Monday, May 17, 2010



Yoga is many things for many people. 

But, all these are Parts of Yoga ; Or, Paths of Yoga. 

Lord Krishna expounded all paths of Yoga in  the "Bhagavad Gita" - which is a scientific treatise on Yoga.

Sage Patanjali wrote the "Yoga Sutras", detailing the Ashtanga Yoga , akin to Lord Krishna's Dhyana Yoga Chapter of Bhagavad Gita.

Yoga is also expounded brilliantly in many Upanishads and by many Yogis.

Currently, what is popularly taught as "YOGA" in many yoga schools is - Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga -  or the eight limbs of yoga - and in it, specially 3 limbs, namely. Aasana, Pranayama and Dhyana.

These three limbs (or parts)  can not really be delinked from the other parts of Yoga like Yama, niyama etc (physical and mental discipline and cleanliness), which precede the Aasana limb or Part or from Pratyahara, Dharana and samadhi - which , along with Dhyana, are the last four parts or advanced stages of yoga.

Thus, the 8 Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga are

  1. Yama (Control)
  2. Niyama (Rules of Conduct)
  3. Asanas (Postures)
  4. Pranayama (Control of Life energy through Breath control))
  5. Pratyahara (Withdrawal of Sensory Perceptions)
  6. Dharana (Concentration)
  7. Dhyana (Mediation)
  8. Samadhi (Complete Equilibrium)

In whatever way yoga is being taught by experienced masters, it does bestow on the practitioner, great benefits, as clearly stated by Patanjali and Lord Krishna both. 

I will first place before you a few quotable quotes on THE SCIENCE OF YOGA - which is the most perfect science by far, known to man. In future Posts, we will discuss details of the Ashtanga Yoga further.

  Words of Wisdom on Yoga

  • Yoga is the suspension of all the functions of the mind. (Sage Patanjali)
  • Yoga is that state of Absolute Peace wherein there is neither imagination nor thought. Yoga is control of mind and its modifications (Swami Sivananda)

  • Equanimity is Yoga. Serenity is Yoga. Skill in actions is Yoga. Control of the senses and the mind is Yoga. Anything by which the best and the highest in life can be attained is also Yoga. Yoga is thus all-embracing, all-inclusive and universal in its application leading to all-round development of body, mind and soul. (Swami Sivananda)

  • Lord Krishna says to Arjuna: “Howsoever men approach Me, even so do I reward them, for, the path men take from every side, is Mine, O Partha.” The four paths are: the path of work (Karma-Yoga), the path of devotion or love (Bhakti-Yoga), the path of psychic control (Raja-Yoga) and the path of self-analysis and knowledge (Jnana-Yoga). (Bhagavad Gita ).

  • Karma-Yoga is suitable for a man of active temperament; Bhakti-Yoga for a man of emotional temperament; Raja-Yoga for a man of mystic temperament; and the path of Jnana-Yoga or Vedanta for a man of will or reason. (Swami Sivananda)

  •  “A person is said to have achieved yoga, or the union with the Self, when the perfectly disciplined and subdued mind gets freedom from all desires, and becomes absorbed in the Self alone” (Bhagavad Gita)

  • “For the one who is moderate in eating, recreation, working, sleeping, and waking, this yoga (Dhyana Yoga) destroys all sorrow.”(Bhagavad Gita)

  • “Yoga is difficult for the one whose mind is not controlled.” (Bhagavad Gita)

  • “This yoga is not possible, for the one who eats too much, or who does not eat at all; who sleeps too much, or who keeps awake.” (Bhagavad Gita)

  • “In Karma-yoga no effort is ever lost, and there is no harm. Even a little practice of Karma yoga protects one from greatest of fears” (Bhagavad Gita)

  • “Work done with selfish motives is much inferior to selfless service - which is Karma-yoga. Therefore thou be a Karma-yogi, O Arjuna. People who want to enjoy the fruits of their work are always unhappy as  no one has  control over the results.” (Bhagavad Gita)

  • Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked. (The yoga sutras of Patanjali)

  • Anyone who practices can obtain success in yoga but not one who is lazy.  Constant practice alone is the secret of success. (Hatha Yoga Pradipika)

  • When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady.  But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life. Therefore, one should learn to control the breath. (Hatha Yoga Pradipika)

  • Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured. ( B.K.S. Iyengar)

  • When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God.  When you exhale, it represents the service you are giving to the world.( B.K.S. Iyengar)

  • The body is your temple. Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in. (B.K.S Iyengar)


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