Definition of Yoga

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Yoga is the Sanskrit term for Yoke or Union, where we as humans are joined or connected to the universal energy that each of us manifests—each of us as a person, plant, animal, or object. Yoga practice is traced to ancient India. Sages studied life and developed an organized approach to being healthy and peaceful. Their written texts of this approach include the Bhagavad Gita, of which there are numerous translations.

The language of the sages was Sanskrit. Sanskrit is a beautiful language, and our videos will include Sanskrit words so you can hear them and learn about them. There are numerous written and audio texts available to help you learn more about Sanskrit.

Yoga practice encompasses moral, physical and breathing practices. There are 8 limbs of yoga practice. In our video, you will hear the pronunciation for each limb.

  • Yama These are social ethics, of which there are 5. They are: ahimsa (non-violence),satya (truth),asteya (non-stealing),brahmacharya (using one’s energy for service),and aparigraha (non-hoarding)
  • Niyama  These are personal ethics, of which there are 5. They are: sauca (purity), santosa (contentment), tapas (heat, or change), svadhyaya (learning about one’s self), and isvarapranidhana (surrendering to a higher energy)
  • Asana  The postures constitute asana, and are the physical practice with which we are most familiar. There are many methods of asana practice.
  • Pranayama  Breathing patterns constitute pranayama, (prana = life)
  • Pratyahara  Withdrawing of the sense to train the mind is pratyahara
  • Dharana  The ability to maintain one’s focus is dharana
  • Dhyana Once dharana is attained, dhyana, meditation, follows
  • Samadhi The skillful practice of the first 7 limbs leads to bliss, or samadhi

Throughout our blog, we will address each limb of yoga so we can fully appreciate its application in our daily lives.

Lisa Marie Bernardo, PhD, MPH, RN, HFS
Blog Info
This blog highlights the current evidence for integrating yoga into cancer care. Strategies for practicing the eight-limbs of yoga are posted and shared. Video links allow for demonstration of yoga practices that benefit everyone.
Author Bio
Lisa Marie Bernardo, PhD, RN, is a registered yoga teacher (RYT). She serves as a co-investigator on research projects related to yoga in women with osteopenia and individuals at risk for type-2 diabetes. Dr. Bernardo is an ACSM-certified Cancer Exercise Trainer and Health Fitness Specialist. She maintains a private practice in mind-body fitness using yoga, Stott-Pilates, and Gyrotonic to serve individuals with special healthcare needs.
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