If you’ve taken yoga classes or read up on Yoga, you’ve probably come across the Yoga Sutra – the guidebook of Yoga. Written hundreds of years ago, this book contains aphorisms (sutras) of wisdom. Sage Patanjali gave us Yoga in the form of Yoga Sutras. There are some mythical aspects to the story of the ancient sage Patanjali’s birth. One version is that when people prayed to the lord to save them from the miseries of life, Lord Vishnu took pity on them and deputed Adishesha the snake who serves as his bed, to help. He came down in human form and fell on the outstretched arms in the form of Anjali Mudra.Since Adishesha fell in Anjali Mudra, he is called Patanjali. Sage Patanjali has a peculiar form, he is human from feet to shoulders and has a thousand hooded snake heads above. The thousand hoods symbolize the universalities of his teachings.
Patanjali undertook a mission to reduce the sufferings of the people, his investigation led him to discover there were three sources of trouble; body health, speech (when inappropriate words are used) and the mind which can cause problems if it is not controlled. Therefore, he gave us Ayurveda for the body, Grammar for speech and Yoga for the mind!
The Origins Of Yoga
The word Yoga originated from the Sanskrit word Yug meaning ‘to join together.’ There are three paths of Yoga, Jnana Yoga or Yoga of knowledge and wisdom, Bhakti yoga or self-love and surrender to the divine power and Karma yoga or Yoga of the correct action.
According to the Vedas, human life has four goals. These are Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha, which is also known as liberation. This is the ultimate goal of life, and Yoga can help us achieve this goal. For this reason, the eight limbs of Yoga begin with dharmic principles. Yoga concerns the mind. Yoga too has the same goal. According to Yoga, happiness is a state of mind. Thus, Yoga strives to change the state of mind of an individual.
Yoga has a specific definition – Chitta Vritti Nirodha, which is connected with meditative techniques of calming the mind by Patanjali yoga. In Sanskrit, the words Chitta means mind; Vritti means fluctuations and Nirodha implies restraint. When the mind is calm, there can be unification with UR higher self or the Divine.
Yoga can help individuals attain Chitta Vritti Nirodha. By the practice of Patanjali’s eight limbs of Yoga. Yoga helps individuals gain control over their body and mind by focusing on meditation, posture and breathing. The road to enlightenment and eternal wisdom is through practices of meditation. The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali is a real source of inspiration for all such practices.
The Eight Limbs of Yoga Sutra
In the Yoga Sutras, Ashtanga is described as a system of Yoga. Asta means eight and Anga means limb. It concerns the eight limbs of yoga practice which is connected. When practiced together, the body and mind can get rid of impurities, and the true self is realized.
Yamas (abstinence) – External Disciplines: The five Yamas that control our behavior and which determine how we relate to our surroundings. These are truthfulness, non-stealing, celibacy, non-violence and non-possessiveness. This relates to how our relationships impact our mind, the way we communicate and speak. It encourages communication to foster relationships. Practicing it helps you to have a harmonious relationship with the people around you.
Niyama’s (observance) – Internal disciplines: The five Niyama’s keep us grounded. These are contentment, self-discipline, purity, self-study, devotion and dedication to the Divine – connected with some higher force. Helps you to be comfortable with what you have.
Asana (postures) – Posture meditation: Asana practice is focused on keeping the body healthy. By practicing postures, we enable our body to adjust to situations.
Pranayama (breath) – Breath control: Synchronizing UR breath with movement. With pranayama, we work on the life force. Prana means life force and Yama means to strengthen the prana. When we control our breath, our mind is controlled.
Pratyahara (senses withdrawal) – Withdrawal of the senses: To be connected with the higher force and keep us grounded with higher principles. Our senses should be governed by what we want it to do. We should not be forced by our intentions to do something.
Dharana (concentration) – Concentration – This is an initial phase of deep focused meditation. This refers to single-minded consciousness. Deep concentration allows us to control our subconscious mind. Dharana means when we focus our mind on a particular object, idea or place.
Dhyana (meditation) – Meditative absorption – Helps to withdraw UR mind from the automatic responses to sense-impressions. Where the mind is entirely in control, and there is an ease in doing meditation, and there is deep concentration without any distracting thoughts.
Samadhi (absorption) – State of enlightenment and consciousness- There are self-realization and oneness with the infinite spirit. You are united with the universal consciousness. You are blissfully absorbed in meditation.
The practice of asanas is established through pranayama. Yamas and Niyamas’ development is dependent on asana practice and in the same way, pranayama and asanas cannot be done without the Yamas and Niyamas. These four limbs are concerned with the outward world and help with creating awareness of our inner world. They also help to keep us away from worldly distractions.
The other four limbs are concerned with our inner world. The fifth limb, known as Pratyahara, links the lower limbs (external) to the higher limbs (internal). All eight limbs should grow simultaneously for a homogenous and balanced practice.
How can Yoga Sutras help calm UR MIND?
The Yoga Sutras give us specific ideas and practices to follow, which help calm the mind.
Four symptoms to look out for when a person is under stress:
1) Sense of unhappiness
2) Negative attitude
3) Inability to keep the body in one place
4) Fast and short breathing
When the above four symptoms are evident, you must make progressive changes towards UR mental and physical health! When UR stressed, there is always a tendency to jump from one solution to the other due to impatience! Patanjali cautions against this. The way forward is to find a single treatment method and to stick to it.
How Yoga Sutras Can help U Deal With Stress & Anxiety
The anxiety and stress that almost all of us experience in our day-to-day life is jealousy, anger, frustration and so on. The way we communicate with other people dramatically affects our inner peace and our relationships. It is often that anxiety is so ingrained in the human body that we live with it for years without noticing how much it propels us!
It is generally believed that Yoga is practiced for physical benefits. However, it is a strategy of a life that defines how you want to live. Yoga is all about the ability to combine UR body, mind, and soul, or spirit. The whole focus of Yoga is to empower you to achieve what you are capable of. According to the Yoga Sutra, the practice of Yoga is believed to still the fluctuations of the mind.
If yoga is practiced regularly, UR mind will be serene and tranquil. When detachment is cultivated, you will be able to get rid of all emotional pain and suffering. This is because you will stop identifying with the causative feelings, sensations and thoughts. If you desire to capture all the benefits and garner that balance to steady UR nerves, consider practicing the oldest yet greatest form of Yoga – Ashtanga Yoga, which means joining eight limbs of yoga practice that develops both spiritual and physical health. The purpose is to understand UR inner voice and follow it to get what you want from life by following the eight limbs of Yoga diligently!
The wisdom of the Sutras give us certain special practices that help to calm our mind and overcome stress. These sutras help to evolve the mind and acquire a sense of fulfilment.
The Yoga Sutras help you to accept the present situation and look for a solution. It also helps you remove unhappiness not by chanting but by practicing the Sutras which apply to you – so that you can work on reducing UR stress. This eliminates despair and creates happiness within you!
Regular yoga practice can assist you to stay calm and relaxed in life. It may also offer you the strength to face situations in life without getting restless. Yoga practices ideally includes the entire package of asanas (body postures), pranayama’s (breathing techniques), meditation, and therefore the ancient yoga philosophy, all of which have helped many anxious and nervous people improve and meet life’s challenges with renewed vigor.
Ways Yoga Sutras Can Empower You & Create Positivity In URlife?
Sutras are aphorisms that give direction. These aphorisms are helpful for humanity to follow the right path for the desired goal. The Sutras help adopt a positive attitude. These Sutras play a vital role in an individual’s life if practiced regularly. The practice of the Sutras helps to encourage in doing the right things – the way things should be perceived accurately. The answers to the questions are always in the human brain (mind), and the mind should always be in our control. The Sutras help in making the mind calm by keeping it safe from unexpected and foreign activities.
Solutions offered by Yoga Sutras
It explains about maintaining good relationships: If a relationship is the cause of the stress. It advises practicing pranayama and asanas to calm the mind down. Some good examples can also be recalled to clear the mind. Additionally, the Yoga Sutras educate regarding sleep as a solution for stress. When a person is asleep, it feels like a fuse is removed! There are many things in life like this for which we have NO explanation. It is just accepted as a part of life.
Patanjali enlightens human beings about the fact that there is NOT always an answer to a question. According to the Yoga Sutras – the first step to remove stress in a person’s life is to accept the situation. To get rid of stress, we need to find a solution to move on and remove unhappiness from our lives!
The Upsides of Yoga Sutras
Yoga gives us ‘Ananda’(happiness derived from within) and ‘Sukham’ (happiness we acquire from outside sources). For instance, when we eat something, watch a movie or a cricket match, talk to someone etc. This is short-lived. However, we are in constant search for happiness that is permanent and everlasting. This comes only from within!
When we are born, we are happy. Many things that make us unhappy when we become old did not affect us as children. Yoga concentrates on bringing about Ananda (pure joy). This is the joy that comes from within! Therefore, Yoga strives to reduce ‘Dukham’ and not replace it with ‘Sukham’ but with Ananda!
Secondary benefits of Yoga
Devotion to a higher force
God can play a massive role in URLife. But that is only if you trust and believe in God. After all, spiritualism is the ultimate result of the practice of Yoga, and the goal of Yoga is to establish a connection with the Divine).
The best way to live the wisdom of the sutras is to firstly, believe in UR self. It is the key for UR enhancement in life! Also, following asanas, pranayama, meditation. Peace is not a product that can be bought. It lies within you! So, to attain a positive attitude, believe in URself and practice the Sutras regularly to strengthen UR relationships! If you would like to find out in-depth information about Yoga and The Yoga Sutras then you must give Understanding Yoga a read!