Sutra’s & Energies

Patanjali, author of “The Yoga Sutras” is the oldest written text on yoga.   The eight parts commonly referred to “asashtanga” meaning “arms” or “limbs” in Sanskrit is in reference to a section in the Sutra’s; the 8 limbs to yoga.  These are:

yamasniyamasasanaspranayamapratyahara,dharanadhyana and samadhi.

Yamas – Rules for Living

These are the development and implementation of morals, principles, self-control, considerate social behavior and obligations.  Often referred to as the “restraints.”

They include:

ahimsa – non-violence

satya – truth and honesty

asteya – non stealing

bramacharya -non-lust/non sexual misconduct

aparigaha – non-hoarding/non-possessiveness.

Niyamas – Observances or Rules of Life

These concern ethics, positive traits to build upon, responsibility, cultivation of inner discipline, behavior towards self and devotional aspects.

They include:

shauca –  purity

santosh – contentment

tapas – endurance

swadhyaya – self study

ishvara pranidhana – dedications and supernal contemplations.

Asanas – Postures

Interesting enough this word is where many in the West associate the term Yoga and yet Patanjali didn’t write much in the texts at all.  The word “asana” means “seat of the soul” and he writes to take any movement.  Your movement should  be steady – “without strain”.

Pranayama – Breath Control

Cultivation of respiration is the way to infuse the vital force and energy into body.  We practice this by enhancing the processes of purification by the “restraint” (yama) of the life energy (Prana).

Pratyahara – Internalized Consciousness

Technique of drawing the senses inward to pay attention to vibrations or sensations.  Creating an awareness either while moving (asana) or being still. Listening to the body from the “inside out”

Dharana – Concentration

Naturally, the mind wanders however we draw the mind in to concentrate to tame the mind.  Over time the “monkey mind” will slow down and by tapping into other parts of your brain the practitioner over time will become much more intuitive with decisions as well.

Dhyana – Meditation

There are styles and forms of meditation however it is all about training the mind.   The mind is just like a muscle and many simply give up as they can’t control their thoughts or they aren’t sure it is being done correctly.   Even while moving you are in an active mediation.  Focus on one train of thought in the asana.  Meditation has wonderful health benefits that is still being discovered here in the West.  It slows the heart rate however more importantly over time and with practice, it will create a state of being that allows the inner “guru” in you to tap into your inherit knowledge.  You already have all the answers within.  Just listen.

Samadhi – Bliss

This is the higher state that contains the larger view of universal consciousness, where dualities melt away, and the fusion of oneness exists.

All of the 8 limbs don’t have to be practiced in an order – many are mixed together.   Most important point is that yoga isn’t something contained to a mat.   Just that on the mat we create an awareness to our body, mind and use this awareness out in the world 24/7.

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Chakras: refers to a wheel or moving circle of energies.  The Chakras direct and guide the physical body and nervous system. (Note it is pronounced Cha like chocolate not Sha).  

The seven chakras comprise three primary regions.  The three lower chakras are located close together at the base of the spine to the navel.  (The region of fire).  Three higher chakras, the throat, third eye and crown are related and form the region of the head- governing the brain centers.

In between stands the heart chakra as the central chakra – meditating between these two groups of three chakras, connecting both to the navel below and to the throat above.

The Threefold head Chakra – Seat of the Moon:

  • Sahasrara – crown or consciousness chakra
  • Ajna – Third eye or mind chakra (OM)
  • Visshuddha – throat or ether chakra (HAM)

The Central Heart: Seat of the Sun:

  • Anahata – Heart or Air chakra (YAM)

The Threefold Kanda or Bulb – Seat or Fire:

  • Manipura – Navel or Fire chakra (RAM)
  • Svadhishtana – Sex or water chakra (VAM)
  • Muladhara – Root or Earth chakra (LAM)

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Kosha’s – the layers.  Being aware of the subtle influences of the five elements within each kosha – discerns the True Self

  • Anamaya Kosha – Physical Sheath
  • Pranamaya Kosha – Breath Sheath
  • Manomaya Kosha – Mental/Emotional Sheath
  • Vijnanamaya Kosha – Witness Sheath
  • Anandamaya Kosha – Bliss Sheath

Vayu – directions and flow of energy:

  • Apana Vayu – down
  • Samana Vayu – In
  • Udana Vayu – Out
  • Prana Vayu – Up
  • Vyana Vayu – Everywhere