Yoga means cosmic union and Yoga Practice aims at clearing and aligning a human to its pure, potent, conscious and mature form. Being aware without conditioned perception. In short, Yoga is Self-Realisation.
“Just as a man who anxiously seeks the means of escape from the midst of a burning house, so also the aspirant should have a burning desire to free himself from the fire of samsara. Then only he will be able to enter into deep meditation and samadhi.”
– Swami Sivananda Saraswati
“Yoga practice is not about the ability to bend your body into a pretzel.”
“Patañjali says that nirbīja samādhi can come only when there is a total cessation of the functioning of all reactive centres with not even a subtle centre of identity remaining. There is absolutely no centre to which impressions of experience can cling. It is a state of experiencing without accumulation. The mind in this condition is ever fresh and vital. It is able to meet life anew from moment to moment.”
– Rohit Mehta, Yoga – the Art of Integration, commentary on Patanjali’s ॥I 51॥
atha yoga-anuśāsanam ॥1॥:
Yoga in the here and now: an introduction to the study and practice of yoga.
Yoga is the restrictions of the fluctuations of the mind. / When you are in a state of yoga, all misconceptions (vrittis) that can exist in the mutable aspect of human beings (chitta) disappear.
tadā draṣṭuḥ svarūpe-‘vasthānam ॥3॥:
For finding our true self (drashtu) entails insight into our own nature.
vr̥tti sārūpyam-itaratra ॥4॥:
Lacking that, misconceptions (vritti) skew our perceptions.
vr̥ttayaḥ pañcatayyaḥ kliṣṭākliṣṭāḥ ॥5॥:
There are five types of misconceptions (vrittis), some of which are more agreeable than others:
pramāṇa viparyaya vikalpa nidrā smr̥tayaḥ ॥6॥:
insight, error, imaginings, deep sleep, and recollections.
pratyakṣa-anumāna-āgamāḥ pramāṇāni ॥7॥:
Insight arises from direct perception, conclusions, or learning that are based on reliable sources.
viparyayo mithyā-jñānam-atadrūpa pratiṣṭham ॥8॥:
Error arises from knowledge that is based on a false mental construct.
śabda-jñāna-anupātī vastu-śūnyo vikalpaḥ ॥9॥:
Imaginings are engendered by word knowledge without regard for what actually exists in the real world.
anu-bhūta-viṣaya-asaṁpramoṣaḥ smr̥tiḥ ॥11॥:
Recollections are engendered by the past, insofar as the relevant experience has not been eclipsed.
abhyāsa-vairāgya-ābhyāṁ tan-nirodhaḥ ॥12॥:
The state of yoga is attained via a balance between assiduousness (abhyasa) and imperturbability (vairagya).
dr̥ṣṭa-anuśravika-viṣaya-vitr̥ṣṇasya vaśīkāra-saṁjṇā vairāgyam ॥15॥:
Imperturbability results from a balance in the consciousness, and when the desire for all things that we see or have heard of is extinguished.
tatparaṁ puruṣa-khyāteḥ guṇa-vaitr̥ṣṇyam ॥16॥:
The highest state of imperturbability arises from the experience of the true self; in this state even the basic elements of nature lose their power over us.
bhava-pratyayo videha-prakr̥ti-layānam ॥19॥:
Some people are born with true insight, whereas others attain it via a divine body or oneness with nature.
tataḥ pratyak-cetana-adhigamo-‘py-antarāya-abhavaś-ca ॥29॥:
Through this practice, the immutable self is revealed and all obstacles (antaraya) are removed.
vyādhi styāna saṁśaya pramāda-ālasya-avirati bhrāntidarśana-alabdha-bhūmikatva-anavasthitatvāni citta-vikṣepāḥ te antarāyāḥ ॥30॥:
These obstacles (antaraya) (illness; inertia; doubt; neglect; sloth; desire; blindness; a lack of goals; irresoluteness) obscure that which is immutable in human beings (chitta).
duḥkha-daurmanasya-aṅgamejayatva-śvāsapraśvāsāḥ vikṣepa sahabhuvaḥ ॥31॥:
Suffering, depression, nervousness, and agitated breathing are signs of this lack of clarity.
He who practices assiduously overcomes these obstacles.
maitrī karuṇā mudito-pekṣāṇāṁ-sukha-duḥkha puṇya-apuṇya-viṣayāṇāṁ bhāvanātaḥ citta-prasādanam ॥33॥:
All that is mutable in human beings (chitta) is harmonized through the cultivation of love (maitri), helpfulness (karuna), conviviality (mudita) and imperturbability (upeksha) in situations that are happy, painful, successful or unfortunate.
pracchardana-vidhāraṇa-ābhyāṁ vā prāṇasya ॥34॥:
The goal can be attained through breathing exercises involving holding your breath before exhaling.
viṣayavatī vā pravr̥tti-rutpannā manasaḥ sthiti nibandhinī ॥35॥:
Or by contemplating things and impressions, which promotes mental stability and consolidation
viśokā vā jyotiṣmatī ॥36॥:
Or by contemplating the inner light that is free of suffering.
Or through contemplation (dhyana) of love.
paramāṇu parama-mahattva-anto-‘sya vaśīkāraḥ ॥40॥:
A person who attains this goal has mastery over everything, from the smallest atom to the entire universe.
kṣīṇa-vr̥tter-abhijātasy-eva maṇer-grahītr̥-grahaṇa-grāhyeṣu tatstha-tadañjanatā samāpattiḥ ॥41॥:
Once the misconceptions (vritti) have been minimized, everything that is mutable in human beings (chitta) becomes as clear as a diamond, and perceptions, the perceived, and perceiver are melded with each other. One builds on and colors the other. This is enlightenment (samapatti).
smr̥ti-pariśuddhau svarūpa-śūnyeva-arthamātra-nirbhāsā nirvitarkā ॥43॥:
Once all previous impressions (smriti) have been purged and one’s own nature is clearly perceptible, then only the object of contemplation emanates light. This is nirvitarka samapatti.
If you regularly experience the clearest of the four aforementioned states known as nirvichara samapatti, then you are about to experience a state of absolute clarity.
r̥taṁbharā tatra prajñā ॥48॥:
Then consciousness will be filled with truth.
tasyāpi nirodhe sarva-nirodhān-nirbījaḥ samādhiḥ ॥51॥:
Nirbiija samadhi is attained once even these impressions have become tranquil and when everything has become tranquil.”
– Patanjali, Extracts from The Yoga Sutras, chapter I, samâdhi-pâda