Eight stages of Patanjali yoga — yoga philosophy
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Sage Patanjali thinking about human nature, about the potential of his spiritual growth systematically set out its observations in the form of aphorisms — Yoga Sutras. They convey the main points of yoga and its philosophy are known as the eight steps. Sometimes referred to eight branches of yoga or eight petals, as they are all connected and adjacent to each other like a lotus petals, forming one unit.
Yoga philosophy is ethical discipline (pit), the internal ethical standards (niyama), physical postures (asanas), breath control (pranayama), feelings of control and detachment from them (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana) and dive in bliss (samadhi).
Yama — ethics in daily life. Yama is a reminder to us of our responsibilities and obligations. They include five universal moral precepts (s): ahimsa — non-violence Satya — truthfulness, Asteya — not greed, brahmacharya — chastity, Aparigraha — reluctance.
So for ahimsa it requires an analysis of the actions that would stop all negative, destructive thoughts and actions and replaced by constructive as possible. Irritation, cruelty, anger — often these emotions incline to violence. They also contradict the principles of ahimsa, as well as deception and lies opposite to the principles of Sathya. Brahmacharya does not mean total abstinence, but assumes an orderly sex life, which contributes to the moral growth. Aparigraha means moderation in the acquisition and possession of all things, and not only of material such as food, clothing, and communication and friendship. Literally translated as «not clinging to everything around.»
Niyama — the second stage, it is the spiritual principles that we discipline: saucha — purity (as the cleanliness and purity of the mind — pure thoughts); Santosha — modesty, optimism, contentment with what you already have; tapas — hard work, self-discipline; svadhyaya — knowledge; isvara pranidhana — dedication, devotion to God.
These ethical standards are always with us and accompany us from the beginning to the end of our yogic journey. It should be remembered that the implementation of the human spirit is manifested in his actions in relation to others and in his dealings with them.
The third stage of yoga — is the practice of postures (yogasana). Asanas help to maintain the strength and. With their help, the body remains in harmony with nature. Everyone knows that the mind affects the body, we all know expressions such as «hang up his nose» or «lose heart». Yoga offers to try to do the opposite — to influence the mind through the body. Keep your head up, straighten your back, straighten shoulders — and you notice changes in your mind, mood and overall vitality. Work on the other by means of asanas — it is a way into our inner space, which we need to explore. In other words, with the help of asanas we form own mind.
The fourth stage of yoga — is breathing techniques, or pranayama ( «prana» — «life (or cosmic) energy», «Ayama» — «expansion», «increase»). The breath is the conductor of consciousness, therefore, slowing it down, watching him steadily and directing it, we tear off the attention from external desires. Breathing also calms the mind, and our energies are released and disengaged from the senses are directed inwards to the domestic search with even greater awareness. To start pranayama should be only when you have already mastered asanas.
The fifth stage of yoga — is the removal of the senses to the mind (pratyahara). Unfortunately, we are not entirely correct use their senses, memory and intelligence, releasing their powerful energy into the outside world where they are dispersed in everyday life. We remain in place and not moving either outside or inside, and it drains our energy. There is a more effective way, because if we will direct the work of the organs of perception inward, we get the control over the mind and test its peace and quiet. The ability to eliminate the fluctuations of the mind and achieve his silence, is important not only for the practice of meditation, but also to be more productive intuition and intelligence in everyday life.
The last three stages of yoga — concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana) and total absorption, integrity (samadhi) of Patanjali are united under the general definition of samyama. Samyama — a body integration, breathing, intellect (mind), and «I». Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi Yoga make up a crescendo.
The word «dharana» the easiest way to translate as «concentration», but we often poorly understand its meaning. For example, at school we all learn to be careful, but it is not the yogic concentration. The true concentration — is a continuous thread of awareness. Yoga gives us an opportunity with the help of will, intelligence, and overseeing a mind to get rid of the fluctuations of the mind and the senses outward direction. Here we are very helpful asanas. Here is a simple example of how the body operates in asana on our mind. If one leg is stretched too far, the other relaxes and falls, then we can either leave it as is, or restore the balance, while comparing the sensation in both legs and exerting willpower. Maintaining a balance so as not to lean back or forward, you can watch the knees, feet, skin, ankles, toes. Consciousness permeates the inside, it will be a continuous flow of concentration (dharana), which leads us to the realization that we own will can adjust and improve posture. And is it any wonder that to perfection in asana takes many years?
Dhyana — the seventh stage. The pace of modern life entails the inevitable stresses. By influencing the mind of these stresses it is very easy to rob us of peace of mind, arousing our anger, irritation, and desires, which, in turn, brings us to the emotional problem. And meditation is possible only when already achieved a certain degree is not subject to stress. This means that the brain has to be calm, cool and cold-blooded. Coping with stress starts with the development of brain relaxation techniques. Meditation, unfortunately, it does not. On the contrary, all this must be achieved both its base. In terms of accuracy and efficiency of true meditation in the yogic sense it is not possible for a person under stress, or for a person with a weak body, weak lungs, tense muscles, poor or deformed spine, scattered mind, experiencing anxiety or suffering from shyness and timidity.
Relaxation of the brain by means of asana, the third stage of yoga. We used to believe that the mind is in our heads. But in asanas consciousness spreads all over our body, penetrating into every cell, giving us full awareness. Negative thoughts are eliminated at the same time, the mind focuses on the body, intelligence and our consciousness as a whole. This increases the susceptibility of the brain, and the concentration becomes natural. Yoga teaches us to maintain cells of the brain into a relaxed, receptive and concentrated state. One must also remember that meditation (dhyana) is an integral part of yoga, not something separate. Yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi — all is the philosophy of yoga and meditation (meditative state) is accompanied by all of our actions.
Stress, which excites the brain, weakened by means of asanas and pranayama. The brain at the same time calms and reducing strain. Just saturate the entire body with energy when performing pranayama. To practice pranayama needed muscular and nervous force, concentration and perseverance, determination and patience. And all this is acquired in the practice of asanas. It calms the nerves and the brain, reduces the hardness and stiffness of the lungs and helps to maintain nerve health. When you reach unity in themselves, it is meditation.
Asanas and pranayama up training. They not only prepare our body, spine, and breath to the inner serenity, but asana, according to Patanjali, gives hardness and resistance to cold-blooded life among the vicissitudes of everyday life.
At the final stage of samadhi (union) individual «I» with all its attributes merges with the Divine «I», the Universal Spirit. Samadhi is usually described as the final liberation, liberation from the wheel of karma, cause and effect, action and counter-action.