Curious about Yoga Sutras?
Yoga is arriving at a place we have not been before; a science of the mind. Bringing two things together; to unite.
The roots of Yoga can be traced back roughly 5,000 years to the Indus Valley civilization where the first seals depicting people performing asanas are found.
○ Those seeking to go beyond habituated thought and the stressful, distracting demands of materialist society are drawn to the meditative practices of yoga. Yoga reunites all opposites, using practices and systems dealing with regulations and exercises, to bring reconciliation between them. There are many styles that all stem from the same concept of sustaining a lucid, balanced mind; waking up the sleeping soul. The goal is to direct the mind to a state of stillness, without any distraction, while you remain conscious; achieving Kaivalya (freedom). Through practice you understand the purity, clarity, and maturity of intelligence.
○ Of course, there really is no goal when you practice asanas or kriyas, the benefits will come when you enjoy the practice with an open mind and fresh insight. By focusing on the bandhas, “to bind or tie together”, you will intensify the cleansing of pranayama and clear any energy blocks. These are “locks” in your body. The three most important are jalandhara bandha (involving the neck and upper spine), uddiyana bandha (between the diaphragm and floor of the pelvis), and mula bandha (between the navel and floor of the pelvis).
○ The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is a 2200 year old classical piece of Yoga Philosophy that describes the 8 disciplines of yoga. Briefly summarized here:
I. Asana: holding the posture with steady alertness, while maintaining comfort; if both of these qualities are not there for a certain length of time, there is no asana. Do not force your body; it will gradually accept the asana by gently breathing into the posture.
II. Pranayama: focusing attention to the breath; awareness of the breath into the nose and through the body.
• Ahimsa: the absence of injustice or cruelty and a thoughtful consideration of other people and things.
• Satya: truthfulness; “Speak the truth which is pleasant. Do not speak unpleasant truths. Do not lie, even if lies are pleasing to the ear.” – Mahabharata
• Asteya: take nothing that does not belong to you; do not take advantage of others.
• Brahmacarya: form relationships that foster our understanding of the highest truths and use responsible behavior in the path to our truth.
• Aparigraha: take only what is necessary and do not take advantage of situations; take what you have earned and no more.
• Sauca: cleanliness, inner and outer.
•Samtosa: modesty and being content with what you have.
•Tapas: the activity of keeping the body fit: heating the body to cleanse it and paying attention to eating habits, body posture, and breathing patterns.
•Svadhyaya: study yourself to get close to yourself; self-examination
•Isvarapranidhana: do your best and know you have done your best; acceptance.
The last four limbs of yoga cannot be practiced, but by following the previous four and allowing the mind to settle, the rest will follow.
V. Pratyahara: withdrawal of the senses; in meditation the mind is focused and the senses will follow. The result is sharpening of the senses and control over physical discomfort.
VI. Dharana: holding concentration or focusing attention in one direction (instead of the mind going in many different directions).
VII. Dhyana: Dharana must precede Dhyana, which is the mind moving in one direction like a quiet river, or meditation.
VIII. Samadhi: when you succeed in becoming so absorbed in something that our mind becomes completely one with it; “to bring together, to merge”