Dec 22, 2010
Yoga Shastra says that the origin of yogashastra is Brahma. But in Mahabharata it is written that it was founded by sage Sanat Kumar. In the Yogashastra classics, the Yogashastra by Patanjali is considered as the most authentic and most scientific. The great sage Patanjali has given 195/196 Sutras and this yogasutra has four chapters. This great sage codified and classified the ancient science systematically and gave a proper shape to it. The four chapters are.
Samadi Pada (51 Sutras)
Sadhana pada (55 Sutras).
Vibhuti Pada (55 Sutras)
Kaivalya Pada (35 Sutras).
There is a record that sage Patanjali renewed yoga sutras in 3rd century BC.
The word ‘yoga’ is derived from the Dhatu “Yuj” meaning the process of uniting Jeevatma with Paramatma. In Patanjali Maharshi yoga five types of mental conditions which bring happiness or sadness are listed.
Viparyaya (wrong understanding)
Vikalpa (faulty imagination).
The five obstacles for practicing yoga are
1. Avidya (lack of education)
2. Asmita (pride)
3. Raga (love)
4. Dwesha (hatred)
5. Abhinivesha (no interest in worldly life)
What is yoga?
Mahatma Gandhi said, "The union of all the powers of the body, mind and soul with the God is yoga."
There are four types of yoga – Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga and Raja Yoga. Controlling the desires and achieving concentration is the essence of yoga. According to sage Patanjali there are eight steps in yoga: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi
Definitions of yoga
According to Bhagavadgita, achieving mental balance in yoga.
According to sage Patanjali, achieving concentration by controlling all the desires.
According to Swamy Vivekananda, "Disciplining the mind is yoga."
"Holding the wavering mind in one place is yoga"
Getting released from pain and sadness is yoga (Geeta-6)
Achieving thatwhich can’t be achieved is yoga and saving what one gets from achieving is ‘Kshema.’
Efforts to gain Anand swaroop is yoga.
Steps in Yoga
Yama (Mental Control)
By following the first step in yoga mental purity and moral upliftment can be achieved. This is applicable not only to an individual but to a society as a whole. Five sutras are to be followed in yama. They are
1. Ahimsa (non-violence)
2. Satya (truth)
3. Asteya (not stealing)
4. Aparigraha (storing things)
Ahimsa (non-violence): Not causing physical or mental violence. Treating all with love and faith. Not causing any pain to anyone and inculcating the quality of forgiveness.
Satya (truth): By Satya an individual can be a yogi. According to Gandhiji. “Truth is God and God is Truth”. By following the path of satya it will be easy to practice yoga.
Asteya: Not stealing and not wishing for others' objects. Not using the things which do not belong to us or to take anything forcibly from others. Be satisfied with what you have and get peace and contentment.
Aparigraha: Collecting things which are not required at the given time. One must not get anything without effort. A yogi must lead a simple life and he should be free from any attachment. As the desires decrease, happiness and peace increase.
Brahmacharya: Controlling sense organs, study of spiritual classics and controlling the soul. According to Shankaracharya one who is involved in the study of scriptures and who finds God in all is a Brahmachari. According to Patanjali, physical, mental and speech control is Brahmacharya. A good mental condition is Brahmacharya.
If 'Rajasa' or 'Tamasa' food is consumed by the youngsters, their resistance power (immunity) decreases and if such impotent men get married, marital happiness will not be there. The message of Swamy Shivananda is potency is life and impotency is death. Therefore only Satwika food must be consumed. Devotion to God, study of the Vedas and control of the sense organs makes one a brahmachari.
Niyama (Physical Process)
The second step of yoga process is Niyama (happiness, meditation, sacrificing everything to God, self study). By this step mental and physical condition improve providing a sound health. Sage Patanjali has mentioned five rules in Niyama.
Shoucha: Keeping the body clean for a better life, a yogi should take bath twice a day and keep all the organs of the body neat and tidy. He must have good thoughts and good, clean food. He must have earned that food by following the right path.
