March 19, 2018 | By More

Today, Yoga is very popular world wide, although, most of the emphasis is on applying it’s techniques for physical exercise, a way to stay healthy, in shape and lose weight. Most practitioners will attend classes once or twice a week, rarely perform practices at home and tend to not think of Yoga during the day. As a result, many of it’s benefits are lost, due to lack of understanding.

The Yoga Institute, in Mumbai, India, founded in 1918, soon to celebrate it’s 100th. anniversary, is the oldest recognized Yoga Center in the world. It has been promoting Yoga, for the benefit of house holders, people like you and I, with all the demands of family, work, busy schedules and the resulting high levels of stress. It’s involvement with people of all walks of life, different cultures and different states of physical and mental health, has led them to promote Patanjali’s Classic Yoga, the 8 fold Path, as the most suited for the Modern man and woman. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, (160 short sentences) chapter 2, sutra 29, he describes the techniques of Classic Yoga, with Hatha Yoga being the first 5 steps and Raja Yoga the last 3.

The Institute’s focus is on the Hatha Yoga techniques, with a brief reference to Raja Yoga, whose techniques are very advanced and beyond the average person’s capabilities. Patanjali lists the Hatha Yoga techniques, which are five in number, YAMA (restraint), NIYAMA (observance), ASANA (posture), PRANAYAMA (regulation of breath) and PRATYAHARA (control of senses.) This is a step by step approach, with the perfection of any one of these steps dependent on the perfection of the preceding ones.

YAMA consists of restraint/discipline, self control, in order not to cause INJURY to anyone. It is recommended that a serious student of Yoga becomes vigilant, aware of his/her thoughts, emotions, reactions and restraining any of these, that might cause injury to another being. This discipline can be practiced in all situations throughout the day, leading to more positive relationships, peace of mind and minimizing stress. There are four other restraints listed in this sutra, all of which support the practice of NON-INJURY.

NIYAMA are observances/attitudes that are suggested to be followed in every day life. PURITY is listed as the first observance, with the care of the body and healthy diet comprising external Purity. Internal Purity/cleanliness, would be the cultivation of positive thoughts, feelings and emotions. There are four other observances listed, which enhance and promote internal and external Purity.

ASANA, posture, is described as Motionless and Agreeable. When a posture can be held comfortably, it is called Yogic Asana. Normally we think of these qualities being exhibited in meditative postures, yet, traditionally the cultural postures ( for the good of the body) were also performed as static practices. This would be very difficult and cause strain, for the average person, as the posture would be held for a long period of time. The Institute incorporates a static pause, which includes holding the breath for a short time, during maximum stretch and relaxing of effort, with all cultural postures, thus keeping the spirit of static practices, while performing them with movement.

PRANAYAMA (breath control) is achieved by retention, after inhalation and suspension after exhalation. The Institute has developed institutional pranayamas, relaxed/gentle breathing, with a conscious pause, aimed at controlling and strengthening the individual muscles used in breathing and increasing the amount of oxygen distributed to different areas of the lungs. These would be a preparation for more advanced breath control, as a way to gain better health and mental quietude.

PRATYAHARA is the bridge between Hatha and Raja Yoga and represents the mind and senses shifting from an external focus, to an internal focus. This is a preparation for the intense and advanced techniques of Raja Yoga, requiring a controlled and one pointed state of mind, for a long duration.


The Yoga Institute encourages incorporating the Classic Yoga Techniques, into one’s daily lifestyle, in order to realize their maximum benefits. Initially,the aim is to overcome any health concerns then to develop good physical and mental health, positive relationships and peace of mind. Once a more balanced lifestyle and clarity of mind is achieved, it is possible to gain a deeper understanding of Life and it’s purpose.

Category: Articles, Fitness & Bodyworks

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