Those who have been practicing yoga for a while can attest to the physical and physiological benefits that the practice brings. This brief and succinct definition was provided to us by Sage Patanjali, more than three thousand years ago, in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali has provided a very scientific and practical exposition of the philosophy and practice of yoga. Most of the yoga as it is practiced today, called Hatha Yoga, includes physical postures asanas and some breathing techniques pranayama.
- Iyengar Yoga.
- An Introduction to Yoga Philosophy: An Annotated Translation of the Yoga Sutras.
- Who Was Patanjali and Why Is He Important to Yoga?.
- Emil Wendel: Introduction to Yoga Philosophy | YogaJaya.
As you can notice from the eight limbs which are listed below, asana and pranayama are only two of these eight limbs and help establish a strong foundation toward achieving the objectives of yoga. However, to develop a fully integrated practice of yoga and achieve the final objectives of yoga, one needs to include in their routine all the eight limbs of yoga in some form.
Intro to Yoga Philosophy | Patanjali, the Yoga Sutras, and Identity - Yoga Journal
In this invocation, Patanjali is credited with three areas of knowledge — science of Ayurveda to purify the body, the commentary on Sanskrit grammar to purify the speech and the science of Yoga Yoga Sutras to purify the mind. Even though yoga has been mentioned in various ancient texts, including the Vedas, Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita etc, the credit for putting together a formal, cohesive philosophy of yoga goes to Sage Patanjali. In his Yoga Sutras, Patanjali has provided the very essence of the philosophy and teachings of yoga in a highly scientific and systematic exposition.
The book is a set of aphorisms sutras , which are short, terse phrases designed to be easy to memorize. Though brief, the Yoga Sutras is an enormously influential work that is just as relevant for yoga philosophy and practice today as it was when it was written. The sutras are divided into four chapters pada as follows:.
In simpler terms, what this definition tells us is that we can be peaceful and happy when we can control the mind; else, the mind continues to control us and we stay in a state of suffering. Once the mind is calm and peaceful, one gets established in his own true nature. For an English translation of all the sutras by eight different authors, please visit here.
In addition, the original text in the Devanagari script the script of the Sanskrit language , English transliteration as well as an audio rendition of each sutra is also available. As many of you are aware, I have been offering workshops on various topics in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali in the triangle area.
Below are the slides that I have used for these presentations. I invite your feedback on the material presented. Recent Posts. Sutras 1.
They are illness, dullness, doubt, negligence, craving, doubt, misperceptions, failure, instability. In the next verse, he talks about companions to those obstacles are mental and physical pain, sadness and frustration, unsteadiness of the body and irregular breath.
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These obstacles have been as old as man himself. It is up to us to work through the challenges in our lives to make it to our practice. Then one becomes free of chains of cause and effect Karma which tie us to continual reincarnation. In Kaivalya one is said to exist in peace and tranquility, having attained absolute knowledge of the difference between the spiritual which is timeless, unchanging and free of sorrows, and the material which is not.
Yoga is therefore a spiritual quest. However, along the path of yoga, the aspirant also gains health, happiness, tranquility and knowledge which are indicators of progress and an encouragement to continue their practice. Buddhism and other Eastern spiritual traditions use many techniques derived from Yoga. Asanas play a very small role in the grander scheme of things in yoga. The body was secondary. However with the passage of time as well as the quick spread of yoga, we have not been able to grasp it all.
We have gotten stuck and in fact obsessed with the role of asanas. It is like the tip of the iceberg. We should also keep in mind that while the asanas got quick acceptence in modern world, a lot of cultural habits, language and lifestyle could not be carried over successfully. The Bhagavad Gita is an ancient Indian text. It is years old. It contains 18 chapters and a total of verses in Sanskrit.
The Gita is mainly a dialogue between two main characters — Krishna and Arjuna.
An Annotated Translation of the Yoga Sutras, 1st Edition
A great battle is about to commence and Arjuna the leader has a mental breakdown. This is where the dialogue begins. In the Gita each of the 18 chapters describes a certain kind of yoga. Each chapter deals with a unique way of connecting to the supreme. There are many different paths here as man is unique and no one walks the same path.
We have all heard these words before. It is up to us to find out what this duty is and to fulfil it. It is when we perform our dharma that we contribute to community positively and society at large. Karma is the cause and effect of our thoughts and actions. Indian philosophy believes that we all have a karmic bank account, where all our good and bad deeds are kept track off. We assume we want good karma but essentially what the Geeta tells us is how we want neither good nor bad karma. These 3 sources give us a good understanding of what classcial yoga was all about.
Patanjali's Take on Identity
It is important to note that none of the 3 sources really dwell on asanas or poses of practice. At best they used asana to describe a steady seat for meditation. During the British rule, a lot of plundering of Indian culture took place because the British thought we were not civilized according to their standards. One of the consequences, was that Yoga schools were shut down and PT was brought in. This caused a lot of Yoga to die out and almost disappear from Indian society. It all started with a man known as Sri.
Krishnamacharya from Mysuru, India. He studied yoga under his master for many years and is regarded as the father of modern yoga. Yoga is now practiced by millions across the globe. Even asana has been diluted to a mere form of exercise and often teamed with other things like heat, chocolate, music, weights etc.. Very few practitioners go beyond asana. While we are probably getting healthier with yoga we must remember that there is much more to this ancient art. And it is up to us to preserve it for the generations to come.
Arundhati is a yoga teacher, Bollywood dancer and blogger. And is also passionate about clean beauty and green living. For Teachers Philosophy. Yoga in the Indus Valley Civilization. Guru with his Shishyas. Shat 6 Darshanas. Patanjali — A Depiction. Krishna and Arjuna. Arundhati at Yogathon , Bellevue. Arundhati Baitmangalkar Arundhati is a yoga teacher, Bollywood dancer and blogger.