1st Chapter

(this section, part from a collective work, was described by Jordan Moniz)

When it comes to written texts on the subject of yoga, the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali is the one that stands above all others. The Sutra’s were written around 800BCE, but the teachings found in it had been around for hundreds of years before. Before Patanjali comprised the teachings into a text the sutras, had been taught as an oral tradition, and passed on for years from one person to another. The text is comprised of 196 sutras and gives one the foundation and understanding that is needed for them on their yogic journey. In the first chapter, second sutra Patanjali, says that ” Yoga is experienced in that mind which has ceased to identify itself with its vacillating waves of perception” meaning that one’s yogic journey is a journey that is completely inward and concerned with controlling the mind and senses to find ones true self. In order to do this, one needs to have a correct understanding of all things found in the internal and external world. Correct understanding comes from direct perception. The things that block our understanding are:

  • Correct perception (not having attachment),
  • Misconception (derived from illusory knowledge)
  • Imagination (faculty knowledge
  • Relying on others for knowledge- need own experience)
  • Sleep (absence of mindfulness) and
  • Memory (fallacy by holding onto past experiences, not living in the now)

When our understanding is blocked we are not able to see that our ultimate state comes from practicing non attachment which leads to complete self-realization. In order to gain this knowledge we use analytical thinking to understand the direct experiences we experience in the internal and external world. The internal part of the yoga practice is a spiritual practice in which our goal is to connect with the divine. The divine, holds a different meaning for each and every person. The divine can be “God” or the divine can be the highest form of one’s true self. It depends on the individual to decide which one is true for them. One way we can practice connecting with the divine presence is with reciting the sound of OM, the sound of all things within the universe.

The sound of the ultimate self comes from connection with this divine presence. In order to gain connection with this divine one must have attained true self-knowledge. On the path to self-knowledge there are many obstacles that block one from gaining this true knowledge such as disease, dullness, doubt, negligence, and laziness. These obstacles are bound to come up on ones yogic journey and one must be prepared to face such obstacles. The best way to overcome and block these and other obstacles is by practicing meditation. Meditation does not only allow the blocking of these obstacles, but it also allows one to find true self-knowledge because meditation, is an inward journey that helps one find their true self.

 Chitta Vritti

Mind Chatter- the constant noise in your head, the hamster wheel that is always spinning. The goal of yoga is to quiet the mind, tame it and gain control of one’s true potential. Recognizing that only we and we alone can control our destiny is of great importance. Learning to live in the moment, the right now, will end our suffering. A true yogi recognizes that the past and the future do not matter.

Abhyasa

Practice, being able to reach tranquility in one’s life requires daily practice. It takes time and a lot of effort to reach this state. We can make an effort to obtain direct experience.

 Vairagya

Non-attachment, Fear and illusions of self are what are stopping us from finding ones true self. By continuing ones practice and following the principal of non-attachment one can stay true to their goal of tranquilly. Abhyasa and Vairagya are the core of one’s yogic foundation

Ishvara

Lord, the Supreme Being, pure consciousness, the ultimate source of reality. Practicing the sound of OM allows one to connect with the Devine. The term Ishvara and can have different meanings for each and every person. The supreme being can be external, i.e. a divine being somewhere in the sky or internal, i.e. a divine being within. With either one, the goal is to connect with this Supreme Being and reach a state of pure consciousness

Ishvara pranidhana

surrendering to the higher source. Learning to let completely go and give one self entirely to the Supreme Being that is attainable from within. Aligning one’s life with purpose. Removing the ego- “I” and recognizing the Supreme Being that is within. This is a constant personal practice. Finding the joy in just being; Devotion to living life and allowing ourselves to keep our hearts open, willing to experience the higher Devine.

Chitta Viskshepa

Distractions on our yogic journey inward. Distractions are the things that arise while we are on our yogic journey that we recognize can sway us away from our quest. Seeing and recognizing that distractions will arise while we are on journey is not bad, but when we indulge or give into these distractions, they become Obstacles (Antaraya) on our yogic journey. There are nine main obstacles that have a tendency to arise according to the sutras; Illness, Dullness, Doubt, Negligence, Laziness, Cravings, Misperception. Failure and Instability.

Chitta Prasadan

Chitta is mind and Prasadan is happiness. One is only able to reach this point in their yogic journey once they are able to gain control of their mind. True happiness is found when one can remove the notion of self and surrender completely to the divine.

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