Articles derived from yogacharya Sharat Arora (Anand Sagar) Teachings

On the Direction in Life

When we lead our lives without awareness, we are not fully present and since our energy is not focused, the results of what we do will be also lukewarm and uncertain. In life we always have to choose the direction, whether we go one way or the other. Let’s say, that I decide to walk one path and then start doubting if I have made the right choice. At that time my energy, my presence in whatever I am doing, will be diminished. Then I come to the next crossroads and again I doubt: “Have I taken the right turn”? In the end, when I am halfway through my life, I realise that everything I did before was a mistake, but by then I'm running out of petrol, I have no more energy. It is a tragic picture, yet this is how most people lead their lives.

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HIYC - Patanjali Yoga Sutras part 3 Vibhuti Pada - Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora

Vibhuti Pada is the third chapter of the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, which means the chapter on Progressing. Patanjali presents the three last of the 8 paths of Ashtanga Yoga. After the mastering the first 5 parts, which are: Yamas, Niyamas, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, the inner practice begins, described by the three states of profoundness in meditation: Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. The three together constitute Samyama (the integration practice through which the yogi vanquishes all the cognitive obscurations).

Dharana may be translated as holding, or holding steady and refers to focus or concentration. The word dhri means to hold, carry, maintain, resolve. After withdrawing the energy from the senses – Pratyahara – the mind is collecting itself and we start the journey within.

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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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Sharat Arora
03 August 2016
16.10.14 When we do a practice like we do in our Iyengar Yoga centres, we gain understanding, so we increase our awareness about ourselves and about the world. We go inside and the mind slowly stops i...