Invite friends
Sign In Free Trial

Flow With Philosophy


Yoga is a practice that has been around for thousands of years and has evolved over time to become the modern version which we know today. As we know well at the Soul Sanctuary, yoga is a holistic practice that aims to bring balance and harmony to the mind, body, soul and our emotional well-being.

At the core of yoga lies its philosophy, which is rooted in ancient texts and teachings. In this blog and throughout this month on the membership, we will explore the origins of yoga philosophy, its importance in modern-day practice, the different eras of yoga and important texts, the eight-limb pathway, and important energetic concepts such as the Kleshas, Koshas, and Chakras.

The Origins of Yoga Philosophy:

Yoga philosophy has its roots in ancient India, with the earliest known text being the Rig Veda, written over 3,500 years ago. The philosophy was further developed in the Upanishads, which were written around 800 BCE. These texts explored the nature of reality and the self, and the relationship between the two. Yoga philosophy was also influenced by Buddhism, which arrived in India around 500 BCE.

The Different Eras of Yoga and Important Texts:

Yoga has gone through several eras, each with its own unique contribution to the practice.

🟀 The Pre-Classical era - 3500 BCE - 200 BCE.
The pre-classical period of yoga, dating back over 3,500 years ago, saw the emergence of the Vedas and the Mahabharata, which introduced the concept of ritual sacrifice and yoga practice for divine connection. The Bhagavad Gita, a well-known section of the Mahabharata, has had a profound impact on the development and practice of yoga over the centuries.

🟀 The Classical era - 200 BCE - 500 CE
Which began around 200 BCE, saw the development of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali which outlined the eight-limb pathway of yoga. The Sutras are divided into four chapters, which discuss the aims and practice of yoga, the development of yogic powers and in the end, liberation.

🟀 The Post-Classical era - 500 CE - 1900CE
Which began in the 15th century, saw the evolution of yoga practice and philosophy, with the development of new styles and approaches. Hatha yoga, a branch of yoga that emphasizes physical postures and breath control, also emerged during this period, along with the concept of chakras or energy centers in the body.

🟀 The Modern era - 1900 CE +
The modern era of yoga, starting in the 20th century, brought yoga to the West and introduced new styles like Vinyasa and Power Yoga. In 1893, Swami Vivekananda's talk marked a significant moment in history that popularized yoga in the USA. Krishnamacharya, an influential yoga teacher, is credited with reviving Hatha yoga and teaching Pattabhi Jois, BKS Iyengar, Indra Devi, and T.K.V. Desikachar, who all shaped modern yoga.

The Eight-Limb Pathway:

The eight-limb pathway is a central concept in yoga philosophy. It outlines the steps one must take to achieve enlightenment. Each limb builds upon the previous one and helps to develop different aspects of the self, including ethical behavior, physical strength, breath control, and meditation.Β 

Energetic Concepts in Yoga:

One of the key concepts in yoga philosophy is the understanding of the energetic body, which includes the Kleshas, the Koshas, the Chakras, the Nadis and more. These energetic systems are not visible to the naked eye, but they play a vital role in our overall health and well-being.Β 

** You can journey through practices and series that focus on the chakras, the koshas and the kleshas on the Soul Sanctuary membership HERE. **

The Chakras, for example, are energy centres located along the spine that correspond to different physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of our being. Each Chakra is associated with specific physical, emotional and spiritual qualities, and can be balanced through our yoga practice. There are seven chakras starting from the root to the crown.

The Seven Chakras are:
πŸ”΄ Muladhara - Root chakra.
🟠 Svadhisthana - Sacral chakra.
🟑 Manipura - Solar Plexus chakra.
🟒 Anahata - Heart chakra.
πŸ”΅ Vishuddi - Throat chakra.
🟣 Ajna - Third Eye chakra.
βšͺ Sahasrara - Crown chakra.

