Steps for Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali
| June 18, 2010
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Who is Patanjali? Maharishi Patanjali is considered the founder of modern yoga. He wrote down the Yoga Sutras more than 2000 years ago.
What are the Yoga Sutras? In Sanskrit, yoga literally means ‘to join’, and sutras mean ‘thread’. The literal translation thus means the threads which join. The Yoga Sutras comprise of four chapters (which are called ‘padas’) written in Sanskrit by Patanjali. This clearly and methodically explains the science and art of yoga, and combines physical exercises (yoga asanas), diet and meditation, which when practiced together leads to better harmony and balance between body, mind and soul, leading to a better physical, mental, emotional and spiritual life.
The Yoga Sutras weave all these aspects of life into a healthy tapestry. The Yoga Sutras are also called Raja Yoga (Royal Yoga, because it was originally practiced by kings), Kriya Yoga (kriya means ‘action’ and this yoga combined physical action with mental and spiritual attainment), and more popularly as Ashtanga Yoga (the eight-limbed yoga)
Popularity of Yoga Sutras: The Yoga Sutras are now very popular and are practiced across the world. They have been translated into 24 languages to facilitate everyone to read and understand the power of yoga, and incorporate it into their own lives. While it was originally termed as ‘Patanjali yoga sutras sri sri’, where ‘sri sri’ refers to its spiritual aspects, it is also common to find ‘los yoga sutras de patanjali (Spanish)’ or yoga sutra des patanjali.
Practice of Yoga Sutras: While many forms of yoga are now in vogue, such as Bikram Yoga, Hatha Yoga or Iyengar Yoga, to name a few, most well known yoga teachers like BKS Iyengar in India base their asanas on Ashtanga Yoga as formulated by Patanjali, since they help to discipline the body, unify and purify the mind and bring enlightenment to the Yogi (the person who practices yoga). It makes them a complete person, and also connects them to the divine.
The Ashtanga yoga in the Yoga Sutras combine the eight fold steps.
- Yama, which are ethical values such as non-violence, non-stealing, truthfulness, celibacy and non-covetousness.
- Niyama are also moral values, such as contentment, austerity, external and internal purity, studying religious books, repeating Mantras and self-surrender to God.
- Asanas are the yoga poses which help to increase health, strength and flexibility of the body.
- Pranayama or breath control which helps to recharge the Chakras (energy channels), and release toxins from the body.
- Pratyahara or withdrawal of sensory perceptions lays stress on withdrawing your senses from attachment to material objects.
- Dharana encourages concentration and makes the mind calm.
- Dhyana is profound meditation.
- Samadhi or complete equilibrium is the final step of yoga, when the self merges with the universe.