Do you know about the timeless wisdom of the yoga sutras of Patanjali and yoga philosophy overall? When many people hear the word ‘yoga’ they have mental images of people stretching in various poses on a mat, or perhaps sitting lotus pose and meditating. However, this is really not yoga, but a part of yoga called ‘asana.’ It roughly translates from sanskrit to ‘one seat,’ as the yogic postures are designed to prepare the body for the physical act of meditation. When studying the ageless wisdom of Yoga one can always learn more .
Yoga has been around for thousands of years, with its origins possibly in Vedic culture. However it was not until Patanjali came along that they were ever codified into a single discipline or text. His yoga sutras describe yoga as being an eight-limbed path with many branches. The first of these, the niyamas, include vows to nonviolence, speaking truth, attachments, and not stealing things. The second limb are more personal attitudes, committing to things like cleanliness, contentment, discipline, and self-inspection.
Asana alone is a branch by itself, followed by other limbs dedicated to things like conscious breathing, meditation, and mantra. The final limb of samadhi is supposed to be a state of enlightenment, power, and joy.
For those that discover yoga through a studio, their experience on the mat can leave them wanting much more. Fortunately, yoga has far more to offer than just a hour of stretching and a good savasana. There are multiple texts that translate the yoga sutras of Patanjali into languages spoken around the world. Any can be a good introduction into the spiritual aspects of what just starts as a physical practice to many. If you are unsure what text or translation to get, ask the yogis you know or a trusted teacher for a recommendation.
Adopting the yoga sutras of Patanjali as a lifestyle or a spiritual path can take years to get remotely good at, as it is a challenging practice and one that often seems to conflict with contemporary or Western thinking. However, observance of the protocols has helped many people reduce conflict and stress in their life, determine what they hope to become as a person, and then begin manifesting a new reality that is in alignment with their true nature. Other codifications of yoga have happened since Patanjali, but his ‘raja’ or ‘royal’ path remains considered the gold standard among all the available yogic disciplines.