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Rob Zabel, RYT www.samveda-yoga.


The Yoga Sutras

The existence of the Yogic science has roots dating back to long before Patajali and is expanded upon by many sages thereafter. It is said that Patajali was not its inventor but rather the man who best elucidated the core concepts of Yoga practice. Yoga is described in the Upanishads and in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Bhagavad-gita, the Goraksha and Gheranda Samhitas, often describing four, six and seven limbed approaches to Yoga.
Among the dozens of extant Yogic systems, the work of Patajali alone earned the title of Raja Yoga (royal). Unlike many of the texts that followed, the sutras do not describe specic poses, breathing or cleansing techniques. Instead Patajali describes the qualities a yogi must accrue, the workings of the mind and the techniques of deep meditation. In its second line the sutras dene yoga as to still the uctuations of the mind. Ultimately the Yoga Sutras are instruction for a seeker of Samadhi (transcendence).
Study of the eight limbs (ashta anga) is a compulsory part of the education of any aspiring yogi or yogini. Just as Ramamohan Brahmachari taught it to Krishnamacharya and Krishnamacharya to Desikachar, Iyengar, Ramaswami, and Pattabhi Jois, so we follow in this lineage. Jai! Yama
-external restraints Ahimsa (non-violence) Satya (truthfulness) Asteya (non-stealing) Brahmacharya (sexual restraint) Aparigraha (non-greed) Niyama
-internal restraints Sauca (purity) Santosha (contentment) Tapas (austerity) Svadhyaya (self-study) Isvara Pranidhana (devotion) Asana

Literally meaning seat. It is often claimed that the yoga of Patajalis included a collection of seated poses meant to amplify the effects of meditation. It is assumed that the physical practice we now know as Hatha yoga evolved out of this and later practices, though commentaries often include examples of postures. Patajali explains sthira sukham asanam: the seated postures (asanam) must be both rm (sthira) and supple (sukham). Pranayama

Literally the controlling (yama) of breath or energy (prana). Later sources give us wonderful breath cultivation techniques including in the tantric kriya (cleansing) techniques. For a great source on Pranyama look to Light on Pranyama by B.K.S. Iyengar. Pratyhra Ahara means that which goes into the body. Prati is to withdraw: hence meaning to withdraw from external intake. Specically the sutras describe the detachment from our ve external senses and related ve organs of action. This allows us to explore internally. To quote Gandhiji, Sense perceptions can be and often are false and deceptive, however real they may appear to us. Where there is realization outside the senses it is infallible. It is proved not by extraneous evidence but in the transformed conduct and character of those who have felt the real presence of God within. !#()+ .! !/25678: ); sva vishaya asamprayoge chittasya svarupe anukarah iva indriyanam pratyaharah 2.54 When the mental organs of senses and actions (indriyas) cease to be engaged with the corresponding objects in their mental realm, and assimilate or turn back into the mind-eld from which they arose, this is called pratyahara. C 78 tatah parama vashyata indriyanam 2.55 Through that turning inward of the organs of senses and actions (indriyas) also comes a supreme ability, controllability, or mastery over those senses inclining to go outward towards their objects. Dhra
"collection or concentration of the mind (joined with the retention of breath)"
the act of holding, bearing, wearing, supporting, maintaining, retaining
rmness, steadfastness This term is related to the verbal root dhri to hold, carry, maintain, resolve. Dhyna
meditation, thought, reection, (especially) profound and abstract religious meditation; to indulge in religious meditation
mental representation of the personal attributes of a deity
insensibility, dullness Samdhi
concentration of the thoughts, profound or abstract meditation, intense contemplation of any particular object (so as to identify the contemplator with the object meditated upon).
intense absorption or a kind of trance
a sanctuary or tomb of a saint
putting together, joining or combining with
union, a whole, aggregate, set

bringing into harmony, agreement, assent
intense application or xing the mind on, intentness, attention
perseverance in difculties The term's etymology involves "sam" (together or integrated), "" (towards), and "dh" (to get, to hold). Thus the result might be seen to be "to acquire integration or wholeness, or truth". On Samadhi: In Samadhi, the meditator loses his individuality and becomes identical with the Supreme Self. Just as the river joins the ocean, the individual soul joins the Supreme Soul, the ocean of absolute consciousness. -Swami Sivananda, "Fourteen Lessons on Raja Yoga" Every thought, feeling, perception, or memory you may have causes a modication, or ripple, in the mind. It distorts and colors the mental mirror. If you can restrain the mind from forming into modications, there will be no distortion, and you will experience your true Self. -Swami Satchidananda When the mind has been trained to remain xed on a certain internal or external location, there comes to it the power of owing in an unbroken current, as it were, towards that point. This state is called dhyana. When one has so intensied the power of dhyana as to be able to reject the external part of perception and remain meditating only on the internal part, the meaning, that state is called Samadhi. -Swami Vivekananda Who is it that loves and who that suffers? He alone stages a play with Himself; who exists save Him? The individual suffers because he perceives duality. It is duality which causes all sorrow and grief. Find the One everywhere and in everything and there will be an end to pain and suffering. -Anandamayi Ma