December 8, 2019

If you’re interested in yoga philosophy, a good place to start learning about its ancient origins is a text known as the Yoga Sutras, written more than 2000 years ago by the sage Patanjali.

The Sutras give you an insightful understanding of human consciousness and our relationship with the cosmos, combined with techniques for gaining control over your consciousness (largely through meditation). In this way the Sutras combine psychology, philosophy and practical techniques that help to reduce human suffering and improve qua...

December 7, 2019

India’s philosophical traditions include an ethical framework based on the concept of Rta, which was formulated more than 5000 years ago in ancient texts known as the Vedas. Translated as “the right way”, Rta is often interpreted as “the cosmic order”. It conveys the idea of aligning oneself with the laws of nature – its cycles, patterns of growth and other universal principles.

Around the beginning of the Common Era texts were written in India to convey how one should behave in order to uphold and harmoniously align with...

December 7, 2019

Yoga was traditionally practised in the forests of India, under the shade of trees that were revered as symbols of tolerance and protection. Here the sages of ancient times taught their students, who absorbed not only their teacher’s words but also the peace and beauty of their environment.

So the natural world is very much at the heart of yoga’s ancient roots. We can see this in the asanas named after animals that the yogis sought to imitate – the Cat, Cobra and Downward Facing Dog, for example – as well as plant-inspired...

August 27, 2019

Hinduism, the main religion practised in India, encourages appreciation of the natural world and reverence for all forms of life. The cow is particularly sacred to Hindus, most of whom are vegetarians. For this reason the slaughter of cows is illegal in most Indian states.                  

The cow is a maternal symbol in India because it provides more sustenance for a family if kept alive than if killed for its flesh. It provides milk, yoghurt, butter and ghee -- all...

May 19, 2019

Thousands of years ago the rishis (sages) of India began to express their sense of unity with the natural world through their poetic hymns to nature deities such as Surya (sun), Agni (fire) and Vayu (wind). These hymns were later compiled into the sacred texts of Hinduism that became known as the Vedas. They are the outpourings of the early Indian spirituality from which yoga and meditation evolved.

As well as feeling a mystical connection with nature, the rishis also sensed the unseen energies of the universe beyond their...

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