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Definition Of Yoga By Patanjali

The Yoga Sutras Are Not Philosophy

The Hidden Meaning of Yoga | Patanjali Yoga Sutras

Today, because everyone can publish a book, there are a hundred different interpretations of the Yoga Sutras. But the Yoga Sutras are not a philosophy to be interpreted. Nor do the Yoga Sutras give any practices. They are like a scientific document. They only talk about what does what in the system. Depending upon your intention or what you want to create in the system, accordingly you design a certain kriya.

The word literally means thread. A garland has a thread, but you never wear the garland for its thread. What kind of flowers, beads, pearls, or diamonds you add to it depends on the skill of the person who is putting it together. Patanjali is only providing the sutra, because without the thread, there is no garland. But you never wear a garland for the sake of its thread. So do not look at the thread and come to conclusions. The sutras are not meant to be read and logically understood. If you approach it logically, trying to understand things intellectually, it will become nonsensical.

For someone who is in a certain state of experience, this thread means a lot he will use it to prepare a garland. Patanjalis Yoga Sutras are not to be read like a book. Take one sutra and make it a reality in your life. If one sutra becomes a living reality for you, you do not have to necessarily read the other sutras.

Yujir Yoge: Meaning To Join

The first meaning of yoga goes with the understanding of joining the individual consciousness jivatma with the ultimate consciousness paramatma.

According to the highest conception of Indian philosophy of which yoga is an integral part, jivatma is a component or partial expression of the Supreme Soul or Paramatma. Although two are the same and indivisible both are separated subjectively and the jivatma undergoes the evolutionary cycle in the manifested universe, to become united again with Him. So the discipline through which the union is attained is yoga.

How Yoga Sutras Came Into Existence

When Patanjali has completed all the yoga lessons & knowledge from her mother he thought he should convey this knowledge for the betterment of peoples & society.

There is another mythological story behind how Patanjalis teachings as Yoga Sutras came into existence.

1. The Lesson of 1000 Disciples & 1 Guru

Patanjali decided hell convey the knowledge of yoga to the 1000 people in a hall where hell stay behind a curtain & other people will be another side of the screen. These 1000 people became the first 1000 disciples of Patanjali.

He restricts all his 1000 disciples to not focus on whats happening behind the screen & to not leave the hall until his teaching has finished. But somehow, they break this rule made by Patanjali.

When Patanjali started imparting knowledge of yoga to 1000 students & each one of them was absorbing this knowledge with full attention. This was going on when one student among 1000 left the room for a while, for some reason.

Meanwhile, another student was very curious to know about whats happening behind the screen, so he looked behind the screen. On doing this, all the 999 students present in the hall burnt into ashes for breaking the rule. Patanjali became very sad at this.

Then at the same moment, the student who had left the hall for a while returned. He was terrified to see everyone turned into ashes. He begged Patanjali to forgive him for breaking the rule.

2. Curse of Patanjali to His Disciples

3. The Origin of Yoga Sutra

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Overview Of Yoga Sutras

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 Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are one of the six darshanas of Hindu schools of philosophy and a very important milestone in the history of Yoga. The book is a set of 195 aphorisms , 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 as follows:

  • Samadhi Pada: The first chapter provides a definition and the purpose of yoga. Various approaches that can be used to achieve the objectives of yoga are provided.
  • Sadhana Pada: The second chapter contains the practical approach to achieving the goals of yoga. In this chapter the author gives a description of the eight limbs of yoga called Ashtanga Yoga, which is how the yoga sutras are sometimes referred to.
  • Vibhuti Pada: The third chapter focuses on some of the supernatural powers that an adept yogi may be able to attain.
  • Kaivalya Pada: In the fourth chapter the nature of the mind and mental perceptions, desire, bondage and liberation and what follows it are discussed.
  • Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali

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    The Yoga Sutras of PataƱjali is a collection of Sanskrit sutras on the theory and practice of yoga – 195 sutras and 196 sutras . The Yoga Sutras was compiled in the early centuries CE, by the sage Patanjali in India who synthesized and organized knowledge about yoga from much older traditions.

    The Yoga Sutras are best known for its reference to ashtanga, eight elements of practice culminating in samadhi, concentration of the mind on an object of meditation, namely yama , niyama , asana , pranayama , pratyahara , dharana , dhyana and samadhi . However, its main aim is kaivalya, discernment of purusha, the witness-conscious, as separate from prakriti, the cognitive apparatus, and disentanglement of purusha from prakriti’s muddled defilements.

    The Yoga Sutras built on Samkhya-notions of purusha and prakriti, and are often seen as complementary to it. It is closely related to Buddhism, incorporating some of its terminology. Yet, Samkhya, Yoga, Vedanta, as well as Jainism and Buddhism can be seen as representing different manifestations of a broad stream of ascetic traditions in ancient India, in contrast to the Bhakti traditions and Vedic ritualism which were prevalent at the time.

