The Royal Eightfold Path of Sage Patanjali:
Yoga is one of the six Indian philosophies of hinduism. The word Yoga is derived from Sanskrit word Yuj which means to merge, to yoke, to join, perfect union, cessation of dualities. Therefore Yoga is the union of one’s soul with The Ultimate Spirit.
The existence of yoga is estimated to be many thousands of years old and was transmitted through oral traditions. Around 400 to 200 BCE, Sage Patanjali codified 196 aphorisms into 4 chapters , known as the Yoga Sutra.
It is also known as Raja yoga or Ashtanga yoga, Raja means king so, its a path of becoming the ruler of one’s own mind. Asht means eight and anga means limbs.
Through the practice of eight limbs of yoga, impurity is overcome and an endless flow of wisdom is achieved.
Chapter 2 , Yoga Sutra
The system of Ashtanga Yoga or Eight limbs of Yoga:
Yama five ethical disciplines:
- Ahimsa : Non-violence; Act of kindness towards every creature, every being; Doing no harm by thought and in deed
- Satya : Truthfulness towards oneself and the others
- Asteya : Non-stealing, breach of trust
- Brahmacharya : Continence, moderation; He who sees divinity in all is called Bramachrai ; To be in the world but not of the world
- Aparigraha : Non-covetousness, avaricious, simple living
Niyama: Five Individual disciplines:
- Saucha : Internal and external cleanliness; Purity of thoughts, actions and intake of foods
- Santosha : Contentment in all the situations, tranquillity
- Tapas: Blaze, rigorous practices to burn the impurities, austerities
- Svadhyaya : Study of one’s own self (thoughts, behavior and actions, rectify where necessary) ; Study of scriptures, sacred books, spiritual gatherings for self improvement
- Isvara pranidhana : Surrendering the actions and fruits of actions to the Ultimate Creator; sense of not taking the credits of one’s deeds to not to feed the ego.
Asana: Integration of body and mind and breath through physical activities. According to Patanjali asana is conscious comfortable, joyful steady position. To attain such position one has to follow the path of Hatha Yoga (which is the widely practice and known type of yoga today) to gain physical and mental health and continue for the quest of truth.
Pranayama: Control of prana (life force, energy); to channelize the prana to harmonize the outermost to innermost sheaths of body
Pratyahara : Discipline of senses; Conscious effort to draw our awareness away from external stimulants.
Dharana Yogic Concentration : After being purified inside and out, from here its start inward journey towards the Bliss. The wondering mind comes to a state of stillness,
Samadi: SuperConsciousness, Supreme Bliss, Union of individual self to the Universal Spirit.