A lot of us yoga newbie wonder about what yoga really is? Does it have different forms? Or is it a single art as a whole? While we are rattled with questions that provoke us to seek answers, we realize that yoga is actually a deep sea of knowledge with several kinds of treasures or forms hidden within its niche.
One such valuable treasure or the form of yoga is the discovery of ‘Patanjali Yoga’. More eminently known as the ‘yoga sutras’ or the ‘majestic bonds of yoga’, the Patanjali Yoga is unquestionably one of the oldest and one of the most sacred forms of yoga.
It was Maharishi Patanjali who unearthed the true meaning of these ‘yoga sutras’ and compiled a complete manuscript on yoga theory in practice – which came to be known as Patanjali Yoga.
These ‘Yogasutras’ form the core of yoga and, is also its most classical form. These ‘sutras of yoga’ are consolidation of tools that give a yogi, scholarly as well as practical insight into the body, mind and soul of a human being.
There have been several myths associated with the birth of Maharishi Patanjali – that he is a half human and half snake. However, various scholars believe him to be an erudite. He, with his exceptional skills and intellect, compiled the ‘yoga sutras’ to help the mankind.
There are 196 Indian Sutras discussed in the Patanjali Yoga Sutras. These Yoga Sutras are a concentration of two different traditions, namely “Eight Limb Yoga” (Ashtanga Yoga) and Action Yoga (Kriya Yoga).
Patanjali segregated these Yoga Sutras into four books, also known as ‘pada’ in Sanskrit. These ‘padas’ are divided as follows:
Samadhi refers to the conscious state wherein a yogi achieves ultimate transcendence. Samadhi is the primary technique through which one can dive into the depths of the mind to achieve Kaivalya, the isolated state. The author describes yoga first before explaining the method to attaining ‘Samadhi’. This is the core essence of Patanjali Yoga.
Sadhana is the Sanskrit word for “practice” or “discipline”. In this one, the author talks about two forms of Yoga in Patanjali Yoga: Kriya Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga.
Kriya Yoga is closely related to Karma Yoga. The concept of karma is also demonstrated in the Bhagavad Gita, where Arjuna is encouraged by Krishna to act without attachment or thought to the consequence or the fruit of action and activity conducted. It is the yoga of altruistic deed and overhaul.
Ashtanga Yoga describes the eight limbs that together constitute Rāja Yoga.
Vibhuti is the Sanskrit word for “supremacy” or “demonstration”. ‘Supra-normal powers’ or ‘Siddhi’ are attained through the practice of yoga. Consecrated and collective practice of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi is known as Samyama. ‘Samyama’ is the instrument for achieving various perfections, or Siddhis. The allure of these supremacies should be ignored. Instead, the focus should be only on liberation, being free. Siddhis distract us away from Kaivalaya(isolation) and should not be encouraged. Siddhis are illusions which take us away from liberation.
Kaivalya is a Sanskrit term for “isolation or seclusion”. However, its context in the Patanjali yoga sutras is slightly modified. Kaivalya in the sutras denotes emancipation, deliverance or release from the worldly. It is used interchangeably with moksha (liberation), which is the ultimate objective of yoga. The Kaivalya Pada describes the process of liberation and the reality of an ego that claims to be spiritual.
Patanjali elaborates on the definition of the word “yoga” in his second sutra of Book 1.
The Yogasutras of Patanjali use the term Isvara in 11 verses. The verse defines Isvara from a “personal god” to “special self” to “anything that has spiritual significance to the individual”.
According to Maharishi Patanjali, yoga implies the achievement of a state wherein activity of the mind stands still. If a human has the capability to still his mind, then he himself becomes the ultimate possibility. The mind becomes a pure reflection of the soul – without disruptions. Your perception on life becomes firm. You go beyond self-doubt.
A mind which is free from the ramifications of the past and remains unaffected by thoughts is a penetrative mind. This mind possesses the ultimate power to feel liberated. Such a mind can never be caged.
Content Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patanjali