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What Does Sutra Mean In Yoga

An Attitude Of Friendliness Toward Those Who Are Happy Compassion Toward Those Who Are Suffering Pleasure And Delight At Those Who Are Doing Good Deeds In The World And Nonjudgmental Watchfulness Toward Those Who Do Harmful Deeds Will Help Us To Attain A Peaceful And Balanced Mind

Recognizing that you can change your mood by shifting your attitude is an important step toward easing suffering. But implementing the attitudes Patanjali suggests is not always easy. Patanjali says you should feel friendliness toward those who are happy . This seems like obvious advice, but how often, when others are happy, do we find ourselves feeling jealous, or bad about ourselves, with thoughts like “Why didn’t I get that raise? Why didn’t I win the lottery? Maybe that person cheated! They don’t deserve it!”

Likewise, Patanjali says you should have compassion for those who are suffering . But instead of compassion, you might feel responsible for saving them, guilty about their misfortune, or fearful that what happened to them could happen to you. When others are doing good deeds in the world , instead of feeling joy , you might feel critical of yourself for not doing the same, or even suspicious about their motives or integrity. Perhaps most difficult of all, Patanjali says that you should try to maintain an attitude of nonjudgmental watchfulness or observance toward those people who are doing harmful deeds in the world . This can be extremely challenging. How often do you jump in and place blame, taking sides without knowing the full picture?

The Inability To Discern Between The Temporary Fluctuating Mind And Our Own True Self Which Is Eternal Is The Cause Of Our Suffering Yet This Suffering Provides Us With The Opportunity To Make This Distinction And To Learn And Grow From It By Understanding The True Nature Of Each

Patanjali says that the cause of suffering is the inability to distinguish between two entities—the Self, or seer , and the mind , which includes your thoughts and emotions. Distinguishing between the two closely related entities—and understanding the role of each and the relationship between them—is a central goal of yoga and the key to your happiness and peace. Think of it this way: Imagine you’re a personal assistant who works closely with your boss and functions as her representative in public. Now, think about what would happen if you began to feel and act as if you were the boss, eventually forgetting to consult or even recognize your boss. Obviously, some problems would likely occur if this distinction were blurred. So, think of the Self, or seer, as the boss, and the mind as the boss’s instrument or assistant, recognizing the distinct role each one plays. That’s when you will acquire clearer perception.

The mistakes you make, and the pain you feel as a result, serve to guide you toward a greater understanding of both the true nature of the mind and the true nature of the Self, or seer—“the external that is seen and the internal that sees,” as T.?K.?V. Desikachar describes them. It is only through this increased understanding of the nature of each and the relationship between them that you are able to differentiate between the two, and hence prevent future suffering.

To Avoid Hasty Actions That May Be Hurtful We Must Practice Trying To Imagine Or Visualize The Opposite Of Our First Instinctual Reaction We Must See Things From A Different Point Of View And Weigh The Potential Consequences

Often, Patanjali’s most powerful advice broadens your view, shifting your frame of reference or offering a new vantage point from which to see things . These shifts might seem simple, but they can have a profound impact on your experience. Patanjali advises that to avoid doing harm by acting hastily, you must try to “visualize the opposite side.”

Patanjali is quite specific in these sutras, explaining that hasty actions that cause harm to others can happen in three ways: You hurt someone directly ; you hurt someone by way of someone else ; or you approve, encourage, or feel glad about harm done to another person . Patanjali explains some reasons that people harm others, including greed , anger , and delusion or infatuation . He then warns that, whether you harm someone a little bit , an average amount , or a great deal , the result for you is the same: endless suffering and a lack of clarity . To avoid this, practice pratipaksha-bhavanam.

Patanjali is a realist. He is not saying that you should not have legitimate feelings, or that you should judge yourself for feeling the way you do. He is reminding you that if you think badly of another, that person doesn’t suffer—you do. If you actually harm another person, you will likely suffer as much as, if not more than, the person you harm.

Those Who Have A Meaningful Connection With Something Greater Than Themselves Will Come To Know Their Own True Selves And Experience A Reduction In Those Obstacles That May Deter Them From Reaching Their Goal

Once you are linked with something beyond your own identity, two things happen, says Patanjali: First, the inner consciousness is revealed as the Self; second, the obstacles that deter you on your path are reduced and eventually extinguished . Coming to a place of independence from these obstacles of the mind facilitates a deeper connection with your own inner compass—that quiet, peaceful place within. When you are connected to this inner compass, you are better able to handle the twists and turns of life. You don’t take things so personally. Your mood generally remains stabler. You see things more clearly, and so you are able to make choices that serve you better. As Patanjali says, it is almost as though you become independent of the effects of whatever is occurring around you. You can experience it without absorbing it or identifying with it. You have the distance and perspective to see that what you’re experiencing is not who you are, but rather something that’s happening to you, and you can therefore move through it with greater ease.

