Skip to content

Patanjali’s Eight Practices.

November 2, 2011

Patanjali’s Eight Practices.

The eight fold path described by Patanjali in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are not necessarily linear or progressive. One can adopt any of these practices at any time, in any order into one’s life and still feel yoga happening. But to really achieve a full state of contentment and happiness it is recommended that all of the eight limbs be explored.

    1. Yamas  – Ethical Disciplines to adopt in ones life
  1. Niyamas – Principles to put into daily practice
  2. Asana – Physical Postures, (What is referred to as “yoga” in the West)
  3. Pranayama – Control of the breath
  4. Pratyahara – Conscious withdrawal of the senses
  5. Dharana – Concentration
  6. Dhyana – Meditation
  7. Samadhi – Absolute absorption – Super Conscious State
• YAMAS
Ahimsa – non-harming
Satya – a respect for the truth – truthfulness
Asteya – non stealing
Brahmacharya – temperance, self-control, desireless – ness. Being desire less.
Aparigraha – non-coveting, non greed
• NIYAMAS
Saucha – purity, cleanliness, both internal and external. In thought, in speech as well as body.
Santosha – conscious cultivation of contentment. Being aware of negative thought patterns and behaviour.
Tapas – willingness to sacrifice in order to learn more about oneself.
Svadyaya – self study rather than the study of others. Self-knowledge and self-understanding.
Isvara-pranidhana – acceptance and surrendering. Accepting what is and that which cannot be changed.
• ASANA
Various physical postures of which there are many, interpreted in many different ways by many teachers! Some are set sequences, some use flowing movements, others use heated studios, some are more precise in their positioning . . . in time one finds a style of physical practice to suit your personality and temperament.
• PRANAYAMA
Manipulating the breath! Yes, we all breathe, daily otherwise we would not be alive! But how often are we aware of our breath and how it is used by the body to maintain life!
In Eastern philosophy one’s life force is called PRANA, (energy). We have individual prana and the Universe has prana. There is prana in all living things By manipulating the breath we can manipulate our life force and work more effectively with our body and our minds.
• PRATYAHARA
Learning to withdraw our senses and to not be affected or influenced by them. By doing so we learn to control the activities of our mind and in turn our emotions and the way we interact with our environment. We can choose how we respond to other people or situations on our life path. We can do so in a healthy positive manner or an unhealthy negative manner. Practising pratyahara gives us skills to do this.
• DHARANA
Learning to focus our attention and our mind activity through the practice of concentration. There are many tools for this. Memorising a song, concentrating on a puzzle, or a picture or a candle flame. In Eastern philosophy the use of a Mantra helps to discipline the mind.
• DHYANA
Meditation. By creating the right environment, meditation happens. Sometimes described as a state of conscious deep sleep, other times the absolute stilling of the mind, or finding that deep state of peace and tranquility within. One cannot teach meditation any more than one can teach, “falling asleep”. One can only facilitate the right environment. But one needs to practice the preparation and provide the right circumstances for meditation to happen.
• SAMADHI
A state of one pointed absorption, the experience of unity with all.  Supreme happiness.
__________________________________________________________
By Anita Bagshaw www.maitriyoga.co.za
Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: