Yoga of the Ancient Greeks
Sofia Xagipanagiotou - Greece
An article on the yoga of the ancient Greeks
Yoga in Greece was called self-knowledge. Its roots are found in ancient times, in the pre-Homeric era, in the time of Greek Mythology when the Greeks separated the mere mortals in heroes, semi-gods and Gods.
If a mortal living in a way were his life was filled with moral experiences, knowledge and heroism he was considered to be a hero and if he achieved more he became a semi-god (Hercules, Theseus) and with an even greater development it meant that he was a God. "
At the same time they had matched the Earth with Ouranos meaning the union of Earth energy with the energy of Universe .This Unity had as result the creation of Kosmos. Ouranos and Earth born many children Titanes and giants were some of their children and their last children was a son named Kronos. Kronos became king of the (the creation of the mountain and volcano) world later on and he used to ate his children. Thereby showing by the metaphor that man himself created “time( chronos), which trapped him and made him old. Hellenic Mythology which seems like the most beautiful fairytale, is in reality a secret code which if someday it will broke it will explain all the secrets of the creation of universe.
Later in Homeric times the heroes have morals, values and ethics which define their behavior. Those who don’t follow these ethical codes, the “universal” ones, are punished by the Gods and wander for years upon years, as in the case of Ulysses until they will return to their own Ithaca. Through hardships they are enlightened and they approach self-knowledge and understand how their own connection with the Harmony of the Universe. The Greek Gods had human form. In this manner they showed how they once were mere mortals, with natural qualities eg. Zeus handled electricity hence the lightning rods which give life, Ira, his wife, expresses the energy of air( air affects the nervous system of human beings) and the woman’s devotion, Hephaestus handled fire, Poseidon the sea, Apollo had metaphysical abilities, he was the beholder of light and of the absolute knowledge, his sister was the goodness Artemis who protected all the animals (meaning that man had to respect them).Dionysus was the god of reproductive power of the Earth , he is the God of life force which if you don’t use it well it can destroy you. Athena is the Goddess of wisdom and because you have to fight for your wisdom Athena is warrior goodness and Aphrodite is the goddess of love and Aris the God of the war and lover of Aphrodite meaning by the metaphor the union of different qualities creates life and then was Dimitra with her daughter Persephone the goddess who protected the nature ,plants, trees and then is Ermis the messenger but also doctor mystic ,musician, merchant, thief clever he had all the good and bad qualities .
The ancient Greeks also recognized that any disturbance of their universe and earth could bring total destruction of life and its energy. Therefore they deified Earth and the universe and all the trees, rivers, water sources and animals, so that the simple human being who was not a mystic, to respect the environment and thereby himself. That is why they created the philosophy of “all in good measure”, because if someone went beyond the “good measure” he was considered to offend the universal harmony, and cause havoc and he had to live with the consequences. The keyword was Ivris , and you shouldn’t ever attract or provoke it.
The search for self-knowledge in Greece is found in the worship of Orpheus where with special ceremonies the chorus chanted holy invocations to the Gods begging for the Knowledge of the mystery of life and Death. They believed in the constant cleansing of the Mind, of the Soul and the Body for the clean positive energy to be able to penetrate pure and render them strong and powerful to withstand life’s tribulations and to be guided to the enlightenment which was much desired.
Towards this goal they had different initiation ceremonies into the mysteries of life and death as with the Elefsinians, Dionysian, etc.
On the meantime children learned from the teachers at the schools how to exercise their bodies, minds and souls with lessons in philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, music, and physical exercise.
The greatest philosophical movements were developed in Greece. Natural, Ionian, cynical philosophers, skeptical philosophy, as well as ancient theatre, poetry and music. In Treatment centers such as Asclepiads, drama therapy, dream therapy, music therapy, hydro therapy, and aroma therapies came into practice for health and wellbeing.
The constant search for knowledge developed greatly in the holy communities of the Pythagoreans and we know for a fact that Plato and Socrates were Orpheans and Pythagoreans.
The most ancient holy temple of the Macedonian Greeks, was Dodoni, which considered to be the umbilical cord of the Earth. Delphi was the holy navel of the earth, meaning the point from where the earth accepted Universal energy through an ethereal Universal umbilical cord, and parallel to that it was the energy storage room where the god Apollo had tamed Python, the holy snake. After that victory he was controlling the vital energy of the Earth,( Kountalini) and that is because the snake expresses the vital energy of the earth. Apollo symbolizes the Universal Energy (Prana) and connection of these two energies creates Harmony.
Generally, there were such holy, ancient, full of energy places all over Greece and there still exists even now (Dilos, Samothraki, Limnos etc).The whole of Greece was vibrating with such holy energy. The Greeks were fanatical lovers of nature and respected nature absolutely, as well as Universe the Earth and their own nature and that was the reason that they could feel the holy energy of the universe and of the earth.
Sofia Xagipanagiotou ©2013
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