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Sadhana Intensiv, 200t. fordypning i Yoga; filosofi og asana over et år

Neste “Lærerutdannelse”, som vi nå valger å kalle: Sadhana Intensiv, 200t. fordypning i Yoga; filosofi og asana med R. Alexander Medin holdes på Puro Yoga i Oslo, samt i Valdres på Nøsen: fra august 2017 til mai 2018;

7 – 11 august 2017 Puro Yoga i Oslo
15 – 17 september 2017 (Nøsen fjellhotell i Valdres, 2100.- ekstra i kost losji)
20 – 22 oktober 2017  (Nøsen fjellhotell i Valdres, 2100.- ekstra i kost losji)
11 – 19 mars 2018  (Nøsen fjellhotell i Valdres, 2100.- ekstra i kost losji)
13- 15 april 2018 (Nøsen fjellhotell i Valdres, 2100.- ekstra i kost og losji)
14- 18 mai 2018  Puro Yoga i Oslo

Klart for påmelding gjennom å betale påmeldingsavgiften 4000.- i vår webshop, ta deretter kontakt med resepsjon: karina@puroyoga.no el. tlf. 22123030 så registrerer Karina deg i deltagerlisten hvis du oppfyller kraven og forklarer hvordan du betaler resterende kursavgift mm. Betalingsfrist for kursavgiften, 22.000.- er før 1. august.

For de som ønsker å bli yoga lærere oppmuntrer vi først og fremst en solid selvdisiplin, kontinuitet i egenpraksis og en hengivenhet i å studere de klassiske tekster som finns om yoga. Når yoga har blitt mer forankret i enkeltindividet, er det lettere å dele med seg av personlige erfaringer på området en desillusjoner om hva yoga er eller burde være. Å vekke en ekte opplevelse av yoga i våre utøvere er derfor hovedfokus med dette kurset, ikke nødvendigvis å bli en instruktør. “Kallet” å instruere vil komme naturlig for den som ønsker det etter egen erfaring, ingen utdanning vil kunne skape det.
Dette kurset er utfordrende og tidskrevende på et fysisk og mentalt plan, men for de som er iherdige og jobber disiplinert vil en sann glede vekkes til liv i hjertet og nye klare perspektiver vokse fram i sinnet. Denne utdannelsen fokuserer fremfor alt på Ashtanga yoga som yogadisiplin. Det forventes at deltagerne har en godt etablert asana egenpraksis, dvs. daglig praksis i minst et par år.

Yoga kan være ufattelig komplisert, men også veldig enkelt. Akkurat som vår kropp og sinn, men gjennom en solid praksis og effektivt studie av de klassiske skrifter, blir det lettere å navigere mellom sinnets alle motpoler og vekke til liv et klarere perspektiv av hva som er ekte, stabilt og ikke forandelig.

Vår fysiske tilnærming følger den tradisjonelle formen av Asthtanga Yoga som ble finforedlet av Pattabhi Jois is Mysore, men vi vil også belyse områder av Myk Yoga og tradisjonell Hatha Yoga. De klassiske tekster vil bli diskutert på en grunnleggende måte og det forventes at alle studenter skriver fire stiloppgaver under kursets gang (mellom 2-3000ord), som belyser en viss innsikt i de klassiske tekster vi har studert og de praktiske temaer vi har forholdt oss til.

Det forventes at elevene har en god erfaring av yoga og har trent aktivt under minst 2-3 år. Vi har som mål at alle elever skal kunne fullføre Primary Series av Asthanga Yoga under kursets gang. Med tidligere erfaring, riktig veiledning og fokus vil det ikke by på større problemer.

Antall deltagere er satt til 22 elever.

Kursprisen er 26.000.-, hvorav 4000.- er en påmeldningsavgift (ikke refunderbar). Plus 2100.- ekstra ved Nøsen-helgene for kost/losji. Betales direkte til Alexander og Nøsenkontoen i forbindelse med helgene. Du kan også betale hele kursavgiften med en gang, inklusive påmeldingsavgiften gjennom å klikke deg inn under kurset: https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/ws?studioid=38987&stype=-101&sView=day&sLoc=0

For faglige spørsmål v.v. henvend dere direkte til R. Alexander Medin på mail: RAM@puroyoga.no,
For praktiske spørsmål v.v. kontakt Karina på Puro Yoga, dagtid mandag til onsdag: tlf. 22 12 30 30, el. mail: karina@puroyoga.no

En typisk dag på Sadhana Intensiv i Oslo:

06:00 – 06:30 Japa (Mantra resitasjon)
06:30 – 08:30 Āsana
08:30 – 09:15 Prāṇāyāma
09:15 – 09:50 Frokost
10:00 – 11:00 Sanskrit
11:15 – 12:30 Yogafilosofi
12:30 – 13:30 Lunsj
13:30 – 14:30 Yoga anatomi
14:45 – 16:00 Praktisk tilnærmelse og fordypning

En typisk dag på Sadhana Intensiv på Nøsen:

06:00 – 06:30 Japa (Mantra resitasjon)
06:30 – 08:30 Āsana
08:30 – 09:15 Prāṇāyāma
09:15 – 09:50 Frokost
10:00 – 11:00 Sanskrit
11:15 – 12:30 Yogafilosofi
12:30 – 13:30 Lunsj
16:30 – 17:30 Yoga anatomi
17:45 – 18:00 Praktisk tilnærmelse og fordypning
18:00 – 18:30 Meditasjon
19:00 – 20:00 Middag

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – An Overview (en del av pensum)

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is considered to be the greatest textual authority on Yoga. There are certainly many styles of Yoga out there, but whatever does not comply with Patanjali may find some difficulty in claiming weight and authority to their arguments. It is of the common belief that Patanjali was not the originator of the Yoga Sutras, but rather a compiler of an already existent tradition(s).

Historical accuracy of textual sources has never been a great forte in India, but modern scholarship has suggested the compilation of the Yoga Sutras could be either before the influence of the Buddha or after. Conflicting theories argues over whether the Buddha was influenced by the yogic tradition or vice versa, but it stands to reason to believe that the Buddha was engaged in yogic practices rather than the other way around?

A sutra is memory devices that summarize the philosophical thoughts of a particular school. All the philosophical schools of India are written in sutra forms that were to be memorized and learnt by heart for the preservation of the tradition. They were further expanded upon with a Bhasya, a commentary that explains the meaning of each sutra more thoroughly.

The classical definition of sutras is that: “they must be concise, unambiguous, meaningful, comprehensive, devoid of superfluous words and faultless.”

