The Spirit, The Soul – Introduction Into The Binding Essence Between Buddhism And Yoga
I, along with many in our society who would seek and study for deeper spiritual meanings and, through this quest, along the trail of years would alongside pursue the practice of yoga, would also witness an evolving natural inclination and a favorable exposure to its sister practices and philosophies that lie in the very core of meditative principles. As a humble contemplative Earthling, who yet finds themselves easily swept into the void and hurdle of the everyday, it is a consolidating and a rather inviting realm to venture into – a completion and an extension of the rewarding routines of yoga, as well as an intriguing and timeless, while temporal, sphere folding around the great themes and motifs regarding our very existence, the many reflecting roles of humanity, the juxtaposition between the human and the radiant nature upon and around us.
The Never Ending Journey
It is a ceaseless, contemplative voyage into complex, categorical questions with open-ended answers and, in any case, a tiny scratch upon the surface of the subject. As Jiddu Krishnamurti so delicately forms it: “There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning”. Within his words of wisdom, let us venture on. Yoga is, along with many other individually entwined depths and meanings, mental and emotional restriction through physical routine, the aim for gentle control over the wandering mind through the practice of elated exercise, the reach towards the static and balanced presence. It is domain where we focus on maintaining grace while in the postures, where breathing and concentration is key. As Thich Nhat Hanh states,
“Our true home is life, and life is in the present moment — so mindful breathing can bring us back to our true home, to life”.
Yoga and The Present Moment
Calm in the storm, through yoga, applying the spiritual principles that can ground us. Binding the body and the mind, developing active attendance for what is here and what is now – as Alice Morse Earle, in her book Sun Dials and Roses of Yesterday: Garden Delights beautifully states “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.” Thus, a dive into the thematic teachings and diligent doctrines of Buddhism, an ancient spiritual philosophy that has relevant connotations into the life of an individual currently present on Earth, will perhaps help us to further embody a calmness and an acceptance towards life, an outlook that can potentially provide a valuable additional depth into our yoga exercise as well – an insight on bringing us closer to life, closer to achieving the substance of a rounded well-being, bringing yoga and Buddhism into tangent as transcendent personal pursuit.
What is Buddhism? Who is Buddha?
Buddhism is outlined by a variety of definitions as a religion originating from India during 6th and 4th centuries BCE through the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, better known as the Buddha. The central essence of Buddhism embodies the inevitability of suffering that is brought to us by human desires and the very living itself, a process that we entangle upon again and again through a series of reincarnations due to our attachment to ourselves, while the impermanence of material elements still prevails. The path towards a Divine Enlightenment consists of a series of principles known as the Eight-Fold Path and Noble Truths, the following of these eventually being rewarded with Nirvana, the ending of all humanly possessions. According to David Frawley, who writes very extensively over the relationship and co-existence of these philosophies in his article Yoga And Buddhism: Similarities And Differences, he states that while the principles of yoga and Buddhism inevitably to a degree differ, there are shared and unifying underlying streams that bind these two together, and they are often connected through yogic and Vedantic practices and teachings, such as the central concepts regarding the Eight-Fold Path. Through physical performance of Yoga Sutras and Asanas come forth the Buddhist Sutras, the principles of concentration outlining the Buddhist fundamentals.
In his book, Buddhism as Philosophy: An Introduction, Mark Siderits contemplates upon the complex and deep topic of Buddhism, along with its varying founding doctrines. He makes a point that whether or not one does indeed embrace the Buddhist beliefs of rebirth and karma, through these principles we can still find a gateway that can provide a grounding, comforting thought: all the events that will unfold are meant to accept our mortality and yet, in this moment we can be strong in life, that spirit can ever more travel and roam over the paths of existence. This wandering, this spiritually sprinkled series of tidal thoughts, will in the continuation of our series crystallize and expand into an epoch gazing over the quintessential elements of Buddhism, in more elaborate detail investigating the wonders of Dharma-driven, eloquent existence of the spiritual path, aiming towards a deeper understanding of the Transcendent Wisdom. We are only at the starting point of our voyage, ready to find those hidden spiritual seeds within ourselves. Indeed, a small treasure of thought can perhaps be found along the path, absorbed into the deep stream of consciousness. Within this, let there be a melody of life in the air, a scent of summer in your heart, and in your spirit a bird ready to unfold and fly. Aware, awake, adventurous!
Yogasync Me! Meditation is a practice shared by Buddhism and Yoga. Meditation comes in many varieties. Here we have prepared a short yoga sequence to make your sitting easier on the body. Members can play the class, non-members can view the poses: