Throughout history—just as now—people were fascinated with yoga. What is it? How does it work? How does it incorporate various realms of existence from physical to spiritual? And then around 200BCE—to describe it with a modern parallel—Patanjali came along and wrote Yoga for Dummies: 8 Paths to Union.
If aforementioned title truly existed and had an annotated table of contents, it would look something like this:
Yoga for Dummies: 8 Paths to Union
Section One: Why?
Yoga can and should be more than just exercise. Being mindful of the other seven elements beside Asana creates a holistic and rewarding experience for the yogi both on and off the mat.
Section Two: How?
Chapter One: Choose your Own Adventure: Karma Can Be a Beauty or a Bi***
The Don’t’s (the Yamas)
- Be a Lover, Not a Hater (Ahimsa)
- Live without creating harm for others or for self.
- Say What You Need to Say (Satya)
- While honoring Ahimsa, be authentic in your words.
- Hands Off (Asteya)
- Claim only what you have earned.
- Hangover Free (Brahmacharya)
- Everything in moderation…including moderation.
- Simplify (Aparigraha)
- Seen the show Hoarders? Be mindful of the small habits now that can led to those extremes later; then, let go.
The Do’s (the Niyamas)
- Evian, Dove, and Farmer’s Markets (Saucha)
- Cleanse what comes in to you and what surrounds you.
- Gracias (Santosha)
- This moment is all that matters, so be here with gratitude.
- Feel the Burn (Tapas)
- It hurts to change habits that are hurtful.
- As a Man Thinks (Svadhyaya)
- Be humbly and responsively reflective.
- Amen (Isvara-pranidhana)
- Connect with the Divine in and through and of all things.
Chapter Two: Bend and Blow
- I Got the Moves like Jagger (the Asanas)
- Control your body and it will not control you.
- Take my Breath Away—and Then Take it Back (Pranayama)
- Manipulate your breath, because it is life and energy.
Chapter Three: Board the Train to Transcendence
- I’m Outta Here (Pratyahara)
- Avoid the distractions of the external while turning inward.
- Focus, Maaan (Dharana)
- Give your attention over completely to something worthy.
- On Your Knees (Dhyana)
- Lose yourself in a moment of uninhibited, worshipful meditation.
- Blurred Lines (Samadhi)
- In this collapse of all boundaries, we enter Heaven on earth.
Section Three: Lather, Rinse, Repeat
Yoga is a perpetual practice of trying and failing, attempting thus succeeding, accomplishing yet refining, deepening while surrendering, pausing during progressing.