Patanjali's Yoga has essentially to do with the mind and its modifications. It deals with the training of the mind to achieve oneness with the Universe. Incidental to this objective are the acquisition of siddhis or powers.
These eight limbs are guidelines towards what we would con-temporarily deem a yogic lifestyle.
Maharshi Patanjali speaks about five yams — ahimsa, satya, asteya, brahmacharya and aparigraha.
Maharshi Patanjali has described five niyams or rules in his Yog Sutras of shauch, santosh, tapa, svaadhyaya and Ishwara pranidhan.
This, according to Maharshi Patanjali is the position where the body can remain motionless for a stipulated period. In this sutra, asanas are described with recommendations that they be held for as long as the body is comfortable and in a state of bliss. Change is recommended if the practitioner alternates between stability and instability, joy and sorrow.
The two words, pran and ayam convey the breath or life force and the stabilising or expanding of the pran. This inhalation and exhalation begins from birth and ends with death. One can do without food and water, but prana is essential for survival. By pranayama, one can expand the life force in one’s body.
Patanjali says our sense organs or indriyans make our mind fickle. In pratyahar, these organs are brought under control and unable to have contact with the mind. Their attention shifts from outward to inwards.
When due to pratyahar, the sense organs become introspective, they accept their objects by instinct. Dharana makes the mind concentrate inwards on a focal point or chakra. During dhaarna, the mind may wander, but the training lies in bringing back the mind to the same point. It involves binding the mind to instinct at a particular place.
According to Patanjali, when your instinct stays continuously at the place where dharma resides, it is called dhyan. During dhyan, no object of desire preoccupies the mind. Instead, thoughts and instincts that are related to a practitioner’
This is the stage when dhyan attains maturity and becomes perfect and is reached when the practitioner focuses solely on his objective and his physical existence becomes immaterial. Just as salt becomes one with water when dissolved in it, similarly, the amalgamation of the soul or atman and the mind or mann, results in samadhi.
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