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'Thanks to the science of yoga, the soul achieves absolute mastery over the body and mind, and uses these tools to achieve Self-realization, i.e. the awareness of one's transcendent and immortal nature, one with the Spirit . ' -Yogananda If I say yoga, what comes to your mind? Girls and boys with perfect physiques, without a trace of fat or cellulite, half-naked doing circus performances in pretzel positions? Already with the advent of yoga in the West, it began to lose some of its original meaning, transforming it into mere physical exercise, now social networks and the society of appearances in general have put it on the same level as cross fit, something you do to tone your glutes. I imagine Yogananda and other greats like him metaphorically turning in their graves. Yoga has very ancient origins, probably already between 3000 and 1800 BC, in the Indus valley. Yoga then did not include any asanas, or physical positions that we think of when we talk about yoga, but it was mainly meditation. The asanas come later, they arise as a need to prepare the body to remain seated and still for hours in the sitting position of meditation, making it flexible but strong. Think about sitting on the ground with your legs crossed and keeping your spine straight for hours. The asanas also serve to keep clean the nadis or the energy channels that run throughout our body, where vital energy or Prana flows. 'Yoga is the cessation of the movements of the mind.' - Patañjali, Yoga Sūtra Even Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras, which is considered one of the fundamental texts of yoga, probably written between the 1st and 5th centuries BCE, mentions the asanas only once, in the aphorism: sthira sukham asanam, which means that the asana must be stable and comfortable. That's it. There is no reference to alignments, dogs looking up or down, cats and other animals. Patanjali describes the steps, Aṣṭāṅga Yoga, or "Eight Limbs of Yoga", to get to discipline the mind, so that it can unite with body and spirit and arrive at that union with the Whole. The last of the 8 steps is Samadhi , a state of awareness in which no pain, dissatisfaction or desire can reach you, it is to transcend reality, universal revelation that leads to understanding the meaning of the Universe. Asanas are the third of the eight limbs, only one of the steps that leads us to the ultimate goal of Yoga which is the realization of the Self. But without moral conduct, meditation, pranayama (breath control) and control of the senses, you will never reach your goal, and if you don't practice these steps as well, you can't say you are doing yoga.

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