What is the Yoga Sutra?

"Yoga is when the movements of the mind come to rest." (Patanjali's Yoga Sutra 1.2.)

The basic idea of ​​yoga is to unite body, mind and soul through meditation, concentration, breathing and movement. The term yoga is based on the Indo-European word "Yuj", which means something like "harnessing a draft animal to a wagon". The wagon stands for the human body, the draft animal for spirit and soul. These must be tamed in order for them to be able to pull the wagon. Yoga paves the way to harmony of body, mind and soul.

So yoga is not necessarily a sport, but much more a way of exercising. We can imagine this as a ladder. This ladder consists of eight steps. The so-called eight-stage yoga path can be found in a collection of scriptures called the Yoga Sutras . It was written down about 2000 years ago by an Indian sage, Patanjali. The path consists of a series of concrete, practical and realistic procedures and behaviors that build on and complement each other. In the end, they form a unit and must therefore be viewed as a whole.

1. Yama

The first discipline teaches about behavior towards others. It contains five points: renunciation of violence (Ahimsa), truthfulness (Satya), not stealing (Asteya), responsible handling of sexuality (Brahmacharya) and freedom from greed (Aparigraha).

2. Niyama

The second discipline is about dealing with oneself. It teaches spiritual and physical purity, contentment, enthusiasm, self-study and devotion to an ideal.

3. Asanas

In an asana, body and mind are in harmony, light (sukha) and stable (sthira) in equal proportions. "Sthira Sukham Asanam" describes an interplay of polarities and in a figurative sense it means that the posture should always be stable and comfortable.

4. Pranayama

This discipline teaches the conscious connection of breath and mind. The mind affects the breath and vice versa. Therefore we must control our breath. When we breathe calmly, our mind also comes to rest.

5. Pratayahara

The fifth discipline teaches the withdrawal of the senses. One should not be influenced and distracted by other objects. So you don't react to external stimuli, the spirit is no longer nourished from the outside. The senses rest and focus on the inside, the attention is drawn to one's own person.

6. Dharana

This is about pointing to a point or direction. One also speaks of a "one-point concentration", in which we consciously connect with an object of observation. This causes us to quiet our mind by holding on to a thought. The spirit is held and therefore cannot “jump wildly around” (monkey spirit).

7. Dhyana

In this state the activities of the mind come to a complete stillness. One speaks of contemplation, contemplation, concentration or even meditation. In doing so, you get into a “flow”, the mind takes on the form of what you focus on.

8. Samadhi

The eighth and last discipline is about oneness - the state of absolute bliss and pure knowledge. This is the ultimate goal in yoga. Consciousness detaches from the "I" and there is a feeling of oneness with everything.

Yoga teaches us to recognize thought patterns and behaviors that create stress. It is a path of knowledge. His goal: to become more and more ourselves, to get in touch with ourselves, to listen to the body's signals and to become more mindful.

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