The results of putting the principles of the Yoga Sutra into practice show up in moments like this, when you least expect them, with gifts of clarity and compassion. It’s here, in your relationships with others, in your moods, in your reactions to life’s situations, that you know your yoga practice is working, helping you to stay anchored, calm, and stable.

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To Achieve A Strong Foundation In Our Practice We Must Practice Over A Long Time Without Interruption Believing In It And Looking Forward To It With An Attitude Of Service

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Whenever you undertake anything new, whether it’s a relationship, a job, or a course of study, Patanjali advises you to recognize that there is going to be some effort involved. You must consciously create the foundation you hope to build on. Becoming a parent, starting a business, studying piano, taking up rock climbing—whatever you’re undertaking, if you approach it with the attitudes described by this sutra, you will experience more joy in the activity itself and you’ll create a solid foundation on which to build the future.

The first guideline Patanjali offers is dirgha-kala, or “long time.” This means recognizing that what you are undertaking cannot be perfected overnight, that you have to commit over time to get lasting results that you are happy with. Nairantarya, the next guideline, translates as “no interruption,” which addresses your continued commitment to the process. Your efforts must be wholehearted; an attitude of a little bit here and a little bit there is not going to help you reach your goal. Imagine trying to learn how to play the piano without practicing regularly, or trying to lose weight while eating healthfully only once in a while.

Yoga Is So Much More Than Asana The Sutras Show Us How To Be Our True Selves And Appreciate Every Momenteven When Life Gets Crazy

It was one of those nights: My husband was out, two of our three kids were sick with colds, I had a work deadline the next morning, and one of the dogs found and tore into a dirty diaper, spreading the contents all over the room. And I mean all over. It was a last-straw moment to beat any others, and I was either going to freak out—yell at the dogs, curse my husband for being unavailable, and stomp around the house wondering why all these things had to happen at once—or find a way to draw on the tools Patanjaliprovides in the Yoga Sutra to accept the situation with as much grace as I could and figure out how to get through it with as little suffering as possible. So, I opted for the latter, managed to laugh a little, put the dogs outside, and cleaned up the mess. This, I realized in that moment, is why I do yoga.

See also Yoga Sutra 1.1: The Power of Now One of the greatest things I’ve learned from my teacher, T.?K.?V. Desikachar, is that the true value of yoga is found when you apply it to your daily life—especially in those messy moments . The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, widely regarded as the authoritative text on yoga, is not just for contemplating on the mat. The sutras are meant to be put to the test and practiced in your work, leisure time, and in your role as a parent, partner, and friend.

Patanjalis Yoga Sutras Are Practical Guidelines To Help Your Spiritual Journey Of Remembering Who You Are

Yoga means union. Union of the individual soul with the whole humanity, with nature, and back with oneself. According to the classical Yoga philosophy, humanity suffers because of the illusion of separation between the individual consciousness from Universal Consciousness, Brahman in Vedic Sanskrit. Reading and meditating upon the Yoga Sutras will guide you to embrace that union again.

It is said that the Sutras were written by a man named Patanjali. When they were composed is not certain, the author lived somewhere between the second and fourth century BC and was presumably Indian. Patanjali is a figure shrouded in mystery about whom many stories are told, one of those narrates that he fell from heaven in the form of a snake to bring Yoga to humanity.

The most likely version, however, is that he was a scientist who studied the human being and provided us with 196 aphorisms to learn more about ourselves and others.

For Those Of Us Who Were Not Born Into States Of Higher Consciousness Or Knowing We Must Cultivate Self

Often translated as “faith,” shraddha is more appropriately translated as “self-esteem,” “personal conviction,” “self-confidence,” or “determination.” If you are consciously making an effort to achieve greater clarity , your conviction will be followed by the strength and persistence to remember your direction and to reach your goal of total and clear understanding .

Practically speaking, shraddha is your inner strength; when you’re lost in the woods and it’s getting dark, shraddha is your deep inner trust that you will find a way to make a fire, get warm, and find something to eat. It’s the guiding force inside that urges you to keep putting one foot in front of the other until you come out of the woods. This resource is one of your greatest assets—a way to help you connect to your own true Self or the place of quiet light within.

The First Stanza Of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra Gives Wisdom About Yoga As A Whole

August 28, 2007

Now, the teachings of yoga. —Yoga Sutra 1.1

So reads the first stanza of Patanjali’s 2,000-year-old yoga guidebook, the Yoga Sutra. It’s quite possibly one of the most famous opening lines in all of Hindu spiritual literature, but most eager students, intent on getting to the juicier parts of the teachings, sail past the first word, “now” without a second thought.

But wait! One distinct characteristic of the sutra is brevity, so the word atha is there for good reason. It’s there to grab your attention: I’m ready to teach, Patanjali is saying, so listen up. But atha also signals the value of what you’re about to dive into. These days you can flip through the Yoga Sutra whenever you please, and then return it to the shelf, but long ago it took a long period of preparation just to gain access to it. The study of classical yoga was serious business that required commitment.

At some point the teacher determined that—atha, “now”—the novice was qualified enough for instruction. It must have been an exhilarating moment when students left behind their everyday identities to assume a new role as spiritual aspirants.

Read Another Thoughtful Article From Yogauonline And Writer Christine Malossi


BETH GIBBS MA, E-RYT 500, is a lifelong lover of movement and spent the first two and a half decades of her life dancing: tap, ballet, African and modern. She says she can dance to anything except heavy metal. She started her yoga practice in 1968, six months after her son was born and she’s been practicing ever since. She took her yoga teacher training with Joseph Le Page’s Integrative Yoga Therapy School in 1995 and currently teaches therapeutic yoga classes to children and adults with a specialty in classes for seniors in the Hartford, Connecticut area. Beth is a senior member of the IYT teaching faculty and directs the school’s Professional Yoga Therapist Internship Program. Her master’s degree from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA is in Yoga Therapy and Mind/Body Health. She still dances in her spare time For more information on her work see, 


Why Modern Yogas Favourite Philosophical Text Isnt What You Thought

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is often cited as the philosophical counterpart to today’s physical yoga practices. The implication is that the two were passed down together through the ages hand in hand, but it won’t surprise anyone who has researched the history of yoga asana to find out that that’s 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 Patanjali’s famous text is also a relatively recent phenomenon. However, this revelation doesn’t mean that these two things don’t 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 White’s 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 Miller’s Yoga: Discipline of Freedom is White’s preferred Yoga Sutras translation and commentary and provides another invaluable reference.

The Meaning Of Surrender In The Yoga Sutras: Isvarapranidhana

In Master Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the 5th of the niyamas is isvarapranidhana . This Sanskrit word can be translated as the surrender of the self or complete surrender to a supreme being or higher power.

Isvara translates to the divine, God, supreme being, higher power, ultimate reality, or true self. While pranidhana is usually translated as surrender, offer, dedicate or devote.

Surrender As Turning Inward

The ego is the doer who relies on separation to operate. Forego, subject and object are distinct. The ego is outwardly focused, seeking reward in the form of praise, recognition or achievement, the getting of things.

The yogi who has completely surrendered in yoga practice is looking within. Yoga Sutra 1.25 speaks of the omniscient qualities of our master, our higher power, while 1.26 remind us that this supreme being is the highest teacher of all and that by turning inward and connecting to them, by contemplating their name and their nature, we will reach the ability to focus the mind and avoid all obstacles.

Read more: Explore how to bring awareness to your asana practice and attain a deeper level of consciousness.

Particularly Relevant Yoga Sutras Translated And Explained

Yoga Sutra 1.33 and Showing Kindness to Others

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To many, yoga seems to be an up and coming trend. The thing the cool kids and celebrities are doing to stay fit. But in reality, yoga is an ancient practice rooted in Eastern spirituality.

The history of yoga is vast, and rich with ancient texts, personalities, and disciplines. One of the foundational historic texts on yoga is known as the Yoga Sutras. “Sutra” is defined in Sanskrit as a set of rules or aphorisms on a specific subject.

Patanjali was a sage in ancient India who is credited for writing the Yoga Sutras. This collection of 196 aphorisms teach one how to live a meaningful, fulfilling life. Despite being written over 1,700 years ago, the Yoga Sutras remain as relevant to the modern yogi as their ancient counterpart.  