Patanjali divides his 196 aphorisms into four chapters discussing various practices on Yoga. The first chapter titled ‘Samadhi Pada’ is for the ‘samahita-citta’ those of a composed mind that are receptive to the subtle practices of yoga which requires high levels of concentration. In the second chapter titled ‘Sadhana Pada’ are practices for the ‘vyutthita citta’ those of a distracted mind that stand in needs of more radical practices to pierce the distractive layers of physical and mental ignorance that covers the inner soul of man. Here is also found the traditional eightfold path to Yoga, where the practitioner is suggested to develop each step firmly in order for the highest realization of Yoga to become manifest. The third chapter discuss the various Siddhis, perfection one may achieve from the practice of Yoga and the final chapter investigate into the state of liberation.

There are five main commentators that have expanded further upon the meaning of all the sutras. Vyasa being the foremost followed by Vacaspati Mishra and Vijnana Bhiksu. The two more recent ones are Bhoja and Hariharananda Aranya.

Let it be known that the sutras by themselves are by no means easy to comprehend and the help of the commentators are paramount to get a deeper understanding of the subject. But here as an easy introduction and an overview of Classical Yoga here a simple summary of the sutras follow:

Samadhi Pada
After informing us about the commencing of an inquiry into Yoga Patanjali gives us the classical definition: ‘Yoga is the cessation/restraint of the fluctuations of the mind’. All the fluctuations of the mind, the fabric as well as the essence of it are constituents of the three Gunas, subtle patterns of Matter, Prakrti. What is different to that is Spirit, Purusha, that which cause an observation of Prakrti, Nature (i.e. the Mind) These two eternal principles gets bound into a mutual pattern and the goal of Yoga is to separate the two so the inner Seer can finally abide in its own Self rather than suffer the constant changes of Prakrti.

This Classical work of Yoga is therefore a descriptive work on what the Seer (Purusha) as well as what Nature (Prakrti) really consist of and how to create equilibrium within the mind while the Seer is observing the endless changes of Matter (Prakrti). We are therefore given a detailed account on how they work in unison as well as what happens to both when they are isolated in their respective nature.

The fluctuations of the mind may be restrained with Practice and Dispassion. Both are of equal importance and when a mastery of them both is achieved a gradual home-coming to Yoga will being. The mind is subject to positive afflictions or negative afflictions, the goal of Yoga is to be caught up in neither, but engage in various practices that may dissolve the afflictions all together. Yoga is of two types, the final goal of liberation from the fluctuations of the mind, but also the various practices we engage with in order to reach this final goal. Patanjali also says our interest for Yoga may begin as a philosophical inquiry into the nature of the Self, then be supported further by reasoning and a greater longing to know what is real and less-real. The sign of progress is an awakened sense of Joy flowing from within culminating in the realization of ones inmost spiritual nature.

There final goal of Yoga = Samadhi is of two types. Samprajnata Samadhi, that which takes support of a seed, or another for its realization and Asamprajnata Samadhi where there is no experience of any other (no external support) apart from the one realization of Luminous Spirit.

For those who have not yet reached the first step of Samadhi it may be preceded by faith, greater energy, clarity of mind and a true awakening to wisdom. It may manifest quickly for those of a keen intellect, but it is also dependent on the seekers mild, middle or intense nature.

The state of Yoga is always present within us despite the many layers of ignorance clouding our mind. A greater experience of Yoga may therefore equally be attainted through many other means then mere analytical mind control. Patanjali lists out eight other qualifying factors that may equally awaken the inner receptivity of Yoga. They are listed according to the following hierarchy.

God
Cultivation a certain mental disposition towards other people (like: Friendliness towards the happy, compassion towards the miserable, joy towards the virtuous and indifference towards the wicked.)
A proper inhalation and exhalation of the life force (prana).

Focusing on the higher sense-activities appearing in the mind.

Concentrating on the effulgence of the heart free of any sorrow.

A complete desirelessness for any object.

Concentrating on knowledge conveyed in dream or sleep and making that an object of study.

Simply meditating on ones own chosen preference.

God or Ishvara is the only subject Patanjali chooses to expand upon. He tells us how greater mental stability may come about from a total surrender to God, who is an indistinct Purusha (super soul), untouched by the many operations of karma and their fruition. In him the seed of omniscience is not succeed and he is the teacher of all previous teachers, unlimited by time and the sacred syllable OM is his expression. One is therefore suggested to repeat it and contemplate on its meaning. This practice may awaken the inert realization of Individual Consciousness (pure spirit) as well as a diminishing of its covering obstacles. The covering obstacles that cause distraction and diversion to the mind are: disease, laziness, indecisiveness, carelessness, indolence, sensuality, wrong perception, incapability of grasping the point and instability. What inevitably follows when one gives into these distractions are pain, despair, trembling and agitated inhalation and exhalation. However they may be counteracted by the practice or habituation to one truth which may be developed further from the following seven practices listed out.

The inherent power of spirit is inherent in all the operations of the mind so let the practitioner therefore focus on whatever he feel drawn to. If the practice is consistent sincerer it is bound to produce beneficial results. The power of consciousness/spirit is present everywhere from the minutest particle up to the largest and whatever object of concentration the Seer focus the mind upon, greater stability of mind may be brought about.

According to Practice and Dispassion, the fluctuations of the mind will gradually loose its fixed patterns and a greater immersion (Samapatti) may occur for the mind in whatever object of concentration it is engaged in. First on a gross level and then gradually into more and more subtle elements of nature until the mind becomes the object itself as it were and during this immersion appear void of its own fluctuation nature. The journey is from the conceptual to the non-conceptual and the peak of the Prakrti inquiry is where the eternal manifestations of Nature, although in its most subtle un-manifest form (Pradhana) no longer projects itself upon the Seer, but the two remain separate in their respective natures.

Nature (Prakrti), constitute everything that fluctuates and transforms. Spirit (Purusha) is constant and remains stable at all times. The greater discrimination between the two is hence a gradual process of refinement from the gross to the subtle. In the highest state of Samadhi there are therefore two distinctions. The firs is where the purity of Consciousness is supported by another (Sabija Samadhi) i.e. identification with the most subtle realm of thought patterns (Prakrti). The second is where there is no identification with the most subtle realms of Sattva, Rajas or Tamas, (Nirbija Samadhi) the meditative state reaches its peak and becomes fixed as it were in its own spiritual essence. There great wisdom overflows because it is the firm support of all that there is. Its objectivity of perception is different to normal perception, because it refers to the essence of the particular. No new samskaras (subliminal patterns) will be born from this state, because the sequential cause and effect of Nature no longer applies. So when there is a complete Nirodha even in this state, purity of spirit shines out in its own state free of any identification with the transformations of Nature and is hence established in its very own Self.

