The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means ‘yoke’ or ‘union’. Practicing the postures and breathing with awareness develops harmony, unifying the mind, body and spirit, and is helping us to realize our true nature.
Sage Patanjali lived in India over 2,200 years ago. A true sage and a scholar, he wrote classical texts on Sanskrit grammar and medicine, as well as his Yoga Sutras, the first written statement of yogic philosophy. Before that, yoga followed an oral tradition, passed on personally from teacher to student. The Gurukula Systhem, a type of residential schooling system in ancient India with shishya (students) living near or with the guru, in the same house. The guru-shishya tradition is a sacred one in Hinduism and appears in other religious groups in India, such as Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. In Shree Hari Yoga school we try to follow this tradition. Therefor we have near our two yoga halls 11 accommodations for our students and also Shree Hariji’s accommodation is in the same place.
In 196 succinct aphorisms, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras describe the functioning of the mind and emotions, and the path to fulfillment. In the first chapter, yoga is defined as “the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind” – ‘Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodhah’. This famous phrase encapsulates both, the practice and the ultimate aim of yoga: the means are just as important as this end. Patanjali defines these means as the ‘eight limbs’ (ashtanga) or stages of yoga. Though his eight-fold path is sequential, its limbs are seamlessly interwoven. The first two, yama (“don’t do these”, a list of self-restraints) and niyama (“right living” or ethical rules), offer ethical guidance on personal conduct, both in relation to others and towards oneself. In total, there are ten precepts for living ethically, with potentially transformative effects.
“Yoga makes a sincere practitioner into an integrated personality,” Mr Iyengar says. “It develops a feeling of oneness between man and nature, between man and man, and between man and his Maker, thus permitting the experience of a feeling of identity with the spirit that pervades all creation.”
The next two components, asana and pranayama, are the physical practices taught at the Institute: yoga postures and control of the breath. Together, they provide a vehicle for more internal work. The other four stages comprise this inner quest. Through withdrawal of the senses (pratyahara) and concentration (dharana), sustained meditation (dhyana) engenders a state of samadhi, which is variously defined as freedom, self-realisation and enlightenment. Yoga is “meditation in action”. His teaching combines all eight elements in asana practice (asana means here “to be seated in a position that is firm, but relaxed”), which helps us explore and experience the rest of the yoga practice. This brings us back into contact with the outside world, awakened by the basic understanding that everything and everyone are interconnected.
In Yoga philosophy, we go deeper into understanding the principles of Sage Patanjali’s Ashtanga method and in the yoga sutras. We also teach the realms of understanding the traditional Vedic culture and it’s rituals.
After having understood Yoga Philosophy, you will get to know your own special needs of your body and yoga practice, your intuition will become better and you might get this little sacred happiness feeling of more completion with your innermost yoga experience.
- ॐ Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and it’s Ashtanga Yoga (eight limbs of yoga)
- ॐ The Bhagavad Gita, the essence & its meaning
- ॐ The Hatha Yoga Pradipika content