Patanjali and the Yoga Sutras

Around 400 BC Patanjali compiled the Yoga Sutras, all 196 of them. They are the most translated ancient Indian text in the medieval period, though it fell into obscurity for almost 700 years from 12th to 19th century. Swami Vivekananda brought the Yoga Sutras back to prominence so that they would once again be aContinue reading “Patanjali and the Yoga Sutras”

5 Koshas

Koshas are layers of our consciousness that we sheath our minds in. Koshas translated literally means sheath. I like to reference them as layers, which effectively makes me think of the Shrek quote about onions. Koshas are like onions. They are layers that lead to the inner truth of ourselves, our true consciousness, our purityContinue reading “5 Koshas”

Ishvarapranidhana

“Tapah-svadhyayesvara-pranidhanani kriya-yogah” –Kriya-yoga, the path of action, consists of self-discipline, study, and dedication to the Lord. Yoga Sutra 2.1 The fifth niyama Ishvarapranidhana is surrender to the Lord, the Divine. While it is not pointing out a specific religious identity, it is merely the idea that one must surrender to the Divine within ourselves, asContinue reading “Ishvarapranidhana”

Svadhyaya

  Our fourth Niyama. Self study, study of the Vedas and Sutras, introspection… Svadhyaya is introduced in book two of the sutras, tapah svadhyayes vara pranidhanani kriya yoga; Kriya yoga, the path of action, consists of self-discipline, study, and dedication to the Lord. II.1.This is Yoga in action, and all lead to a sort of self realization andContinue reading “Svadhyaya”

How to Heal with Empathy

You are standing in line waiting while a woman unloads all of her groceries, gets them loaded into her cart, and pulls out her check book and starts writing, slowly, to pay for her groceries, while her child stares at you in the cart. Remember the elderly couple who walked very slowly in front ofContinue reading “How to Heal with Empathy”

Aparigraha

  Non-attachment, non-possesiveness, non-grasping. These all are tied with aparigraha, our last yama we will discuss. Patanjali describes this in sutra 2.35: “When one is steadfast in non-possesiveness or non-grasping, with the senses, there arises knowledge of the why and wherefore of past and future incarnations.” Every journey in life ties in with this yama.Continue reading “Aparigraha”

Chakras

We are all aware that our bodies can pick up “vibes”. You walk into an uncomfortable situation, a loving atmosphere; you cannot explain how or why, you just know. This is part of our subtle body, the energy that is around our bodies as well as within. One of these subtle bodies are our chakras.Continue reading “Chakras”

Tapas

Tapas, deep meditation in Sanskrit. In the context of yoga, tapas refers to the fire that burns within. It is also linked to austerity in mind, body, spirit, and a spiritual effort. On the path to enlightenment, one must conquer aspect of human nature, as well as the pressures from our cultures and society. Tapas is the niyamaContinue reading “Tapas”

Santosha

The second niyama is santosha, contentment. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 11.42, santosha is described as life’s greatest happiness that cannot be shaken. It is about accepting yourself, those around you, and the world around you as it is. It is looking at the situations and people in your life, and realizing that none of them are badContinue reading “Santosha”

Soucha

The first of the niyamas, our external observances, is saucha. Saucha is cleanliness or purity. In yoga, we always talk about a wholeness of body, mind, and soul, and the yamas and the niyamas are meant to be applied in this way. So we are not just discussing the cleanliness or purity of your physical body, butContinue reading “Soucha”