Sadhana Pada, Practial Application
The second chapter lists out the practical tools required to bring about greater stability of mind. Acts of purification, Self-study and total surrender to the Lord are the initial practices that may facilitate a greater receptivity to Spirit and make Yoga possible. The essence of Spirit can never be changed or manipulated, what is needed is merely to remove the coverings that prevent it from being seen or experienced more clearly. The major afflictions that layers themselves on top of Spirit and clouds its pure-view is the identifications with patterns of the mind born out of Ignorance, Egoism, Attachment, Aversion and Clinging to Life. Ignorance about the essence of our true nature is the breathing grounds for all the others. It may be dormant, minimized or fully operative, but as long as it exists it continues to obstruct the purity of seeing. These subtle afflictive patterns of the mind can only be destroyed when their root cause is being destroyed and this is cultivated by greater discrimination and meditation. As long as our inmost nature is covered by ignorance, the patterns or nature attached to the soul will accumulate new karmas and manifest in future activities, moments, patterns, lives. All activities born of Nature may result in an experience of pleasure or pain due to the universal law of cause and effect that operate, must be absolutely just and is further fueled by merit and demerit. But every experience born of Nature can ultimately only be suffering to the discriminative person due to the constant change and opposition born of the three Gunas. What is therefore to be avoided is pain not-yet-come, born out of the ever changing patterns of Nature. The sole remedy for this suffering is thus the purity of discrimination between the seer and the seen (Purusha and Prakrti). Let us now investigate into the distinction between the two.

Whatever is seen or experienced is of the nature of illumination, activity or inertia, the flux of the three Gunas, and it has enjoyment and deliverance for its objects. The Seer is purity of seeing only and whatever he cognizes is presented to him from the senses born of Nature. Everything that exists is for the purpose of his deliverance, but once emancipation comes Nature still continues to operate for the non-liberated souls.

The conjunction (Samyoga) between the Seer and the Seen is what causes ignorance on behalf of the Seer, but once the discriminative factor is cultivated between that which is experienced and the purity of being, ignorance may gradually be removed and purity of seeing only remains – free from any stains of Nature. The awakening to this inner wisdom may be gradual, but through the practice of the eight limbs of yoga, when a destruction of the misidentifications/impurities takes place, the light of wisdom may eventually culminate in true discriminative knowledge.

Yamas are restraints to be followed for the avoidance of negative influence of karmas causing a disturbance to the inner seer.

Niyamas are personal observances in order to purify ones own karmas and make the inner seer more receptive to its own radiant nature.

Asanas are physical exercises to diminish the opposing forces of duality and bring about a greater integration to spirit.

Pranayama is restraining the breath for greater clarity of internal seeing so the fixed patterns of Nature may further minimize their impact on the seer. When practiced properly the coverings of the inner light are destroyed and the mind will be more fit for concentration.

Pratyahara is a further internalization of this process, where the senses no longer come into contact with their external objects but rather instigate the true nature of the mind, resulting in the highest control of the senses and greatest possible outlook for the further inquiry into the essence of mind and that which supports it.

Vibhuti Pada, Manifestations of Power
When a practitioner has become firmly rooted in the first five limbs of Yoga he is ready for the last three limbs called Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. Dharana is the capability to center and concentrate the mind in one place free from disturbing fluctuations. When this concentrated focus flows uninterrupted it is called DhyanaSamadhi is when all fluctuations of the mind finally cease and the mind becomes empty as it were of its own identification, the focus of concentration will appear clearer in its own objective essence. Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are intimately connected and when they operate as one it is called Samyama (joint-restraint). When these are mastered properly the inner realm of Wisdom shines forth. Samyama however is to be applied in all the fields of activity and concentration, but naturally it may manifest according to levels of capability. To know Yoga a little better therefore requires that one engages in the lower limbs of Yoga so the higher limbs may reveal themselves. Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are indeed more subtle and more intimately connected than the first five limbs, but even this state is external to the final state of Seedless Samadhi. In that state, any identification with the mind cease and Purity of Consciousness is all that remains.

The journey to greater clarification of the mind may be divided into three stages of transformation. The first stage (Nirodha Parinama), momentary restraints of the mind is experienced in a concurrence, as if the outgoing and restrained patterns of the mind disappear and appear respectively. What flows forth will be according to ones Samskaras (subliminal activators) and as these get checked greater clarity will manifest. The second stage (Samadhi Parinama) is where the broad all-consuming, all-absorbing nature of the mind gets minimized and one-pointed-ness will rise forth. The final stage (Ekagrata Parinama) is where the fluctuations of the mind become balanced and the cognitive rising and subsiding patterns of the mind are harmonized. The mind then becomes fit to perceive itself as the dual component of the Seer and the Seen and will gradually be free from the overpowering disturbing patterns overwhelming it.

The mind may be seen as an object of concentration or an instrument of perception. What both have in common are the apparent characteristics, secondary qualities as well as various conditions that continue to reveal themselves in the mind according to ones capability and discrimination.

As ones clarity of concentration develops, the Dharmi, the one in possession of all characteristics, qualities and conditions undergoes a transformation and a deeper refinement takes place in ones association with Prakrti. The subtle patterns of thought perception are refined as well as once capability to receive the objects of perception. From this certain Siddhis, perfections may come about, where one may learn to master elements of Nature due to ones understanding of their inherent powers. Patanjali therefore lists out 31 different Siddhis that may come about from deep Samyama (concentration) on various aspects of Nature. However, great caution is also given, because all of these perfections are born of the three Gunas, the outgoing objective mind and they may cause distractions to the inward contemplative mind that seeks freedom from the bondage of Nature and not further entrapping within it. But finally to he/she who can eventually recognize the distinction between Pure Spirit and Pure Objective existence may come the supremacy over all states of being and omniscience. And from complete dispassion even towards that, when all the seeds of Karmic germination have been destroyed the state of Kaivlaya, complete freedom may eventually appear.

Kaivalya Pada, Inquiry into freedom/isolation
The Siddhis, super normal powers may manifest within a person due to previous births, taking of herbs, repetitions of mantras, engaging in Tapas or prolonged state of Samadhi. When there is transformation into other life states it is due to the inherent power of Nature (Prakrti). Nature is full of infinite potential and according to its patterning it will continue to operate although its external appearance may change. The cause of this potency of Nature is not set in motion by any external force, but it continues to transform and operate due to its internal patterns and will pierce any obstacles in its way. Virtuous acts foster greater virtue and ignorant acts will foster further ignorance. Causes like virtue and ignorance etc. do not bring Nature into play, but are the effect of interactions with Nature that brings about certain results.

What we identify with as ‘I am’ stems from fabricated patterns of Nature being reflected to a conscious being. But although consciousness is being reflected in many different minds simultaneously due to difference in Nature, One mind is the director of the many, like one sun sheds its rays on the manifestations of Nature and then draws its rays back at the end of the day. Once source of consciousness operates within the manifold of Nature and continues to reflect itself in its many manifestations until the inherent transformative qualities of Nature is exhausted and takes on a different form.

A created mind will always operate according to its conditions, subliminal impacts from previous experience and subliminal imprints from Nature. However a mind that has developed the discrimination of seeing and is able to discern between the purity of seeing and whatever seen, eventually ceases to accumulate further Karmas (continuation of the patterns of Nature) because the afflictions stemming from ignorance and accumulating further patterns of virtue or vice cease to exist. The Karmas of a Yogi (a realized soul) is therefore neither white nor black. For other people it is threefold. According to intention it may be white, black or any shade of grey in between. Nobody can escape the patterns of Karma because the subtle patterns of Nature always play itself out due to the symbiosis of the three Gunas that are in constant transformation. The real Nature of the Gunas can never be seen, but we see the endless chain of cause and effect that presents itself to a conscious being. These patterns appear in an un-interrupted sequence of transformation and due to the inherent self-awareness in all beings (may I live, may I succeed in what I do etc.), these patterns are eternal and are held together by cause, result, substratum and supporting objects. However these patterns may disappear when these four operating factors disappear.

The past and future are in reality always present in their fundamental forms, what differs is the characteristics of the forms taken at different times. A cause can therefore only bring forth to the present what is already in existence. It can never produce something non-existence. So only the present, i.e. an existing cause can bring out an effect in its present perceptible form, but it can never produce anything non-existent. Whatever is existent has certain characteristics, although in constant flux, they must be present at all times, manifest and subtle and held together by the three Gunas. The three Gunas operate in a well coordinated mutation, its essence can never be seen, but an object although in constant change, appears as a unit. Although the essence of these external objects is the same, due to diversity of minds their appearances produce different impressions and their external objects therefore vary. But whatever objects perceived are not dependent on one mind, they exist separate to the mind, and when the mind experiences a state of Nirodha, the objects still remains the same, but the nature of the seer change. External objects of the mind may be known or unknown depending on how they are being presented to the mind. The mind is therefore also transformative, but on account of the inner seer, the Purusha, something within the mind always remains constant and is merely the Pure Witness of all operations and sense impressions of the mind that present themselves to the Seer.

Because this mind is a knowable object it can never be self luminous but requires a seer in order to be seen. The seer and the seen, Prakrti and Purusha can therefore never be perceived simultaneously, but are dependent on each other to be fully experienced, manifest in their respective Nature. They appear as interdependent although they are two separate identities. The Purity of Seeing, Consciousness, takes on the similarity of Buddhi (the intelligence of Nature) and although pure in itself appears as the cause of the consciousness filtered through Buddhi – that is subject to sequential change being a constituent of Prakrti. The mind is therefore affected by both the Seer and the Seen. It becomes colored by whatever thought impressions presented to it, it appears to be both subject and object, but in reality it is only an object. It is unconscious, but appears to be conscious due to the proximity of Purusha. It operates like a crystal, reflecting the Pure Consciousness of Purusha and then creates for itself the identity of I am, pretending to be all-comprehending. The ignorant therefore regard the mind as a conscious entity, when in reality it is only made visible from the light emanating from the Purusha. What cognizes the objects of the mind is therefore Purusha, but this Seer becomes colored by the fluctuations of the mind which is different to the purity of seeing. Because the mind acts in this dual combination of the Seer and the Seen and is a conglomeration of previous subconscious impressions (vasanas) that are presented to the Seer, it must exist for another; the Purusha, the sole seer, which is different to all the assembled parts of the mind and merely observes. Every activity, knowledge, wisdom acquired by the mind is therefore not for the mind itself, but rather to gradually facilitate the liberation of the Seer to be established in its own nature. To the Seer of this distinction (Purusha and Prakrit are separate), an inquiry into the further nature of his self ceases, because he becomes the Self and no longer identifies with the fluctuations of mind originating in Prakrti. The mind thus gradually looses its attachment to the experience of the object of the senses and ignorance about the Nature of the Seer is gradually removed. The mind takes a new turn and thus eventually looses the attachment to the object of the senses and becomes inclined to greater discriminative knowledge leading towards the state of liberation.  However in the intervals of this procedure, thoughts from previous impressions will arise where the I, the Conscious Seer still identifies with objects (patterns of thought). The removal of these afflictions (thought patterns) has been described with reference to the active practices of Yoga (Sadhana Pada).

When eventually the Seer becomes disinterested in even the highest omniscient aspect of the mind and is rather consistent in its discrimination, it will attain the concentration known as the Cloud pouring virtue (Dharma-Megha-Samadhi). In that state all afflictions arising due to ignorance cease. When the mind-stuff, thus freed from all impurities covering the Seer, knowledge of the objects may be limitless, but what appear to be knowable is but little. When thus the Gunas have fulfilled their objective purpose and revealed their identity to the Seer, the sequential transformation of the Gunas cease. What we perceive as a moment is in reality nothing but an un-interrupted sequence of transformations within Nature (the 3 Gunas).The distinction of this eternal sequence may finally cease when the transformations cease. This eternal sequence is noticeable in two ways. What is eternally changing and what is eternally unchanging. Purusha, being of the Nature of the later therefore observes the eternal changes within Prakrti. The essence of both can never really be disturbed, but their conjunction may finally be separated and seen in their respective identity. And let it once again be known that it is only the modifications of the Gunas that undergoes sequence, noticeable in the Buddhi, Ego etc, but when these transformations come to an end Purusha is experienced as distinct, Prakrti remains in its eternal state of transformation, but Purusha is no longer intertwined with it. The highest state of being established in ones own Nature is therefore realized when the Gunas, who were providing the sequence of experience and liberation for Purusha, are without any further objectives to fulfill and disappear into their causal substance. What then manifest is the power of Consciousness being manifest in its own Self.

Thus concludes the summary of the Yoga Sutras.

 

Hatha Yoga Pradipika (en del av pensum)

Hatha Yoga Pradipika is one of the foremost texts on Hatha Yoga. It is divided into four chapters, covering: Asana, Pranayama, Mudra and Samadhi. The author of the text is Svatmarama.

This name may be allegorical: Svatmarama basically means “one who delights in his own Self/Atman”. Thus the reader may wonder if the writer changed his name to allude to the true benefits of Yoga or if it was a name he was given after realizing the greatest benefit of Yoga. Suffice it to say, the text is a sincere attempt to document the various practices of Hatha Yoga together with the many benefits that may come from the practice.

An important feature of the text is that Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga are not considered separate entities, one of a physical nature and the other spiritual, but, rather, an integrated whole, both dependent upon each other for the essence of Yoga to be realized. Raja Yoga is mere theory unless embodied and practically understood whilst the practice of Hatha Yoga is fixed in the corporal sphere unless a deeper integration of spirit is infused into it. We can only speculate about the deeper philosophical inclinations of Svatmarama – whether he was a hired scribe or a person of great insight – but it is noteworth to observe that the various practices he lists – Asanas, Pranayamas, and Mudras – are all for the realization of the Brahma within. When the mind is finally exhausted from its identification with Knowledge and knowable objects, the atman – the soul – is all that remains. Then there is no longer any duality in the working mind and the soul may shine through in its own unobstructed essence.

As long as there is life force in the body, the mind will fluctuate and operate according to patterns. These patterns may be restrained, however, by first learning to sit comfortably in various postures, then by restraining the patterns of the breath gradually. By internalizing this process until Prana (the life breath) flows into the middle channel (Sushumna) all external associations of the senses will be pacified. The final stages in the surrender of the mind involve awakening the inner hearing of various subtle sounds until all association with them finally lapses. When that happens the mind is finally free from all subtle layers of bondage and all its associations will drop away.

Although known as the ultimate textbook on Hatha Yoga, there are many discrepancies when it comes to the actual practice and their promised result. Like many of the other textbooks on Yoga, a clear description of concepts such as Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Kundalini and the Nadanusandhana are lacking. Instead, the text stresses the importance of a proper Guru from whom to learn the various exercises. Without the favor of the Guru, these exercises cannot be utilized to their full potential. The true meaning of Yoga is not something that can be gained from mere reading of textbooks, but must rather come from personal experience that may be awakened under the grace of a guru.

Svatmarama claims to belong to the same lineage as the famous Goraksha and Mastyendra and traces this lineage through 31 teachers back to Lord Shiva himself. The date of the text has been established by modern scholarship to be somewhere between the 13th and 15th centuries. Below is a list with a brief overview of each chapter.

Chapter 1 lists the names and descriptions of the asanas along with proper dietary habits that support the practice.

Chapter 2 explains Pranayama: the effects it has on the mind and the nadis (patterns of energy). Also introduced are the Six Karmas (acts of purification) which are preparatory exercises for the practice.

Chapter 3 explains the 10 different Mudras.

Chapter 4, the final chapter, discusses Samadhi, laya and Nada and the four stages of greater integration.
Note: There is some speculation as to whether Svatmarama actually had deeper experience of his topic or whether he was merely a hired scribe compiling a system. However, Yoga was traditionally conveyed through a lineage from teacher to student. Some of the more obscure passages are in keeping with the tradition of preserving the secrecy of the true meaning of Yoga (1.11). This tradition may perhaps have evolved to preserve the potency of the practice in a world of triviality.

Chapter 1: Injunctions on how to perform Asanas

Certain principles are given for the successful outcome of the practice of Asanas. After descriptions of the proper place of practice, te author then advises us on 6 negative and 6 positive behaviours which each respectively diminish or cultivate greater success in Yoga. The 6 causes that make a yoga practice futile are (1.15):
1. Over-eating

2. Over-exertion

3. Talking too much

4. Severe austerities

5. Public contact

6. Fickleness of mind

1. Enthusiasm

2. Courage

3. Perseverance

4. Proper understanding

5. Determination

6. Avoiding excessive contact with people

Here, as well as in many other Yoga texts, it is a 6 limb practice that begins with Asana. The stress is placed on cultivation of practical exercises but the Yamas and Niyamas are not be abolished altogether: they act as a grounding influence to make the mind receptive to Yoga within the postures. Some manuscripts of HYP include Yamas and Niyamas whilst others do not. In copies that do, these (Yamas and Niyamas) are each 10 in number:
Yamas (1.17)Ahimsa

2. Truth

3. Non-stealing

4. Continence

5. Forgiveness

6. Endurancec

7. Compassion

8. Meekness

9. Sparing diet

10. Cleanliness Niyamas (1.18)

Tapas

2. Patience

3. Belief in God

4. Charity

5. Adoration of God

6. Hearing discourses on the doctrine of religion

7. Shame

8. Intellect

9. Japa

10. Yajna

All manuscripts do agree upon the purpose of Asanas: “It is the first limb of Hatha Yoga and Asanas are therefore described first. I should be practiced for steadiness of posture, health and lightness of body.” (1.17 or 1.19, depending on the edition). The rich traditions of postures originating from the sages are merely referred to and only 15 are mentioned in total. Four of them are considered to be the most important ones, namely: Siddhasana, Padmasana, Simhasana, and Bhadrasana (1.36). A clear description is given for all the postures mentioned along with respective benefits.

In addition, the author also suggests that they should be complemented with practice of Mudras for proper cleansing of the Nadis to take place. Close attention to Nada is also suggested together with proper observation of food patterns and curbing the senses in general. In short, food is to be taken moderately. It should be well cooked, supplemented with ghee and sweets, and always offered up to the Lord Shiva. Food that may be disturbing to the practice is described as: bitter, sour, salty, or hot. Also mentioned are: too many green vegetables, sour gruel oil, mustard and sesame. Consumption of alcohol, fish, meat, yoghurt, buttermilk, plums, oil-cakes, asafetida, garlic, onion, etc. are also said to be bad for the Hatha Yogi (1.61).

Anyone, young, old, sick or lean, may of course take to the practice of Hatha Yoga, but eliminating laziness is the common criteria for all. What is considered most important is to engage in the practice. Success in Yoga is not merely achieved by reading authentic texts, wearing particular clothing, nor engaging in endless debate. Practice alone is what brings success culminating in the final goal of Raja Yoga (1.66-1.69).

Chapter 2: Injunctions on how to perform Pranayama

Instruction from a proper Guru is of paramount importance to the practice of Pranayama. Svatmarama explains how disturbance in the mind may be related to disturbances in the breath and how learning to restrain the latter may bring about greater steadiness of mind. As long as the vital air (5 pranas) operates within the body, there is life. When they cease to, there is death. A restraint of the breath is therefore necessary to gain a greater experience of that which lies beyond and is free from the effect of the senses. The practice of Pranayama is geared towards purifying the Nadis – all the nerve patterns – so that the Prana can ultimately pass through the Sushumna, the middle channel, and then awaken the practitioner to his/her true identity – which is beyond name and form.

The first method listed is alternate nostril breathing. This is gradually supplemented with the practice of Kumbhakas (retentions), but caution is given so the practitioner does bring about his own ruin:
“Just as lions, elephants and tigers are controlled by degrees, similarly the breath is to be controlled gradually, otherwise it may kill the practitioner. By proper practice of Pranayama, all disease are eradicated, but an improper practice gives rise to all sorts of disease.” (2.15-16)

Great care should therefore be taken when one engages in Pranayama practice. First and foremost a good grounding in the practice of postures is expected. In order to awaken the more subtle patterns of the breath Svatmarama optionally suggests that Six Karmas* be performed for the removal of phlegm, constipation, and the general sluggishness that cause disturbance to the mind and nervous system. These are:

6 Karmas (Shat Karmas)
Dhauti

2. Basti

3. Neti

4. Trataka

5. Nauli

6. Kapalabhati
*However, some Acharyas (teachers) claim Pranayama practice in itself is sufficient to cleanse the body of its impurities (2.37).

The main purpose of Pranayama is to: 1) rid the practitioner of the fear of death, 2) to purify the Nadis, and 3) to cause the breath to enter the Sushumna. The state of Manonmani – steadiness of mind – is then brought about. The accomplishment of this may be brought about by the practice of Retention (Khumbhakas). These Khumbhakas are to be practiced together with the 3 bandhas. Eight kinds of Khumbhaka are listed:
Khumbhakas:
Surya Bhedana

2. Ujjayi

3. Sitkari

4. Shitali

5. Bhastrika

6. Bhramari

7. Murcha

8. Plavini
The highest essence of Pranayama practice is known as Kevala Kumbhaka: a complete and spontaneous cessation of breath where no effort of inhalation or exhalation is needed. This is only mastered by the most capable yogis and gives a direct experience of Raja Yoga.

In this chapter we are also reminded that Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga are mutually dependent on each other in order to bring about the highest result. No success can be attained in either without the proper practice of both.
The sign of progress in Hatha Yoga is defined as:
“When the body becomes lean, the face glows with delight, the inner sound is manifest and the eyes are bright, there is freedom from disease, bindu is under control and the digestive fire is strong, then one should know that the Nadis are purified and success in Hatha Yoga is approaching.” (2.78)

Chapter 3: The Exposition of the Mudras
The aim of all Yogic practices is to awaken the dormant Kundalini power. She is said to be the support of all the Tantra and Yoga practices. When she is awakened – through the grace of a Guru – all the centers and knots (the different charkas) are pierced through by Prana. When the middle channel (Sushumna) becomes the main pathway for Prana it is said that the mind becomes free from all the connections with its objects of enjoyment and death is surpassed. (2.1-

The final goal of Yoga is therefore not enjoyment of this world or even the world to come but freedom from transmigration. What is to be awakened is the inner receptivity to a life force within. This force is not simply mere association with the senses but an internalized refinement which may bring about an awakening to this mystic power.

The practice, which starts from the gross with Asanas and Pranayama, now moves to the subtle realm of sealing or locking (Mudra) the energy from within. The text states clearly that the main purpose of all the 10 Mudras is solely to awaken the Kundalini.

Three most common Mudras:
Uddiyana Bandha

2. Mula Bandha

3. Jalanddhara Bhandha
The other 7 Mudras:
Maha Mudra

2. Maha Bandha

3. Maha Vedha

4. Khechari

5. Viparita Karani

6. Vajroli

7. Shakti Chalana
These Mudras are advised to be kept secret like a box of jewelry and are best conveyed under the grace of a Guru.

The serpent power Kundalini is said to be the key to open the door of Mukti (liberation) through the practice of Hatha Yoga. She is said to be asleep at the entrance, blocking the pathway to the realization of Brahman, and therefore needs to be caught hold of and spurred to enter Sushumna so that Prana may enter the this middle path and pierce the energy centers. This piercing will bring about internal awakening.

When the bandhas become strong and one’s energy is no longer dissipated towards external objects, the practice of Bastrkas is said to be the quickest way to awaken this dormant power. Once Kundalinni enters, Prana will follow and success is sure to follow for the Yogi. However, great care must still be taken to avoid a fall from grace. Consistent practice is to be followed until the final goal of Raja Yoga is reached.
Note: According to the text there are 72,000 nadis (energy patterns) in the body. Only the awakening of the Kundalni can remove their impurities.

Chapter 4: The signs of Samadhi
There are many definitions of Samadhi, among them surpassing of death and conferral of eternal happiness, but none can do justice to the actual experience. This text lists 3 definitions of Samadhi: 1) “When the Atma and mind become one”; 2) “when the prana becomes dissolved and the mind becomes absorbed”; and finally 3) “when al impulses to be anything just cease and there is the equality and oneness of self and super-self”. (4.5 – 4.7)

The main focus of the practitioner is therefore not to hoard knowledge in the realm of the senses, but rather to dissolve the operating patterns of the mind until the inner essence of it is all that remains. The two ’causes’ of the mind are said to be: 1) the operating life force (prana) and 2) its operating vasanas (subliminal impressions). The destruction of one will lead to the destruction of the other. Proper restraint of the breath is the quickest way to utilize this process. When the breath is controlled, the mind will also be controlled since hoth influence each other (4.21 -4.23). The mind is unruly and unsteady by nature, but once the subtle patterns of the breath that cause the fluctuations of the mind are stilled, nothing is impossible.

The four-fold division of greater integration from within takes place in the following order:
Restraint of the external senses – paramount to greater clarity of mind.

2. Breath is the master of the mind – once proper restraint of it is practiced, greater clarity of mind may shine forth.

3. Laya – a deeper inner immersioni is master of the breath.

4. Nada – the world of inner sound.

The 2 final states of Laya and Nada are both beyond the power of speech and action since the normal laws of sense activity no longer apply. Here external objects lose their impact because the motivation for the contact with them ceases and the mind is drawn in with greater absorption into that which is fixed – the world of Brahman (4.33).

The state of Nadanusandhanam, internalized sound, is also divided into 4 stages (Arambha, Ghata, Paicaya and Nispatti). This progression of sound within the Sushumna proceeds from the gross to the subtle as the sound becomes more delicate and eventually silent. As this occurs, it becomes easier to restrain the mind from its constant wanderings and instead surrender it to the supreme divinity from within (4.100). As long as sound is present the concept of being within space exists. The soundless state where nothing is heard or experienced is the world wherein only Brahman remains. What is heard are subtle manifestations of Shakti, but the Ultimate reality is formless. That alone is the state of Brahma. All methods of Hatha Yoga nad Laya Yoga seek to climb this highest peak of Raja Yoga – where the inner soul of man merges with the Creator of the world.

Again, no explicit instruction to various of the practices is given. The inner mystical union comes from the grace of the Guru. However, the truth of these practices are to be taken to heart as seeds planted in the field of dedicated practice and further nourished with the water of dispassion. Then the creeper Unnmani will thrive from within, leading the practitioner to the gradual immersion in Samadhi (4.104). In these final stages of Samadhi, no contact the senses are experienced and the practitioner is neither aware of himself nor others. He is neither conscious nor unconscious. He is simply liberated from all contact with “another” and verily becomes Brahma himself. However, until this state if finally realized, all talk about the knowledge of Yoga is but “wild ramblings of mad men”. The final verse of the text thus concludes:
“As long as the moving Prana has nto entered the middle path (Sushumna Nadi), and until the Bindu has not become steady by the harmonizing of the Prana-vata, and until the Supreme Reality does not manifest itself in the effortlessness of meditation, until then, all talk about the knowledge of Yoga is nothing but the mad ramblings of mad men.” (4.114)

So, let us not delude ourselves in thinking that we have understood the “essence” of Yoga. Yoga is not bound by the limited scope of our understanding. All our efforts to define it may bring us closer or yet further away from the true meaning of Yoga. Our senses may fluctuate according to our disposition, but in the midst of the wild flights of the mind, Yoga remains the same – if only we are able to see it!
R. Alexander Medin

 

Who is a Yogi?

In our popular times it is quite common to call oneself a Yogi if one attends regular Yoga classes. In ancient India it was a title bestowed upon a man who could see through the veil of mortal existence, had realized the highest truth from within and had supernatural powers when it came to controlling his body/mind organism.

The explosive interest in Yoga over the recent years is indeed a fascinating phenomenon. Yoga has gone mainstream; it is packaged, sold and promises everything from greater flexibility, better mind-control, improved health, general feel good, to supernatural powers and improved sex life! Not to wonder Yoga makes the headlines all over the world today?

But could there be a flip side to the tremendous growth and interest of Yoga all around? When the great demands outstrip supply, what happens to the source it all came from? Has the goals of Yoga changed when many of the so-called Yogis are busy touring the world giving one-week teacher training courses, in between press-conferences and product launches, promoting the many benefits of their particular style of Yoga. Their names are all over so hey, of course they must be really good at what they are doing!? But inevitably, there comes a time when the common man start to educate himself and start asking: ‘What is actually going on here? Is the Yoga being taught by the so-called Yogis really Yoga or is it mere sensationalism’?

This article tries to ask some questions about the state of Yoga as well as the state of a Yogi. What are the characteristics given in some of the Classical texts? I will primarily refer to sections from the Bhagavad Gita, but also briefly cover some passages from the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and Yoga Sutras.

There are not straightforward answers to ‘What is Yoga’, the main reason being that it is practiced and defined in numerous ways, but whoever calls themselves a Yogi should in principle have some realization of the state of Yoga from within. Now in order to give justice to Yoga we cannot bypass the Classical tradition Just because somebody is hip, cool and trendy and call themselves a Yogi are we to blindly follow what they say? Especially when some of these ‘Yogis’ have new so-called ‘Yogis’ graduate from their
One-week intensive Teachers Training courses, with almost no prior experience of yoga, but with a gung-ho desire to start teaching! Naturally one may be wondering what kind of Yoga they will actually be teaching.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe diversity is good, because it challenges us to be more specific about what we are actually doing, but there has to be a level of certain adaptability to the principles of a subject (and a further consolidation of it), if we are ever to claim we are doing justice to it.

Anybody can pick up an instrument and claim to be playing music, but unless there is fine-tuning, tact, manner, skill and a certain harmony according to the source, whatever we will be playing may be a too ‘personalized’ style of music. Why should the source of Yoga be any different? Of course we cannot all be classical virtuosos, but without harmony and connectivity to a genuine source we will just be projecting, playing our own fancies.

If you ever wanted to learn to play an instrument properly or be proficient in any art, would you go and seek out somebody who has just learnt to play the scales? Is it possible to give justice to the art of teaching in the world of music and art unless one has years and years of experience? Well here is the trick; if one does not even know how to play an instrument properly how are you actually going to pass on the message on how to fine-tune it?

But ok, the world of Yoga has had a recent revival in the past fifty years and we have more schools and styles than ever before, but unless all of these styles can serve the very purpose of Yoga – to find greater harmony and peace from within – can we even call it Yoga? If the practice of Yoga is to lead us back to our inmost nature, if this nature is not clearly experienced by the articulators of the various styles where will we actually be heading with our practice? If somebody calls themselves a Yogi, should we not expect a certain depth and penetration into the subject?

However many years of practice we have been doing (life times), unless we offer up our greatest awareness will we ever be able to do it justice? To inquire into the many tricks, turns and travesties of our own mind requires an unshakable commitment to truth, but not they way we would like it to be – rather according to the way things are – beyond any projections we so easily construe for ourselves. So coming to a final realization of Yoga make take a little longer than we initially expected.

Among a thousand people, only one would strive to take up Yoga,
But amongst one thousand people engaged in Yoga, only one will come to know the real meaning of it.B.G 7.3

This verse from the Bhagavad Gita does primarily refer to Bhakti Yoga, the Yoga of Devotion, and how a seeker of Yoga may eventually come to experience his/her divine nature. But whatever style of Yoga we practice, whatever technique it may be, our final homecoming to truth will be the same for us all. The Yoga Sutras equally speaks about various realizations of Yoga=Samadhi, but in the highest realization there are neither distinctions nor qualities of any other. All that remains is the Pure Experience of Self/Spirit from within and in that center all styles and practices of Yoga will meet. (For further references see Yoga Sutras: 1.45-51, 3.50-56, 4.29-35).

The compiler of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (15th CE), with his endless techniques and various practices knew very well the dangers that may come from jumping to hasty conclusions about the real meaning of Yoga. Swatma Rama therefore summarized his great work over four chapters with the concluding remarks:
Until the prana enters and flows in the middle channel and the breath becomes firm by the control of the movements of prana; and until the mind assumes the form of Brahma without any effort in contemplation, up to then all talk of knowledge and wisdom is merely the nonsensical babbling of a mad man.
HYP 4.114

To come to a realization of Yoga and eventually call oneself a Yogi is therefore not an easy endeavor. Who knows how many years, lifetimes of practice it may take, but if we have faith and can inquire honestly into what a genuine tradition may teach us, we will certainly get closer step by step, rather than run with fancy in the wrong direction.

To most of us the subject of Yoga is a recent phenomenon, let us therefore not be too hasty in defining it, but rather seek support from the Classical Indian Yoga tradition and see if our articulations of Yoga bear any similarities to that. Yoga should indeed be practical, but unless it bears any similarities to the Classical sources that define it, can we ever call it Yoga?

The Bhagavad Gita is a marvelous work on Yoga that spans over 18 chapters. It is a synthesis of all the major Upanishads and without compare the most frequent book read in India over the past 2000 years. It is a dialogue between the heroic warrior Arjuna and Krishna, an incarnation of God in support of the upkeep of Dharma, righteousness. The story takes place on a battlefield right before the battle are about to commence. Surveying the situation the heroic warrior Arjuna is overcome by faint-heartedness and refuses to stand up and fight. His head droops with a troubled mind incapable of action, but Krishna gradually installs in him the courage to act out his Dharma, duty, after explaining to Arjuna the various principles of Yoga.

What appears to be an immediate appeal to stand up, act and perform ones duty, becomes a philosophical eulogy over the many types of Yoga and how an individual may find that steady place from within as the very support of all ones activities. Act with greater clarity and become free from the opposing dualities of good and bad, right and wrong etc. and find a steady support in Yoga. Gandhi suggested that the external battlefield depicted, was a metaphor between the good and evil forces within man and a proper study of the text would help us to better discriminate between the opposing forces that operate within us. How to be more centered, see more clearly, become free from the endless patterns of opposition, awaken to dignity and eventually become free to realize that the source of Yoga is already present within us – if we can only remove the patterns of ignorance that obstructs it.

For this to come about we cannot merely grasp onto any belief or dogma that we must try to follow. We should rather create more space and awareness to the very patterning and conditioning that drives the operations of our mind-field, and from that an awakening to Yoga takes place.

In the second chapter Lord Krishna begins his exposition of Yoga. After giving a brief overview of this immortal essence within us all, Lord Krishna introduces the notion of Karma Yoga, the law of action, how to gain clarity from within although caught up in endless activity of the senses. The overall purpose is of course to not let actions lead us astray by simply acting out our fancies or mere desires, but rather allow the clarity of Yoga to be awakened in us by following certain observances while acting out our inescapable duties and responsibilities:

To work alone you have the right, but never claim the results thereof. Let not the results of actions be your motive, nor be attached to inaction.
Established in Yoga, O Dhananjaya (Arjuna), perform actions giving up attachment and be unconcerned to success and failure: This equanimity is called Yoga.

Far inferior is work prompted by desire, than work done through wisdom, O Dhananjaya. Therefore take refuge in wisdom: Those who are driven by results are miserable.
Whoever is endowed with this wisdom, will get rid of both good and evil. Therefore take to Yoga; Yoga is skill in the midst of activity.
(BG 2.47-50)

This article has no room for lengthy commentaries on this passage, but it should be adequate to summarize Yoga as: ‘equanimity’ and ‘skill in action’. The goal of Yoga is therefore clearly not about ‘becoming’ or ‘getting’ anything, but rather be free from the subtle patterns that drive our intentions and become more free and steady to see the equanimity already existent from within.

The immanent questions being raised are of course: How are we to give up the fruits of our desires? How are we to reach a state beyond the delusion of our own idealism? If the essence of Yoga facilitates this, then how is our mind supposed to reach this unified state from within? Arjuna therefore asks Lord Krishna to be more specific and let him know how a Yogi, a man of steady wisdom, talks, sits, walks and acts. The answers given to us is clear and simple, but maybe not so easy to follow:

When a man gives up all desires of the mind, O Partha (Arjuna), and delights solely in the self from within, then he is said to be a man of steady wisdom.
He who is untroubled in misery and bereft of more desires in the midst of pleasures and who is equally devoid of all attachment, fear and anger – that sage is said to be of steady wisdom.

He who is free from all affections, and whether receiving good or evils neither welcomes nor hates them, that is a man of steady wisdom.
When he completely withdraws his senses from the sense-objects, like a tortoise its limbs, then his wisdom may be steady from within.
A living being practicing restraint may curb some of his appetites, but never the relish for them. But for a man of steady wisdom, even this relish gives way when the Supreme Being from within is realized.

The turbulent senses, O son of Kunti (Arjuna) may forcibly lead astray the mind of even the struggling wise person.

Therefore control all of these senses. A seeker of Yoga should sit meditating on God from within as the highest, because he is a man of steady wisdom indeed, whose senses are under control.(BG 2.55-61)
These are the very ground-rules for the steady wisdom of Yoga to be revealed. Unfortunately the endless fluctuations of our mind may toss us about in our ocean of thought waves, but unless the fluctuations from the two banks of opposite duality cease, we will never be able to stand steady on the ground of solid wisdom from within. The following sixteen chapters of this ‘Celestial Song of God’, That Bhagavad Gita, are Yoga teachings of the highest order, but without following these basic principles we will be lost in the deep sea of suffering from our endless mind-flux. First and foremost we need to curb the wild fluctuations of our mind because they ebb and flow by nature so the goal for a seeker of Yoga is to find a steady place from within that is not subject to these oscillations.

First and foremost we therefore need to become aware of all the subtle desires of the mind, observe and be willing to let them go rather than rule us. Everlasting happiness cannot come from something that is fluctuating by nature, of course our senses may get a real kick, but they are only transient and trying to satisfy them will only drag us away from the steady support from within. The goal of Yoga is to awaken to the Self from within, the single observer, the steady witness that experiences all of our sense patterns, but yet always remains permanently un-attached to them.

If we are able to rest in the steady place of the observer, the sound inner witness, we will be able to neutralize the pair of opposites and will no longer be swept off our feet with notions of pleasure and pain – because there is a steady anchor rooted in an inner experience of being which is different to what is present to it through the sense organs.

So a potential Yogi, a man of steady wisdom, would learn to tolerate misery and pleasure in equal measures. If he is subject to misery his sense organs may suffer a sense of dejection, but from within he remains the same. If elated pleasures come his way, he does not get attached to them, but sees them equally as stimuli born from the euphoric sense organs. Naturally there will be no attachment to them, neither fear nor anger. He does not welcome good nor hate evil, because he knows that the single observer from within is indestructible and much more real than any afflictions that have ever layered itself on top of it due to our identifications with our fluctuating sense organs.

So when he eventually comes to know that there is place of steady wisdom and unconditioned Joy from within – something of a different order then what is found in the world of the ephemeral senses – he gradually removes his awareness from the external sense objects and becomes established in a quality of Pure Seeing. Whatever pleasure he may get from the external senses, they are nothing but dull in comparison with this source of extraordinary light from within. When this Supreme Being, the true support of a man here is fully realized, the seeker verily becomes lit up from within and the goal of Yoga is finally realized.

The Bhagavad Gita expands on many further aspects of Yoga, but whatever avenue of Yoga we follow, unless this pivotal discrimination between what is real and not-real are fully embodied, whatever style of Yoga we are practicing will be merely a play of the senses.

But as we ponder and play, cry and rejoice through our oceans of suffering and ephemeral pleasures, the inner light of our very own self may gradually awaken to us. This is indeed the journey for the seeker of Yoga, to gradually learn to embrace the steady support from within, which manifest as One and the same within us all, but are found through different paths depending on the external circumstances an individual had to plunge through in order to finally get there.

So if we are to call ourselves practitioners of Yoga let us embrace our practice with greater awareness so we may come to taste this steady wisdom from within. Until we are able to do that, and we can walk, talk and act with steady support from that inner presence, all our articulations of Yoga will be mere fancy than reason – because the rational of Yoga do