga regards the relationship people as individuals have to humanity as a whole. Oftentimes referring to man as the “worker,” Karma-Yoga seeks to create a peaceful union between the person and the entirety of mankind. Allowing for conscious citizenship, ideally, every member of society would work for the betterment of the whole while individually attaining peace and contentment.
Taking Karma-Yoga to a macroscopic scale, Jnana-Yoga works to create an understanding of all existence, taking a more philosophical stance on the practice. It tackles challenging topics such as the identity and responsibility of man in context of existence.
Quite possibly the most religiously explicit, Bhakti-Yoga concerns the quest for union in love between the individual and the God of love. Once this relationship of love between God and man is accomplished, it creates a culture by which love permeates society through the individual.
All four agendas work together to bring enlightenment, healing and understanding to the individual. It provides a method for people who practice yoga to perceive their identity in context of mysticism, society and philosophy, creating a bigger and more open mind and body as well as bringing awareness to the individual as a player in this vast world.
The Perfect Human Being in Four Parts
All four divisions strive for union between the individual man and its counterpart: the higher self, mankind, all of existence and the God of love. The true message and mission of yoga is not only to provide an exercise regimen, but to present a way for each person to experience a spiritual and transcendent level of consciousness, positivity and bliss.
The Hindu belief system ingrained inside of the yoga practice maintains that the true and perfect person contains all four aspects in balanced measures. Each person possesses qualities of mysticism (self-growth and transcendence), emotion (love), work (model citizenship) and philosophy (the Absolute) and thereby attains a coveted union with all parts and levels of life. The result is a perfect person in tune with his or her surroundings on earth, what is spiritual and what is internal.