The Nadis
are channels through which energy, or prana, flows throughout the body. The three main nadis are the Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna, which run through the central core of the body. The Ida represents the feminine, cooling, and nurturing energy, while the Pingala represents the masculine, active, and fiery energy. The Sushumna runs through the center of the spinal cord and is associated with the awakening of kundalini energy.


Artwork designed by Perryn Ryan


Artwork designed by Perryn Ryan


According to yogic philosophy, the human body is composed of Five Koshas or sheaths, representing the different layers of our being. These sheaths are housed within the three bodies that constitute the human form.

What this means is that you function at three different levels:

🟀 The Physical Body - is needed to function in the physical world in the awakened state.
🟀 T
he Subtle (or astral) Body - is connected to the physical body and used in the dream state.
🟀 The Causal (or karmic) Body - is the core reason for our existence.

Within the three bodies are the Five Koshas (or sheaths):

The Five Koshsa's / Sheaths are:
🟒 Annamaya - Physical / food sheath (earth element). 
πŸ”΅ Pranamaya - Life force / energy sheath (water element).
🟠 Manomaya - Mental / thoughts sheath (fire element).
βšͺ Vijnanamaya - Wisdom / intuition sheath (air element).
🟣 Anandamaya - Spiritual bliss / inner peace sheath (ether element).   

By working with the three bodies and the five Koshas, we can develop a more comprehensive understanding of ourselves and our connection to the world around us.

The Kleshas are seen as obstacles or afflictions that prevent us from realising our true nature and experiencing a state of inner peace and contentment. They are thought to be the root causes of suffering.

The practice of yoga is seen as a way to overcome the kleshas and to awaken to our true nature as pure consciousness, cultivating greater awareness and detachment from our desires and attachments.

The Five Kleshas are:

🟑 Avidya - ignorance.
🟑 Asmita - ego.
🟑 Raga - attachment.
🟑 Dvesha - aversion.
🟑 Abhinivesha - fear of death.

This month on the Soul Sanctuary membership we are journeying through practices that are dedicated to each Klesha. By having a consistent yoga practice, both and off the mat and educating ourselves further about the philosophy of yoga, we can become aware of how the obstacles in our life prevent us from experiencing a state of peace, harmony and joy, have an impact on our daily lives.


Artwork designed by Perryn Ryan

The Evolution of Yoga to Modern Day:

Yoga has continued to evolve over the years, with new styles and approaches emerging to meet the needs of modern practitioners. This evolution has included a greater focus on the physical and health benefits of yoga and the integration of diverse practices and healing modalities such as movement therapy, sound healing, reiki, breathwork and meditation techniques outside of traditional yoga forms, acupuncture and more, to create a more dynamic and inclusive practice. This has allowed yoga to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of society, and to continue to be a relevant and transformative practice for people of all backgrounds and experiences.Β 

By referring back to and studying the different eras of yoga, important texts, the eight-limb pathway and different energetic concepts, we can deepen our practice and develop a greater sense of self-awareness and well-being. As we continue to evolve our practice, it is important to remain rooted in the principles and values of yoga and to embrace its evolution to modern day. By interweaving traditional practices with modern approaches, we can create a more dynamic and inclusive practice that is accessible to all. At the Soul Sanctuary, we believe that yoga can be a modern healing modality for a holistic lifestyle whilst being an ancient practice that we choose to respect and appreciate.

* * * * * * * * * * *

As always, we have our suggested Soul Sanctuary flows from the back catalogue (in black) that align with this month's theme, mapped out below in our printable calendar. You can also find these additional practices in the calendar function on our beautiful app or search for them on the membership on the website via desktop.

And don't forget - you can flow along with our monthly playlist HERE.

You will have the pleasure of incorporating yoga philosophy into your practice this month on the membership with our 31-day yoga challenge, deepening your understanding and experience of yoga, helping you to connect more fully with your true self and the world around you. By flowing with philosophy, we can cultivate a more holistic and meaningful yoga practice, and ultimately, live a more authentic and fulfilling life.Β 

Come flow with us

Be the first to know about offers and exciting news from Cat Meffan and the Soul Sanctuary: