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November 19, 2017

Patanjali's Yoga Sutra

Thousand of years ago, an ancient Indian sage, Patanjali codified all aspects of yoga into a certain format known as the Yoga Sutras (aphorism). This is a collection of 196 Sutras on yoga. Patanjali is also known as the father of modern yoga. “Sutra” literally means “a thread.”  Just as the thread is vital for a necklace or a garland, but it is not a goal by itself, Yoga Sutras give us foundation and best practices of living a life towards inner peace. They are not religious teachings or moral preaching, but practical lessons on how to lead a life towards eternal blissfulness, in our own unique way.

A number of sacred texts describe yoga practices in detail, including the Upanishads or the Vedas. When it comes to the philosophy of yoga though, the only text that has become a reference for yogi around the world is The Yoga Sutras by Patanjali.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra is divided into four main chapters or Padas

The first chapter – SAMADHI PADA – About Enlightenment

It contains 51 sutras that teaches us how to become One. It is a detailed explanation of the process that leads us to enlightenment, meditation and concentration.

The second chapter – SADHANA PADA – About the practice

It introduces us to the Kriya Yoga (action Yoga) and Ashtanga Yoga (eight limbs of yoga). It talks about the practice of yoga in 55 sutras.

The third chapter – VIBHUTI PADA – About the results

It contains 56 sutras that teaches us about the final results of yoga and how to feel once your journey towards self-discovery has ended. The chapter focuses on the ability of yoga to empower the mind.

The fourth chapter – KAIVALYA PADA – About the Liberation

It  includes 34 sutras that describe liberation or the freedom of the mind that can be achieved by practicing yoga. Achieving the state of unconditional and absolute liberation is the goal of every yogi practitioner.

Yoga Sutra - The Authoritative text of Yoga

Even though each part of Yoga Sutra has its distinctive significance and represents a different holistic approach, in the end all parts come together to fulfill an essential role: to give the yogi the knowledge and the understanding of yoga in a global, inclusive manner. It is said that for maximum comprehension, the Sutras should be read in Sanskrit, rather than translations.

Practice and commitment are the only things that will give you the wisdom and the ability to control your inner power and to attain a higher sense of life.

We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil… If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing? (136-137)” ― Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras

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