Yoga is not just a practice. It is also consciousness, theory and … renunciation. Today YTTI Rishikesh will guide you through the basics of yoga knowledge in a slightly different way – explaining the relationships between its various elements.
Many of us know yoga from the mat. But did you know that what you experience on the mat has a strong philosophical and scientific foundation? The basic and oldest, at least of the preserved and available to us, yoga treaty is “Yoga Sutra”, whose authorship is attributed to the Indian sage Patanjali.
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Yogasutras is a text composed of 195 sutras, with each sutra being a concisely expressed thought, often boiling down to one sentence. Yoga-Sutra is the key to understanding yoga, although they do not give a definite answer and are often expressed laconic. Therefore, there are many comments from various authors trying to deal with the translation of this work.
Yoga citta vrtti nirodhah
Already at the beginning of the treaty, Patanjali explains what yoga is. Yoga citta vrtti nirodhah which means ” yoga is stopping movement in consciousness .” Citta, for which consciousness is a more appropriate term, is a much broader concept that includes mind, reason, ego and also the self. Citta (including senses) is everything in a human being, which affects our perception of reality.
Vrtti, it is translated as movements, waves – anything that can affect a changing and transforming Chitta. Movement in consciousness arises when our consciousness becomes absorbed by perceived objects, affecting our feeling, behaviour and mood. The mind can be moved by thoughts, the physical body can be ill. All these movements affect how and in what categories we perceive reality.
The last part of this sutra, or the term nirodhah, is translated as an interruption, stopping.
Yoga is to lead to the interruption of this process of vicious circle, teaching adequate control over the mind.
The essence of yoga is to look for practices and objects of concentration that give the impression of mental peace, that is, stop movements in consciousness.
If in the sutra I.2. Patanjali explained the essence of yoga: “Yoga is stopping movements of consciousness”, so in sutra I.12 he gives the means to achieve this goal – practice (abhyasa) and non-attachment (vairagya).
Abhyasa and vairagya, or practice and austerity
Patanjali emphasizes that practice and renunciation must go hand in hand, without overweighting each other. Without restraint, the energy generated during the practice could get out of control and be self-destructive. On the other hand, an advantage could lead to stagnation and internal collapse. So practice is energy production, and vairagya is restraint.
Abhyasa – practice
Patanjali emphasizes that abhyasa should be consistent, long, uninterrupted and devoted. What does it mean? The fact that our practice, for example on a mat, should be continuous. If a doubt comes, the practice should be even more zealous. Patanjali writes that those who are the most enthusiastic and remembered in practice are closest to the goal and that the asana should be perfected through perseverance, vigilance and insight. Moreover, by recognizing the limitations of one’s body, “this asana is fully manifest; that is the essence of the perfect asana. “
Asanas are just one of the eight practices
Asanas are just one of eight practices that are designed to serve practitioners to stop consciousness movements. Another practice is also pranayama, or the art of conscious breath. Just as nourishing the performance of an asana is fun to help you achieve peace, so is nutritious pranayama to attain a similar state. Orienting the mind towards breath control helps keep your consciousness calm. Conscious breath is the conscious management of your life energy.
What is vairagya, or the second pillar of yoga
Vairagya is about giving up the objects and ideas that distract us from our daily yoga practice and focusing on the things that are important to us.
Vairagya is also non-attachment or not creating expectations. It allows for fresh practice, to realize that nothing is given once and for all. Freeing yourself from expectations allows you to explore nature and reality. Vairagya also avoids the trap of repetitive effort associated with practice (abhyasa). Not being attached to what we have achieved in the field of physical and spiritual practice keeps us fresh and constantly seeking. Vairagya protects us from pride and conceit and reminds us that nothing is given forever.
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