Articles derived from yogacharya Sharat Arora (Anand Sagar) Teachings

HIYC - Patanjali Yoga Sutras part 2, Sadhana Pada - Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora

Chapter 2 of the Patanjali Yoga Sutras is Sadhana Pada, the chapter about Practice. It focuses on concrete things one can do in order to diminish and eventually get rid of obstacles, which hold us away from recognizing the true Self. Specificaly, Patanjali describes Kriya Yoga and the first 5 of the 8 Paths of Yoga (8 limbs), known as Ashtanga Yoga.

The eight ways in which one expresses one’s action are: Yamas, Niyamas, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi.

There are five Yamas, which are like “Commandments” of Yoga, we shall keep them in mind and follow every second of the day:
1.    Ahimsa – is a rule of non-violence in any aspect: non-violent thought, word, action towards anyone and anything. This is the most important commandment.
2.    Sattya – means to be truthful, live a life of Truth inside and outside. Forgive yourself if you haven’t yet followed it through and practice meditation to live this Yama every day. If you wear a robe - make yourself worthy of it; often those in robes tarnish the religion, modify it to their own interpretation. Religions make total sense if read properly, Yoga is a spiritual path, same as religion.  
3.    Asteya - is a rule of non-stealing in thought, word and deed – apart from not taking what belongs to someone else. For example stealing a word is misrepresenting, taking someone else’s word for your own, thus not being truthful.

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HIYC - Patanjali Yoga Sutras part 1, Samadhi Pada - Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora

In 200-300 BC, the time of Buddha, lived Patanjali, who brought to us the three subjects of Yoga, Ayurveda and Grammar. A Sutra is one bead of the necklace, and there are many beads forming the necklace. 196 Yoga Sutras gives us the whole philosophy of Yoga.

The first chapter of the Yoga Sutras is Samadhi Pada, meaning the chapter on concentration. Among topics described by Patanjali is yoga itself, principles of practice and non-attachment, obstacles and solutions for them, tools for and results of stabilizing the mind. Samadhi padha, described in 40 Sutras, provides an overall understanding of Psychology, Parapsychology and  the highest states of Consciousness.

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Mechanism of Asanas - Energy and Spiritual Levels

The breath in the asana should be induced by the posture itself, as every posture has its own pattern of breathing and affecting the mind accordingly. In Halasana and Hanging Sirsasana you can just be with your exhalations, in a meditative state, there is nothing else to be done. It is totally natural for the mind to drift away while in the position, so there is no point in feeling frustrated about it. Just continue to practise and be pure in your devotion, meaning that you do it as a ritual, and not being goal oriented. Trust that the path taken is right and do your thing every day, totally present.

Pranic force is very powerful. When practising pranayama it may happen for some people that they feel slight panic at the end of an exhalation and their hearts start beating rapidly. It is a panic of letting go. When you start to lose control and can't handle this situation, you start making the exhalations consciously in order to reach back to the original state. Pranayama is very psychological. To properly exhale is more difficult than doing inhalation. When we do and inhalation there is still a stimulation, an act of doing, whereas a spiritual experiences occur when we let go in the exhalations and leave the known. This demands a complete focus and presence. Asanas are gross, while when one experiences a breakthrough in the pranayama, one becomes fully in touch with own energies. It does take a couple of years to realise the power of Yoga. One must first understand how to use the tools, the breath and the body in order to build up system of accessing information within own being. Only when one gained a control over the mind and the body, one must learn to let it go. Preparation for pranayama takes about 2 years. In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, a classic Sanskrit text on Hatha Yoga, it is also said that one must practise with purity and daily. Stop one day, lose a week. One must practise constantly, with purity and there must be a stability in the body. Then a person can experience the real effects of the practice.

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Mechanism of Asanas - Energy Levels

Sankhya, Ayurveda and Yoga are all related. Sankhya, one of six Indian philosophies, is about understanding the whole Universe through comprehending its ingredients. The sages found out, that not only everything in the Universe is in a continuous state of movement, but it is also an interaction of the five elements: earth, water, fire, air and space. They also realised, that since we are the microcosm of the Universe our bodies are vibrating with the same life-force. There are devised ways of recognizing the evolution of energy within us in order to be able to see the pure Self. When you become in touch with your energies you can access extrasensory powers, when wisdom comes all energies are freed, one can see into the past as well as into the future.

Life operates by two energies, activity and passivity, plus and minus, wave going up and wave going down. On the physical level, life is a movement and its energy manifests itself in waves. Ha is a positive force and sun power, Tha is a negative force and moon power, everything functions within these two polarities. Hatha Yoga is about the exploration of the energy of oneself.

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Why Do We Separate Asana And Pranayama?

Even though the body and breath are interrelated, we separate asana and pranayama.

This is because you cannot do everything together. In asanas, you meditate on the body, in pranayama you meditate on your breath. When you meditate, you meditate on the mind. For a comprehensive work, use only one tool at the time, then put it aside and take another. Yoga is something that has come from a lot of light: spiritual clarity, mind, consciousness and all the subtle forces in nature.

Yoga master teacher Sharat Arora
Article derived from the Intensive Yoga Course at the
Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre in Arambol, North Goa, 2000

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