Yoga is a 5000 year old spiritual system developed in India by ancient sages. The classical yogas, (ways to attain union with god), include:
- Bhakti yoga - union obtained through love of god.
- Karma yoga - union through god dedicated action.
- Jnana yoga - union through knowledge, study, and discrimination.
- Raja yoga - union through meditation.
Hatha yoga - a more recent development is based upon the radical premise, (at the time), that a healthy mind and body are important adjuncts to the spirtual seeker. Before the time of Buddha , circa 500 B.C. the principal spirtual practices involved the belief that the body was the enemy of the spirit. Starvation, dehydration, flagellation and other techniques to deny the body were commonly employed by those seeking spirtual insights. Remnants of these practices are still found today. Part of what Buddha taught was that a strong healthy body is an important part of any seekers life. This helped lay the intellectual foundations for the world's oldest health system, Hatha Yoga.
Hatha Yoga - Ha means sun, tha means moon, yoga means union. For hundreds of years this system was used primarily as a preparatory yoga for the classical yogas mentioned above. More recently it has been considered a complete system leading to union by itself. Many, however, still consider it a part of Raja Yoga.
The eight steps of Raja yoga
- Yamas: (abstentions), truth, non-violence, abstinence, non stealing, non covetness.
- Niyamas: observances, austerities, purity, contentment, study, surrender.
- Asanas: Yoga postures or exercises.The central aspect of Hatha.
- Pranayama: breathing exercises leading to control of the bodies energy systems.
- Pratyahara: withdraw of the senses.
- Dharana: concentration.
- Dhyana: Meditation
- Samadhi: the super conscious state of union, the goal of all yogas
Hatha yoga is principally Asana, pranayama and mindfullness.
We will be learning a variety of yoga techniques principally but not exclusively Hatha. They will include over 30 asanas, 5 pranayamas, 3 mudras (symbolic gestures used during meditation or pranayama) and a variety of meditation techniques.
Credit will be based upon 80% attendance and 70% accuracy on a test. The test will be given during the last scheduled class. Dress comfortably in clothes that will not restrict your movement. Do not eat before class.