This yoga was first taught by a great soul named Patanjal. His exact times are not known as he did not indicate the period in which he narrated this yoga in 196 beautiful poetic forms. It is known as Patanjal Yoga Sutras. The original sutras are in four padas or parts: (1) Samadhi Pada (2) Sadhana Pada (3) Vibhuti Pada (4) Kaivalya Pada His whole emphasis is on developing the power of the mind and harnessing its energy to strengthen body, mind soul. In the four parts of the sutras, he systematically explains what the mind is, how it operates and how to focus it. He has explained in great detail what difficulties would be met by a person who will try to follow his technique to to attain superconsciousness. It is divided into 8 steps: Yama, Niayam, Asan, Pranayam, Dhyna, Dharana, Samadhi, and Pratya. Yamas are 5: Being truthful, being non-violent, not stealing, being non-possessive, and respecting nature and its laws. Niayamas are also 5: Cleanliness, satisfaction, constant practice of yoga, self-analysis, and keeping trust in your faith, whatever that might be. Pranayam is the way you breathe. He has explained how to breathe right. Every time you take a breath, it must be done in absolutely slow speed, so much that your ears may not hear while you breathe. Pause for a while, then start debreathing slowly. Take a full breath, stop for a while, then start all over again. Dhyna is constant meditation, sitting in a particular posture, without getting uncomfortable, and reciting a mantra-- OooMaa. This sound, OooMaa, recited in a way described, creates reverberating sound waves. These waves cleanse the body right from the tips of your toes to the tips of the hairs on your head. According to him, the sound OooMaa is a gateway to purification of your body, mind and soul. It also strengthens your mind and prepares it to receive cosmic energy. Dharana is a technique to install the mantra in your body, by repeatedly reciting for whatever time you set, on a daily basis. Samadhi is a state of superconsciousness, which is attained only after constant practice of the entire procedure as mentioned in 8 steps, over long periods of time. Generally it takes about 12 years of practice without failing to follow the procedures methodically. In describing the mind, he said that it is always pulsating at great speeds, involving one subject or another, and in doing so, enables us to develop concentration on anything we want to. This chaotic condition leads us nowhere in our lives. In order to train your mind to focus on your set objectives, yoga is the best solution of all. Samadhi Pada is in 55 Sutra. It deals with definition of mind, how it works, in what directions it pulsates, how to overcome that tendency of mind. It says mind always involves (1) some object/subject right before ones eyes, (2) it creates an imaginery situation, and dwells upon it, (3) sleep, (4) involves past occurrences in our lives. These are the broad-based subjects in which mind is involved in one way or another. All other types could also be incorporated in this broad base. When mind does not get involved in any one of these five subjects, then at that time, it becomes objective and is then ready to receive cosmic energy. Now...how to remove the mind from the clothes of the subjective world and direct it towards the objective world is a technique in which you have to follow, first of all, the 10 principles mentioned above in the Yamas and Niayamas. Then you sit in the posture described as Padmajan, or lotus posture, preferably in the early morning, say about 4:30 or 5:00 AM, on a comfortable mattress, fresh white linen, or white Turkish towel. Before you start your meditation, you need to clean your body by going through a daily morning routine of cleaning your teeth, clearing your bowels, and taking a warm shower or bath. This will prepare your body to start your meditation session. When you take a warm water bath, it relieves you of all your aches and pains, and helps you to relax a little bit. After your bath, wear clean, white or saffron-colored, comfortable loose-fitting clothing, preferrably 2 pieces. This is the best way to start your meditation. Sitting in lotus position, facing north, you may start reciting the sound Oooo Ma ma ma ma, audibly and very slowly. It may be done so slowly that your own ears may hardly hear it. When you start the practice of meditation, it would be best to consult with a yoga teacher who can initiate you in the proper technique. Breathing and reciting is a focal point of all this meditation. It may take years to establish the correct way of doing it, followed, of course, by other principles, which will be discussed later. When you start doing this daily practice of yoga, you are going to meet with lots of hurdles and obstacles on your way to ultimate success in Patanjali yoga. Some of the problems are as follows: (1) You may be constantly disturbed by images of your past (2) You will be haunted by your failures, and reminded of your small successes. You may have something distracting you from your daily practice of yoga. (3) You will be tempted by sex, anger, wants, greed, ego and enmity. (4) You will be taken apart by different people in your lives...friends, relatives, and other people around you. (5) You will be constantly attracted by Yamas. (6) You will be tempted to keep away from Niyamas. (7) You may feel sick. (8) You may become lazy. (9) You may be having doubts about this practice of yoga...authenticity, etc. (10)You may be afflicted by sorrow, pain, suffering, weakness of body. (11)You may get carried away by little successes, on your way to final achievements, and stop practicing in between. Some people get impressed by early success of this technique, and think they donít need to go further. Now letís consider more about the sound OooMaa. This sound is probably the first created or made by any living being on this planet. It is a symbolic representation of cosmic power, which is the cause of this universe. Letís go back millenium by millenium to consider the affairs of this universe, of which our planet is a miniscule part. It was a vast expanse of gaseous matter in space. Some power, which I will call cosmic power, started churning this huge, gaseous mass. As it started churning and rotating, it became compacted, due to its own weight, mass and velocity. Think of the situation when that happened. It started falling apart into smaller circular objects, and by its sheer weight and velocity, began drifting away from its original mass, and rotating around the larger original mass. This was the beginning of our planetary system. Who caused it? I call it ďcosmic energy.Ē I say it has infinite intelligence, infiite mind, and the infinite power to do and undo things. Letís call it cosmic power, because it created this cosmos. Donít we see in utter-seeming chaos that there is a perfect balance in this universe? Actions and reactions are perfectly matched. If you do one good act, you are rewarded several times over, but if you do one bad act, you are punished. The tiny seed of one good act results in a gigantic tree, which provides us with fruit, shelter, fertilizer, etc. But at the same time, one negative act creates one punishment, but you never know when it will come back to you and strike. But be sure that it does come...sometimes like a tidal wave. This is the perfect principle of karma--its cause and effect. It is simple to understand, but very complicated in action and reaction. One act of a good deed will always cause a chain reaction of good effects, some of which may be seen immediately, and some which may be seen later. This yoga teaches you to develop your mind power which, according to Patanjal, has power beyond our imaginations, and if this technique is followed as described, then that immense power will be at our beck and call, to help ourselves and those who are ready to accept and follow these Patanjal yoga sutras. Letís clear up one suspicion about Patanjali yoga, which may come to mind. This yoga is a science of practice, and anyone who follows it may obtain the desired results. It is not hocus pocus or a bogus theory. It is based on practice and results--results which have been analyzed by the scientific communties of Europe and the United States. Time and again, these techniques have withstood the skepticism of the scientific world. This yoga end result of a life of dedication and practice by Patanjal, who was a great scholar and philosopher. He wrote three treatises: one on yoga, one on Sanskrit grammar, and one on medicine. All of his works are acclaimed by scientists and philosophers all over the world. He is the person who is called ďThe Father of Indian Yoga.Ē Later day philosophers developed other forms of yoga which are based on physical exercise. but Patanjal yoga deals primarily with meditation techniques which will strengthen body, soul and mind.
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