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Classical Yoga

Classical Yoga entails learning the strict discipline of the mind. During Classical Yoga, the goal is not to have a blank mind. Rather, when practicing classical yoga they focus on disciplining their minds such that they are no longer able to identify specific thoughts and sensory perceptions. This goal is accomplished by following what is known as Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga.

The Eight Limbs of Classical Yoga

These eight limbs of classical yoga involve very strict physical, moral, and mental disciplines. Specifically, the eight limbs of classical yoga are moral restraint, religious observance, postures, breath control, sense withdrawal, concentration, meditative absorption, and enlightenment. When you take all of these limbs into consideration, you will realize that classical yoga is indeed a very demanding autosoteric system.

Classical Yoga Bodily Restraint

The first two limbs of classical yoga pertain to exercising your will. It places great emphasis on the practitioner, or yogi, restraining himself from lying, committing any form of violence, immorality, or theft, and exhibiting greed. The yogi is also expected to practice purity, religious fervour, a study of self, contentment, and complete surrender to God.

Exercising The Body

The next two limbs of classical yoga, asanas and pranayama, are focused on exercising the body. Although it was not originally intended, these two limbs have been isolated from the other limbs through the promotion of hatha yoga, a form of yoga that is predominantly composed of these two limbs. Patanjali’s original intention was for the yogi to assume these postures and practice the breathing techniques so as to prepare the mind and body for meditation.

Exercising The Mind

The nest three limbs of classical yoga are the mental exercises. To achieve the yogi’s desired pure state of consciousness, it is necessary for him to withdraw from the input of his own senses and develop his power of concentration. For these mental exercises, you may want to practice by concentrating on a particular sound such as the chanting of a mantra. Other practitioners concentrate on an image such as a religious symbol or even something as mundane as the tip of one’s nose. It doesn’t really matter what you focus on because the goal is to concentrate on an object until such time that the object itself disappears from your focus. This is when meditative absorption is achieved and you are finally able to experience cosmic consciousness and feel that you are one with God or with the Universe.

Classical Yoga Enlightenment

If you observe the first seven limbs diligently and persistently, you are expected to ultimately experience Samadhi or enlightenment, which the eighth and final limb of classical yoga. This limb is defined as direct knowledge that is free from the distortions of imagination. When a yogi achieves the eighth limb of classical yoga, he is believed to be finally free from the influence of the gunas. This is the ultimate goal of the practice – for the yogi to finally become indifferent to everything that is part of the material world.

When a yogi attains Samadhi, he is believed to be freed from accumulating karma. At this point, the only karma he needs to work out is the karma that was accumulated before he attained enlightenment. As soon as that remaining karmic debt is settled, the yogi will have achieved deliverance and his long journey in life through classical yoga will finally be over.

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