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    What Is The Significance Of Yoga

    Yoga has proven itself by providing healthy and positive vibes to the body, mind, and soul. From ancient times Yoga is been practiced by Indians. It wouldnt be wrong if we say that India has given Yoga to the world. Now Yoga is so much popular that from 21 June 2015, it is been celebrated internationally as International Yoga Day. Now the Entire world has understood the benefits and goodness of Yoga. It is believed that Yoga is originated in India around 5000 years ago. People practice Yoga as an exercise for relaxation of Mind and Body.

    See Also: International Yoga Day Details

    Introduction To Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali

    For most people the word yoga brings to mind the image of a yoga model that appears on the cover of a yoga magazine in a pose that is almost impossible to get into for an average practitioner. Yoga is commonly practiced as a routine which helps in improving physical fitness and sometimes as a means to stress management. There is growing awareness that yoga can be effectively used as therapy in treating a variety of ailments, including hypertension, diabetes, heart conditions etc. In India, Baba Ramdev, whose daily TV show is hugely popular, has been very successful in promoting yoga as a therapeutic practice. Those who have been practicing yoga for a while can attest to the physical and physiological benefits that the practice brings.

    While all the above mentioned benefits of yoga are certainly desirable, most people are ignorant about the true meaning and purpose of yoga which is the ability to control the fluctuations of the mind. 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. One very important section of the book describes what is commonly called ashtanga yoga or the Eight Limbs of Yoga which provides practical guidelines for achieving the goal of yoga, i.e., controlling the mind.

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    The Branches Of Yoga And What They Mean

    Broadly speaking, people all over the world praticse six kinds of yoga. The meaning of yoga is to bring us one step closer to divinities in us and all this kind of yoga does just that, while they may significantly differ in their techniques, but give you the same endpoint- a calm and restrained mind. Here are the different branches of yoga according to what they stand for.

    Philosophy And Psychology Of Mind

    Patanjali Yoga Sutras : A Brief Introduction

    Yoga is defined by PataƱjali as citta vtti nirodha , the stilling of all states of the citta. There are five vttis, a term used frequently throughout the Yoga Stras to essentially refer to any sensual impression, thought, idea, or cognition, psychic activity or conscious mental state whatsoever. These five vttis are: right knowledge, error, metaphor, deep sleep and memory . They are either klia, detrimental to the goal of Yoga, or aklia, conducive to it. The klia vttis are those stemming from the mind when it is subject to the five kleas,obstacles ignorance, ego, desire, aversion, clinging to life discussed below, and the aklia vttis are those stemming from their opposites knowledge of the true self and freedom from desire, etc. Put simply, aklia vttis are the mental activities of a jivanmukta, a being who is liberated while still embodied.

    Any other states of mind that one might conceive of would be considered by the Yoga tradition as a subset of one of these five essential categories. Since the mind is never static but always active and changing, vttis are constantly being produced, and thus constantly absorb the consciousness of purua away from its own pure nature, channeling it out into the realm of subtle or gross prakti.

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    The Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali Refers To 8 Limbs Of Yoga Each Of Which Offers Guidance On How To Live A Meaningful And Purposeful Life Learn About Each One And How To Incorporate Them Into Your Practice

    The word yoga means to connect, unite or yoke. The thing we look to connect to is the true Self, also known as the divine essence, ultimate self, or atman. You might also think of this as the soul.

    If that way of thinking doesnt resonate with you, then consider that the word yoga can also mean or disentanglement. The thing were disentangling from is whatever stops us from feeling free, as the ultimate goal of any yoga practice is to attain moksha, meaning liberation or freedom.

    So how does one go about attaining this freedom through yoga? Does it come at the cost of an expensive pair of yoga pants? Can you reach it by signing up to a detox retreat or finally touching your toes? Probably not

    According to Patanjalis Yoga Sutras, there is an eight-fold path leading to liberation, known as the Ashtanga Yoga System or Eight Limbs of Yoga .

    Rd Chapter: Vibhuti Pada Explains Powers Of Yoga

    Vibhuti Pada is the collection of 56 sutra that tells the benefits that one can acquire by Yoga. The word Vibhuti is a Sanskrit word for power or manifestation. As this chapter tells the powers that can be acquired by yoga, this chapter is named, Vibhuti Pada. This chapter starts by telling the rest of the three limbs of yoga.