The Four Books Of The Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali Explained

The four books originate from the teachings of the sage Patanjali. Around 400 BCE, he wrote a collection of texts that consisted of 196 sutras . These 196 sutras were further categorized into the four books, now referred to as the “Four Books of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.”

As a side note, these are great references for anyone who is diving into the Yogic Lifestyle but especially for those pursuing their Online Yoga Teacher Training, these are great resources to help you understand what is behind the asanas.

According to Yogapedia, the four books of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are:

  • Samadhi pada
  • Sadhana pada
  • Vibhuti pada
  • Kaivalya pada
  • Each book works together to create a teaching guide towards a spiritual journey into understanding oneself better.

    There Are So Many Lessons To Learn From The Yoga Sutras

    Life is busy, and you may not have time to study all the sutras, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them. Modern yogis can use the sutras to find daily or weekly intentions for practice and life. Finding meaning in the ancient roots of yoga can refresh any modern yogi’s routine.

    So give this list a read and find something that speaks to where you are and where you would like to go. Whether you practice in a yoga studio or in your bedroom, are accomplished or just starting out, these sutras will help guide you to a new, deeper, and fuller understanding of yoga.

    A full PDF of the Yoga Sutras can be found here.

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    To Remind Yourself Of The True Purpose Of Your Practice

    Yoga asana is a great way to increase your strength and flexibility, release stress, and improve your health—but that’s not all the practice is about. Patanjali systematically lays out the definition of yoga in the broadest sense—yoga chitta vritti nirodhah, or “yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind”—and also tells us which mind states are not the state of yoga, as well as why we suffer, and what we can do about it. The Sutra offers a strategy for discovering the state of wholeness that already exists in us, and for how we can begin to understand and let go of our suffering. This, he reminds us, is the true aim of yoga.

    The Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali: Learning To Find Balance

    Most dedicated yogis have come across The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali at some point during their journey through yoga. The text is introduced in most 200-hour training, but we rarely get a chance to really dig into it. Often because there’s so much for us to learn as yoga teachers in the making. We usually just end up giving it a quick glance before turning our attention to what feels most challenging in our studies, like sequencing, anatomy, or even our own physical practice.

    On top of that, there are so many things that might concern us on the way to getting our certificates. Are we going to say something silly during our teaching exam? Will we forget the difference between rectus abdominis and rectus femoris on our final test? And will we ever be able to wrap our tongues around the 1008 names of asanas? In this situation, memorizing a bunch of philosophical terms in Sanskrit might feel less relevant to us and our students than actually figuring out how to get them safely through their asana practice.

    So when it comes to the study of yoga philosophy, we often have a vague idea that the Yoga Sutras is a text about eight limbs of yoga. And that sounds a lot like the Ten Commandments. This means that as long as we don’t steal, lie or sleep around we’re probably not that far off the yogic path. However, while following the eight limbs is definitely a great place to start if we want to embrace a way of life that feels like yoga, the text has a lot more to offer.

    What Does Om Mean Exploring The Sound Of The Universe

    Maria Kuzmiak

    Chanting mantras is a powerful way to turn inward and quiet the mind. While there are many mantras, few are as well-known as the sound of OM. But what does OM mean?

    In Yoga Sutra 1.28, Patanjali reminds us that chanting the mantra and reflecting on its meaning are keys to enlightenment.

    Maybe you’ve heard OM described as the sound of the universe. In some translations, it’s the voice of God or God in the form of sound.

    Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali: A Summary For Beginners

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    The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is a text containing 196 sutras that can be followed like a guide for a yoga student to achieve enlightenment and final liberation. It is intended to not only educate anyone on the importance of discovering one’s true Self but also to highlight the importance of understanding the yogi’s place in the universe.

    The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are further categorized into four main parts, each with an intention behind the selected sutras. They are:

  • Samadhi pada
  • Sadhana pada
  • Vibhuti pada
  • Kaivalya pada
  • From these four primary categories, the yoga student is guided through the possible tribulations that may occur throughout the path towards enlightenment with different solutions that should keep them on track.

    If you already have foundation of the origin of Pajanjali’s teachings and want to simply dive into articles on the practice application of these teachings, click this link for great info on how to practice the Yogic Lifestyle.

    For a more detailed understanding of the founding texts and father of modern yoga, read on about the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali!  

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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, it’s 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 you’ll 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 fluctuating—you 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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