Patañjala Yoga Sūtra
sūtra (pronounced ‘soo-tra’) ~ thread
Approximately 2000 years ago, an Indian sage named Patañjali composed The Yoga Sūtra. The word Sūtra can be translated as ‘thread’ and the Yoga Sūtra comprises a series of 196 aphorisms: short, compacted verses rich in meaning.
Patañjali identifies yoga as the “stilling of the waves in the mind,” and the subsequent experience of abiding in one’s “essential nature.” Patañjali’s approach to yoga is based upon the foundation of Sāṃkhya – a philosophical viewpoint in which reality is perceived in terms of puruṣa – pure consciousness – and prakṛti – matter. Puruṣa is having an experience of prakṛti but has forgotten itself and has identified with matter. Our busy minds, bodies, and lives in the material world are all manifestations of prakṛti, and as such, subject to range of external influences. The practice of yoga is a process by which puruṣa – source consciousness – disentangles itself from the web of prakṛti and instead resides in peaceful essence.
When puruṣa consistently rests in itself, this state is known as samādhi. Patañjali offers two methods by which to calm the mind and to create the right conditions for an experience of samādhi to arise: kriyā-yoga – the yoga of action; and aṣṭāṅga yoga, – the yoga of eight limbs.
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