Yoga is a
a mirror to look at ourselves from within.
Control of the mind is Yoga.
When the mind is controlled, stilled and silenced,
what remains is the soul.
It is the quest of soul,
the spark of Divinity within us,
which is the very purpose of Yoga.
Yoga is an art and a science as well as a philosophy.
Yoga touches the life of man at all levels, whether it is physical, mental
or spiritual. Yoga is a practical method for making one's living
purposeful, useful and noble. Yoga enables one's body, organs of
actions, senses of perception, mind, intelligence, consciousness as well
as trillions of cells to get attuned to its essence – the conscious seer
within. Yoga alone enables the seer to directly perceive and experience
using his vestments for the world within and around himself to gain
insight and feel the divine joy of all creation. The Yogi then shares
the Amrita, the nectar of divine wealth and happiness with his fellow
Uninterrupted practice of Yoga done with devotion
keeps the practitioner free from motivation, desire for reward, and he
develops discriminative intelligence. This discriminative intelligence
which develops in the practitioner of Yoga keeps his mind free from
contact of the tempting objects and yokes it to the soul which is
unmoving, unrotating but ever in the state of present.
Through reverential practice of Yoga, the fire which
emanates from the practice burns out the impurities of body, mind and
intelligence and bestows the consciousness with the crown of wisdom for
it rests on the lap of the Self. From then on the never changing
intuitive light of the Self radiates and frees the practitioner from the
actions which are filled with afflictions.
That's why daily intensive practice is very
important. There is no other way so that one can reach that state of
emancipation that is free from the afflictions of sorrows.
Lord Patanjali's Yoga Sutras
In the Yoga Sutras (also called Patanjala Yoga
Darashanam), which consist of 196 Sutras (aphorisms), the tradition and
philosophy of Yoga has been described and discussed by the great sage of
ancient India, Bhagavan Patanjali. By studying these Sutras we are able
to understand the ancient traditional view of Yoga and we understand
what was meant by the term Yoga when it was used by those great ancient
In today's modern world the word "Yoga" is one of the
most famous international terms with which every one is familiar and has
some degree of fascination towards it. Yet how less in reality we know
about this word and what it denoted in ancient times, we can only
understand by studying the Yoga Sutras by Lord Patanjali, which is the
most authoritative text on Yoga.
Today when we have Yogas like Power Yoga, Baby Yoga,
Kickboxing Yoga and then the funny, highly advertised, Punk Rock Yoga,
it is really time that we seriously inquired into the true significance
of the term Yoga, so that we at least know what Yoga really means and
what it is all about. We would never be able to know that until we
haven't gone through the classical texts, like the Yoga Sutras by
Patanjali, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Svatmarama etc.
Sutra, which is usually translated in English as "an
aphorism", literally means "a thread". Like a thread in a rosary (Mala)
threads all the beads and prevents them from falling apart, in the same
way these Sutras act as a thread that is threading all the beautiful
divine truths and concepts that are called Yoga collectively and
prevents them from falling apart. So the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are
like a rosary (Mala) in which the beads are the divine truths.
Darshanam, which is usually translated in English as
"philosophy" (i.e. love for wisdom), literally means "a vision, a
realization". This indicates that the truths that have been described in
the classical text of the Yoga Sutras are not just existing in theory,
they are not just a hypothesis, but they have been "seen" by those great
Seers, they have been realized by them. They had integrated those truths
in their own lives.
The Patanjala Yoga Kendra organizes lectures on the Yoga Sutras, so
that the students and the teachers of Yoga are able to understand this
beautiful traditional text of ancient India.
Focus on Yama and Niyama
The first two steps of the eightfold disciplines of
Yoga are Yama and Niyama. Yama means restraint, the are
five moral precepts of universal validity like:
Ahimsa=Non-Violence or Non-injury in words, thought and deeds.
All beings around that person who reached perfection in Non-harming
abondon their hostile behaviour.
Satya=Truthfullness. Spoken words frucity into action.
Asteya= non-stealing. All kinds of treasures are bestowed on him
who observes Asteya.
Brahmacharya=Continence, Chastity. For a chaste or celibate
person vigour, vitality, energy and spiritual knowledge flow like a
Aparigraha=Freedom from avarice or greed and non-covetousness.
Freedom from greed implies a high degree of non-attachment to material
things including body and this loosens the forgotten memories about
So as Yama is universal, social practice, Niyama evolves from
individual practices necessary to build up the sadhaka's own character.
The 5 Niyamas are:
Sauca=Purity, Cleanliness. One's daily bath is external. Asana
and Pranayam cleanse one internally. They help to cleanse one's
thoughts, words and actions and make the body fit for its Lord to dwell
Santosha=Contentment which brings about a state of Cheerfulness
Tapas=Austterity, which is a burning effort involving
purification, self-discipline and austere practice. it purges and
purifies body, senses and mind.
Svadhaya=Self-study and study of the scriptures. It enlightens
the practitioner with the knowledge of his inner immortal
Ishvara Pranidhana=Surrender of the self to God, or devotion to
the Lord. It brings the inner being to its creator, the supreme God.
These disciplines channel the energies of the organs of action as well
as the perceptive senses in the right direction. It is essential that
they be observed and followed.
Without firm foundation a house cannot stand. Withoutthe practice of the
principles of Yama and Niyama, which lay the firm foundation for
building character, there cannot be an integrated personality. Practice
of Asanas without Yama and Niyama is mere acrobatics. Discipline does
not arise from one's own mind. It has to be learned from outside.
External discipline puts you on the right path. Only a disciplined
persone is a free person. Patanjali says the rules of Yama and Niyama
are the mighty universal vows. They are the golden keys to unlock the