Happiness: One must try to keep one’s mind happy and contented always. One can’t concentre if one has no satisfaction – one must have a balanced mind.
Tapas (meditation): the word ‘Tapas’ originated from the word ‘Tap.' Its objective is to achieve a particular goal. Having inclination towards god if one does one’s work, sacrificing everything to God is Tapas. One need not go to a forest or wear beard to do Tapas.
Swadhyaya: Reading good books, contemplation of good thoughts, having company of good people, reading holy book to purify the mind, reading spiritual books by which one’s mind will be full of good thoughts which mingle with one’s blood. By this there won’t be any place for bad thoughts. In swadhyaya one can learn or teach.
Praneedhana: One must sacrifice one’s work to God. Whatever difficulties or losses one faces in life should be left to God and one must try to solve them while having faith in God. One must give up pride and surrender to God. By praneedhana one sacrifices his happiness or difficulties to God. When one has the faith that god looks after everything, there won’t be changes in blood pressure.
Third step in yoga process is Asana. Constant, comfortable different poses of the body are Yogasana. In Yogasanas systematic movement of the body with breath is involved by bending or twisting one’s body, the internal organs, nervous system and muscles. The body gets enough relief, and becomes active and powerful by which blood circulatin and digestion become systematic.
Yogasanas involve complete knowledge of anatomy which are scientific. The processes of Yogasanas make the organs of one’s body lighter, active and healthy. They develop lungs, heart and brain, increase concentration power and bring the organs of one’s body under one’s control. Immunity grows and ailments are cured without medicines or medical operations. Besides, a practitioner of yoga will be a cultured citizen. One can have beautiful shape for one’s body.
Yogasanas can be practiced by children, women, young men and old people. People belonging to any caste or religion can practice them.
In order to achieve four Purusarthas - Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha the body should be brought under control. Yoga is the means to achieve it. It makes one’s body lustrous and young, making the mind calm with happiness. Yoga is the means to increase immunity of the body.
For other physical exercises, considerable space and a lot of expenses have to be incurred. But yogasanas can be practiced without incurring heavy expenses. If one develops one’s organs, alertness and patience can be gained; concentration required for gaining knowledge increases.
Internal and external parts of a yoga practitioner get cleansed. By the control of breath there will be the benefit of pranayama. Blood circulation becomes easier. Dangerous diseases can be cured without pain to the body and without expenses. One can ever be young thus increasing the life span.
By increasing immunity one can be free from diseases and can live longer and be happy without depending on others.
Instead of depending on surgeries, one can increase the power of the organs naturally. On can gain good health without any expenditure. Without any adverse effect, one can control one’s mind and one can progress spiritually. Students can increase their concentration power, can achieve progress in the field of education easily through Yogasanas.
These instructions should be followed by Yogasana practitioners
1. Yogasanas must be practiced on empty stomach or one can consume one cup of liquid food. Yogasanas can be practiced four hours after the main meal, or two hours after a light meal.
2. Food must be taken after half an hour’s rest after doing Yogasanas.
3. Before practice, urinary bladder and bowels should be emptied.
4. Dawn and dusk are good for Yogasana practice.
5. There must be fresh air, light, flat floor and a carpet on the floor to practice Yogasanas.
6. Discipline, faith and continuous efforts and practice are necessary qualities of a yoga student.
7. After completing Yogasanas one must lie down. By this the tiredness of doing Asanas disappears and the person will get enough rest.
8. Asanas can be done by anyone. But asanas should not be done as soon as a person comes in after exposure to sunlight.
9. Don’t do them when you are exhausted.
10. Don’t try to do Asanas without the guidance of a right teacher. Follow the guidelines given by him sincerely.
11. It is not advisable to start asanas as soon as one wakes up. One has to do simple exercises or Surya Namaskars before starting Yogasanas.