This winter, Yoga Australia is encouraging people to practice yoga in celebration of International Day of Yoga with our online 30 Days of Yoga Program. Over the course of the month, you will learn about asanas, meditation, mindfulness, breathing techniques and philosophy of yoga. 30 Days of yoga will allow participants to take up yoga, commit to a deeper practice or create a new healthy habit to stay active during winter!
How is 30 Days of Yoga different to other online challenges out there?
Most online yoga courses only take into account one limb – asana, and use it mainly as a form of exercising. While the physical aspects of yoga are well known, devotional and spiritual practices are often overlooked. The core of yoga philosophy is an eight-limbed path that forms the structural framework for authentic yoga practice. The model of the 30 Days of Yoga provides unique opportunity to develop not only your body, but mind and spirit.
In brief the eight-limbs, or steps to yoga, are as follows:
1. Yama – how we relate to others
Yamas are universal practices of ethics and integrity on and off our mat. The five yamas are non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence and non-covetousness.
2. Niyama – how we relate to ourselves
The second limb has to do with personal observances. The niyamas are more intimate and personal in comparison to yamas; they refer to the attitude we adopt toward ourselves.
3. Asana – how we relate to our body
Asana is the physical posture and this is the limb that is most practiced in the west. Through the practice of asana, yogis learn to build strength, dissolve tensions, get rid of the toxins and increase general mobility. From the yogic perspective, the body is a temple of spirit, and by taking care of it we ensure spiritual growth.
4. Pranayama – how we relate to our breath or spirit
Breath control is the fourth stage, which consists of techniques that involve measuring, control and directing of the breath. Pranayama helps control the energy within the organism and the respiratory process while recognising the connection between the breath, the mind and the emotions.
5. Pratyahara – how we relate to our sense organs
Pratyahara means drawing back or retreat, which gives yogis an opportunity to take a step back and observe themselves. It can also be seen as the practice of non-attachment and withdrawal of the 5 senses, where we go down the path of self realisation and determine the habits/patterns/actions that are damaging to our inner peace.
6. Dharana – how we relate to our mind
Dharana is the practice of concentration of the mind. The essential idea is to hold the focus of attention in one direction or concentrate on a single mental object. From the practice of dharana we learn how to slow down the thinking process and avoid distraction of mind.
7. Dhyana – moving beyond the mind
Dhyana is commonly translated as meditation. It is the absorption of the mind on one object, or point, or an idea, without distraction for a prolonged period of time. While Dhyana appears to be very similar to meditation, dharana practices one-pointed attention, dhyana is ultimately a state of being keenly aware without a single focus.
8. Samadhi – deep realisation and inner union
Samadhi is the supreme state of consciousness.