We are aware that yoga has several benefits for both the mind and the body. Yoga can help increase concentration, improve physical fitness and assist in healing many diseases. It is been practiced now for hundreds of years in different countries and is quite popular for the benefits practitioners get out of it. However, the ultimate goal that many people want to achieve through yoga is “Moksha” (salvation).
“Moksha” is a way of liberating self from “sansar” (material world) in which people have to go through cycles of birth and death as well as all the worldly sufferings. Achieving “Moksha” means you are released from such life cycles on this planet and are able to create enlightened relation with the almighty creator. However, different viewpoints exist between various schools of yoga regarding creation of such enlightened relationship.
- Monist Schools: These schools like Jainism and Shaivism believe that by attaining Moksha you get the realization of similarity with supreme creator, Brahma.
- Bhakti School: In bhakti schools such as that of Vaishnavism, it is believed that enlightened relationship is attained with Vishnu.
Even with differing viewpoints on enlightenment, all the schools are univocal on goals a practitioner should have, which are attaining tranquility as well as spiritual insight.
Path to Achieving Moksha
For yoga practitioners, path to achievement of “Moksha” is quite difficult and necessitates a self disciplined as well as austere life style which adheres to 5 yoga principles; right exercise, proper diet, correct relaxation, right thinking, proper breathing and good meditation.
These rules according to which a yoga practitioner carries forward his or her self disciplined life are known as “niyama” and “yama”.
Yama and Niyama
Niyama that mean personal practices and yama, which stand for social ethics, are the basic steps that help you create conscious relationship between you and the world. Yama and Niyama are believed to be initial part of 8-fold Patanjali yoga. In simple terms, Niyama and Yama are the rules and guidelines of how a human being should live his or her life.
Several yoga masters believe that goal of yoga is to gain better control over your mind and body. The various asanas in yoga help to bring every part of the body in sync with each other and help the practitioner get the most benefit out of it.
Yoga consists of many different things and if done properly, can be very beneficial for the practitioner. For many it is just a way of achieving better physical and mental fitness while for others it paves the way towards “Moksha”.