Yoga is more than just physical fitness, yet unfortunately most people think of yoga solely in these terms.
Yoga is an ancient system of spiritual development that includes and transcends the mere physical postures and movements. The ancient system of yoga contains a variety of philosophies and practices that lead to Self-knowledge.
By following these philosophies and practices, you can purify yourself on numerous different levels, such as these:
1. Purification of the actions
Purification of the actions requires an understanding of things you should do and things you should not do. On one hand, don’t harm, lie, steal, covet, or overly indulge. On the other hand, do maintain study, purity, contentment, discipline, and surrender. By observing a set of common sense codes on how to live, you can easily set a strong foundation for eventual spiritual mastery.
2. Purification of the body
Purification of the body requires regular participation in physical fitness. This physical may include yoga postures and movements, but could also include any number of strength, cardio, and flexibility training exercises.
3. Purification of the breath
Purification of the breath requires a daily practice of breathing exercises, often referred to as pranayama, which could include quiet breathing, deep breathing, and fast breathing.
4. Purification of the mind
Purification of the mind requires a daily practice of meditation and mindfulness. By practicing observation of all the objects that arise within your field of consciousness, such as thoughts, images, emotions, and sensations, you can gradually loosen your identification with them, allowing you to descend into deeper, more serene states, or ascend into more present and alert states. You gain more control over your experience of life, and you can more easily apply concentration and awareness to whatever activities you pursue.
5. Purification of the spirit
Purification of the spirit requires that a person transcend both the body and the mind, using meditation as a vehicle to stop the mind. It requires that a person practice all the other levels of purification — actions, body, breath, and mind — as a prerequisite to venturing beyond the realms of ordinary experience into more and more subtle dimensions.