Yoga Philosophy – Ancient Wisdom for Modern Living

Yoga philosophy teaches that everything has a soul. This includes humans, plants, animals and even rocks. It teaches that each soul is eternal, wise and blissful.

Yoga is based on the philosophy of Samkhya but also has unique aspects of its own. Yoga teaches that the restless mind, when properly harnessed, provides a reservoir of peace and energy.

The Body

Yoga philosophy encompasses many different practices and world views, some of which are difficult for Westerners to grasp. But the foundational tenets can help us cultivate tools to be happier and more connected both to our bodies and something much greater than ourselves. The ancient sages who developed yoga spent thousands of years in deep study and practice. They learned to navigate the complexities of human life, such as how to overcome racism and sectarianism; how to have a peaceful, progressive society; how to reduce hatred and conflict; how to deal with fear of death and other anxieties; and how to have a spiritual identity that gives meaning to our lives.

These sages also developed practical solutions to personal and global problems. One such solution is the notion that we must learn to consciously connect with ourselves and with the universe in order to feel more at peace. They also emphasized that it is important to find balance in the life through various yogic practices, such as posture-flows (asana), breathing exercises (pranayama) and mindfulness meditation.

Another tenet of yoga philosophy is the belief that everything, from people to animals to plants, has a soul. When we understand that all living beings have a soul, it helps to cultivate compassion and empathy for all beings. This teaches that we must respect all life and not harm, lie or steal. It also allows us to understand that every experience we have is meant to teach us and bring us closer to our soul.

The sages of yoga believe that our bodies are composed of three vital body sheaths or “koshas.” These are annamaya kosha, pranamaya kosha and causal body. The annamaya kosha is our physical body; the pranamaya kosha is the energy body; and the causal body is the etheric or astral body. The yogi seeks to master all three of these bodies to eventually achieve moksha, freedom from cyclical re-birth.

In addition, the sages of yoga believe that there are a set of ethical guidelines called yamas and niyamas that all students must adhere to. These include commitments not to harm, steal, overindulge or desire more than we need; but instead, to be content, pure, self-disciplined and studious.

The Mind

The mind is the seat of emotions, thoughts, beliefs, memory, and will. It is also the vehicle through which you experience and interpret reality and the environment. The mind is often referred to as “the conscious” or the “ego.” The mind is a complex system that can be extremely difficult to understand, and many cultures have very different ideas about how it works. Yoga philosophy shines a light on the workings of the mind and offers tools to help you master it.

Patanjali describes the mind as a sort of clay that is easily molded and affected by external influences, which are called “vrittis.” These vrittis create the impressions in the mind known as samskaras, or stains. The samskaras are not permanent, though. The yogi knows that by recognizing the main factors that influence how one feels, they can begin to change these impressions.

Ultimately, the goal of the yogi is to develop self-discipline in order to gain control over the fluctuations of the mind. This is an important first step in a process that will lead to seeing your true Self as separate from the workings of the mind and thereby reducing suffering. Yoga philosophy teaches that it is important to learn about the functions of the mind and to practice meditation, asana, and pranayama in order to work with the mind rather than against it.

It is also important to realize that your experiences may not be the actual truth and that you have the power to mold the samskaras in the mind through positive thinking and behavior. The yogi is like the owner of an ice skating rink who calls in the zamboni to smooth out the marks that have been left by skates.

Ultimately, Yoga philosophy is built on the foundation of Samkhya, but with the addition that it emphasizes the spiritual release (moksha) of the spirit (purusha) from its bondage to material existence (prakriti). As such, Yoga philosophy is an attempt to reverse this evolutionary process in the individual so they can regain their original state of purity and consciousness.

The Soul

Yoga Philosophy explores themes like self-awareness, cultivating a calm and focused mind, connecting to your inner spirit, and finding balance in the physical, emotional, and spiritual. This type of thinking is important to deepening your practice, understanding the philosophies behind the asanas (poses), breath work, dhyana (meditation) and other aspects of yoga.

It’s nearly impossible to study Yoga Philosophy without talking about or learning about God. Some people may not believe in God, but even for those that don’t it is still a common topic to discuss when studying Yoga Philosophy. This is because Yoga Philosophy teaches that the soul is all-loving and when you connect to your true spiritual nature, it becomes easier to love others and be patient with them.

In fact, yogic philosophy states that all things in the universe are ensouled and that the world itself is a reflection of Spirit. This is why it’s so hard to destroy the universe and why, in theory, even a human body, made of patterns of condensed electrons, can never truly die.

The philosophy of yoga teaches that the soul is eternal, full of wisdom and bliss. It also teaches that everything has a soul, even plants and animals. This is an important concept for yoga because it allows students to cultivate compassion towards everyone they meet and all living things around them.

It also teaches that anything the soul wants, it can have through the power of its consciousness. This is why the practice of Yoga teaches to control the mind so that it can be used for positive purposes, not as an outlet for negative emotions. This is where the idea of “ahimsa” comes from, which means doing no harm to yourself or anyone else.

Patanjali was the first to systematize yoga into a body of philosophy. While his metaphysical foundation consists mostly of Sankhya, he makes a major modification by adding the element of Purusha. Essentially, he believes that Prakriti and Purusha are equal and that the world evolves out of this union. The manifested universe is referred to as the Parinama, or the result of this union.

The Buddhi

Yoga Philosophy is a system of beliefs that recognizes all beings are souls. This concept teaches us to have compassion for all beings on this planet and that everything that comes into our life is meant for our soul to experience, learn, grow, and develop. It also helps us to cultivate a sense of interconnectedness with the world around us.

The deeper you dive into yoga philosophy the more you will come to understand the importance of buddhi in your yogic journey. Buddhi is the part of the mind that allows you to discern and access your higher wisdom. It is a state of clear and calm awareness that can help you get to know the deeper dimensions of yourself and your experiences.

In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali buddhi is explained as the ability to see things for what they really are rather than being caught up in false impressions. For example, have you ever ate something that was not the best for you even though the wisdom of your body was telling you not to? This is a great example of desire vs. buddhi.

When you are able to access your buddhi you can begin to listen to the screams of the body and consciously make choices for health and wellness. Over time, with consistent practice, the screams of desire will fade and your buddhi will become sharper and more clear.

It is through this unified and one-pointed awareness that you will be able to recognize that you are not your body or your mind. This is one of the core concepts of yoga and it can be quite a comforting idea to recognize that everything that happens to you in this lifetime is happening for your soul to learn, grow, and develop.

In the end, if you are able to master the art of yoga and gain a deep understanding of these ancient teachings, it is said that you will eventually reach enlightenment or bodhi. This is the culmination of all of your spiritual efforts and it is considered to be the cessation of all suffering. This is a beautiful thing that all yogis should strive for and it can be achieved through a regular practice of yoga and a conscious choice to work toward your spiritual goals.