    • Sutra 3.1 to 3.3 tells the last three limbs of yoga, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi respectively.
    • Sutra 3.4 to 3.9 explains what is Samyama 10.
    • Sutra 3.10 to 3.16 addresses to Parinama 11 and its types.
    • Sutra 3.17 to 3.49 is all about the Siddhis that Yoga provides us.
    • Sutra 3.50 to 3.56 introduces with the Kaivalya12

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    Why Modern Yogas Favourite Philosophical Text Isnt What You Thought

    The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is often cited as the philosophical counterpart to todays physical yoga practices. The implication is that the two were passed down together through the ages hand in hand, but it wont surprise anyone who has researched the history of yoga asana to find out that thats not really the case. Just as most of the yoga poses we routinely practice date back no further than the last century, the yoking of hatha yoga and Patanjalis famous text is also a relatively recent phenomenon. However, this revelation doesnt mean that these two things dont work well together in the present. By delving into what we do know about the history of the Yoga Sutras we can learn a lot about how yoga introduced to the Western world.

    David Gordon Whites excellent book The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali: A Biography is a deep dive on this subject and, except where otherwise noted, the primary source for the following information. Barbara Stoler Millers Yoga: Discipline of Freedom is Whites preferred Yoga Sutras translation and commentary and provides another invaluable reference.

    Patanjali Focused On Meditation

    What are Yamas &  Niyamas of Patanjali

    However, if you investigate the Sutras more closely you will notice that Patanjali put most of his attention and emphasis on meditation and the nature of the mind. He hardly mentions asana and postures at all and he basically states that an asana is for meditation purposes. We all know that we use asana for more than just seated meditation and that the practice of asana is quite vast and fun as well.

    The truth is that Patanjali was not interested in the body he does not mention health, strength, flexibility, clarity or any of the practices we are used to. In fact, we wanted to just put the body on the mat and forget it. During the time of the Yoga Sutras, it is possible that Sun Salutes did not even exist! His primary interest was in the quality of your mind and your power of meditation. Meditation , he says, is the essence of yoga.

    Many hundreds of years after the Yoga Sutras were written, a new system of yoga practice emerged, with a different flow and different techniques to take us to the supreme consciousness. That method was named Hatha Yoga. It approached conscious evolution with a whole other set of tools and practices, and Hatha Yoga is what we are actually practicing when we get on the mat.

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    Awakening Of Self Is Yoga

    Big Shaktis favourite definition of yoga is that it is any method that allows us to wake up to who or what we really are and to what life is all about. Anything that allows us to be more aware of ourselves and to feel connected to ourselves and life is a form of yoga.

    Everything we do can become yoga if it is done with awareness. Awareness is the key to discovering all the mysteries of who we truly are. Yoga reveals the luminous intelligence and the beauty that lies within us.

    The 8 Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali


    • Nonviolence. Do no harm to any creature in thought or deed. In his book Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda asks Mahatma Gandhi the definition of ahimsa. Gandhi said, The avoidance of harm to any living creature in thought or deed. Yogananda asked if one could kill a cobra to protect a child. Gandhi maintained he would still hold to his vow of ahimsa, but added, I must confess that I could not serenely carry on this conversation were I faced by a cobra.
    • Truth and honesty. Tell no lies. Cheating on your income taxes falls into this category.
    • Nonstealing . Do not steal material objects or intangibles such as the center of attention or your childs chance to learn responsibility or independence by doing something on his own.
    • Nonlust. Dont worry this is not a call to celibacy. Many yogis of old were married and had families of their own. The person who practices brahmacharya avoids meaningless sexual encounters and, as the well-known teacher B.K.S. Iyengar puts it, sees divinity in all.
    • Nonpossessiveness. Free yourself from greed, hoarding, and collecting. Do you really need more shoes, another car, or to hog the conversation every time you see your friends? Make your life as simple as possible.

    2. Niyama3. Asana4. Pranayama5. Pratyahara6. Dharana7. Dhyana8. Samadhi

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    Exploring The Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali: Sutra 12

    In yoga sutra 1.2, the second sutra of book one, Patanjali lays out the definition and purpose of yoga. Yogas citta vrtti nirodhah: yoga is the cessation of the modifications, or fluctuations, of the mind. This sutra gets right to the heart of why we practice yoga. No time is wasted. We learn right away what yoga is and why we practice it, while the rest of book expands on the topic and offers ways to go about calming these modifications of the mind.

    So what are modifications of the mind? Simply put, its the mind chatter that draws our attention away from the present moment. When you are in yoga class, focusing on your breath while feeling the movement of your body and suddenly you wonder what youll have for lunch, or you remember a conversation you need to have with someone, or you look over at the person next to you and wish that your pose looked like hers, your mind is fluctuatingyou are no longer present. These are the modifications of the mind that yoga is trying to quiet.

    This goal of yoga is simple but not always easy. Our minds are so conditioned to follow thought strands that take us from topic to topic, anywhere but where we currently are. Becoming caught up in our thoughts feels natural to us because we do it almost all the time. Quieting this chatter, using the tools of the yoga practice, can feel almost impossible at times. This is one reason why many people find meditation to be intimidating. I could never sit still and do nothing, they say.


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