The Essential Yoga Sutra: Ancient Wisdom for Your Yoga
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The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali is a classic Sanskrit treatise consisting of 195 “threads,” or aphorisms, describing the process of liberation through yoga. Although little is known about Patanjali (most scholars estimate that he lived in India circa 200–300 b.c.), his writings have long been recognized as a vital contribution to the philosophy and practice of yoga. This new, expert translation of the original Sanskrit text of Patanjali’s best-known work presents his seminal ideas and methods in accessible, plain-language English.
Patanjali organized the sutra into four parts: Samadhi (absorption), Sadhana (practice), Vibhuti (supernatural powers), and Kaivalya (liberation). Each represents a step in breaking free of our limited definition of consciousness and training the mind to achieve oneness with the universe. Geshe Michael Roach, one of the most respected teachers of Tibetan Buddhism in America and a renowned scholar of Sanskrit, provides authoritative commentary on each of the sutras. His notes and clarification are straightforward and highly readable, untainted by obscure, academic terminology or New Age jargon. The first edition of the Yoga Sutra to present a Buddhist perspective, this paperback original will be welcomed by students and spiritual seekers alike.
undertake right now to gain these high goals. We now begin these steps: the famous ashta-anga, the eight limbs or parts of the yoga path. As mentioned in the opening line of this second chapter, we cover first the five more externally oriented practices, concrete activities where our progress is easy to measure. These prepare us for the three more inwardly focused practices of the third chapter. The first of the eight limbs of yoga is self-control, the ability in a sense to restrain ourselves
few additional exercises that would give you the strength and flexibility to sit in unmoving meditation for long periods of time. Here really begins the idea of working on the heart and mind by working from the outside, on the body. By placing the parts of our body into very specific positions, we purposely affect the inner channels. This facilitates the flow of inner wind, or prana. And because our very thoughts ride upon this prana inside the channels, we bring greater kindness and knowledge
personal illness, or loss of a loved one—to get you asking questions, to pick the book up. Second you need to study it carefully; seek out “live” guidance if you can. Spend a lot of time thinking about the seeds, and especially that idea of emptiness. You'll need to plant new seeds to grasp all this. Be good to people, dedicate it to understanding. Third part: learn to meditate properly, work toward gaining ultimate love and seeing ultimate truth. About twenty minutes in this gets you to the
sleeping. Our minds are infinitely powerful. We can learn to be good at anything, if only we give it an hour or two of practice a day. But every day. We all know that there are right ways of fixing a car and wrong ways too. If you try to fix your car but you don't know what you are doing, you can really make expensive mistakes. Fixing heart and mind are no different. We need to know what we're doing—we need good, clear instructions on what to do, from someone who's already done it. Learning
do with our lives. Deep inside, we know that very clearly. That's why it makes our minds feel bright and clear when we hear someone say that our real purpose in life is to help and serve others; and not with kinds of help that will themselves quickly be used up and disappear. We were all meant for more. The physical yoga exercises, and the special breathing techniques that go with them, are meant to open up the subtle inner channels. But because the thoughts themselves travel in these channels,