Why do Yogis what they do?
The 8 Limbs of Yoga are stated in the Yoga Sutra 2.29 and guide a Yogi in its actions. 8 means „Ash“ in Sanskrit and „tanga“ means steps/limbs. The first 4 limbs have an external application, the other 4 are meant to be applied internally. The first 2 limbs are known to be the most important every Yogi should know.
The 8 limbs of Yoga are:
The first limb Yama is stated in the sutra number 2.30 and states to live by the following:
The second limb Niyama is stated in the sutra number 2.32 and states to live by the following:
How about negative habits and behavior of a Yogi?
There are certain negative attributes that can affect the mind negatively. In Yoga there are called diseases (Yoga Sutra 2.3.)
Bhava means attitude or feeling. There are four Bhavas that play an essencial role in a Yogi´s life. They have a meaningful impact when we are doing our daily tasks or performing any Yoga related Asana, Pranayama or Kriya.
These are the Bhavas a Yogi is meant to maintaine:
Yoga Sutra 1.2. states „Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha“ which is our highest duty to ourselves – to be in a balanced state of mind and faith. Maintaining balance at all times in our lives despite of all ups and downs is our duty. We have to become aware of our state of mind when performing our daily activities – the first step is to always maintain a positive mind. Everything we do during a day has to be done with full concentration without any distraction of the mind. That´s our duty. We always give our best, 100%, but only till we have reached our personal, energetic, and mental limit. Only till it feels good to us, then we stop, health is the most important aspect to protect and maintain. If we do not meet the expectancies of others then we don´t feel bad, because we gave our best. In case the state of mind gets disturbed our first duty is to immediately balance our mind by making use of techniques of Yoga like simple Asanas, Pranayamas, and Meditation.
Yoga Sutra 2.6. states that we should make it a habit to try and understand things and gain knowledge about any situation before taking action. We should make it a habit to learn from self-experience as well as other´s experience. In life there is only success, because work was done well or it is in a learning process, but there is no such thing as failure since we give our best following our duty. So it is our duty to always progress, to develop ourselves further – gaining knowledge or more skills. However it is observed that as learning increases also the ego increases which is why we should be cautious to not fill up the ego so that it could fall into an imbalance – I learn what I learn, others learn what they learn. Make sure the knowledge you gain is true.
Yoga Sutra 1.6. states that we should learn to be objective in life. We should keep our distance from any given situation and should learn to keep our ego aside. This means that anything happening in your life, do not identify yourself with it, because this would activate your feelings provoking emotions to arise. Observe, listen, act objectively. If others are not able to maintain their objectivity, then sometimes their emotions might be expressed in anger – do not identify yourself with it, may be they would have acted differently without being led by their emotions. Same the other way, keep your distance to love, this involves may be even stronger emotions – stay objective. Regarding Asanas, all forward bending Asanas like Yoga Mudra, Chakra Asana or Paschimottanasana help.
When Dharma, Jnana and Vairagya are followed Aishwarya is the outcome.
Aishwarya is discribed in Yoga Sutra 1.13. and states that practice makes a man perfect. Through the constant practice of Yoga perfection is achieved and you will notice an increase in will power, confidence, the personal energy level which will all bring joy and a positive mindset. However not every day is perfect, also we are not perfect, we can only give our best, accept ourselves exactly how we are and love ourselves to the fullest.
If the Bhavas aren’t under control, then the opposite attitudes can appear which Yogis call diseases:
There are 4 differents paths of Yoga which can be seen as categories.
means selfless service, which works in physical, spiritual and mental sense, it eliminates the ego. Karma Yoga and Kriya Yoga are the Yoga of action. In Karma Yoga the emphasis is on selfless action. It is a service to all beings. It overcomes the concerns of success or failure, egoism, and selfishness. Karma Yoga encourages the sttitude that all beings on this earth should be served with the deserving respect of a devine presence.
is the intellectual or the path of knowledge and wisdom. It´s said that knowledge is hidden within us which is why Jnana Yoga is about questioning everything you know, feel or think, it is about meditation and contemplation, until we find that knowledge.
is the path of devotion and love. It teaches techniques for sublimation of desires by chanting, prayer and repetition of mantras. Emotional energy is channelled into devotion, guiding anger, hate and jealousy in a positive direction. Bhakti Yoga involves reverence, devotion and perpetual remembrance of whatever divine presence is meaningful to you.
is the scientific path, also known as the royal path. It emphasises the contol of the intellect to attain enlightment. Meditation, concentration, and breath control are in the focus in Raja Yoga. Hatha and Raja Yoga work well together. Hatha Yoga is often considered as a stepping-stone to Raja Yoga, because if the control of the mind is mastered, the control of the mind comes more easily.
In order to build best state of health, the body has to be looked after mentally and physically. Mentally, Meditation can be done as well as we follow the Bhavas and the 8 Limbs of Yoga. Physically we keep our body fit through Asanas and from the inside by a clean consumption of pure food. However, the body needs additional support to remove impurities of the body ensuring a long lasting purification.
Kriyas should only be done when they are well practiced or under supervision of an experienced teacher.
According to Yoga there are six main objectives of purification (Yoga Sutra 11.32):
Cleansing of the nasal passage by lightly salted water (one nostril in, the other out).
Fire breathing. Inhales and exhales are through the nose. Long and deep inhalation and exhalation a couple of times, then one last deep inhalation to start then rapid and rhythmic exhalation through rapid stomach pumps (up till 30 pumps). The inhalation happens in between naturally.
Care of eye by gazing towards nasikagra (tip of the nose), bhrumadya (between eyebrows), daksinajatru (right shoulder), vamajatru (left shoulder), gazing to a candle, sun (carefully) or moon.
This is my personal addition to Kriyas, because it definitely works as a purification of the mind. Once you have completed a meditation with full concentration then the mind may feel like it has just been taken out to be cleaned in order to then place it back into the body with fresh thoughts.
Also known as Laukiki. It´s the cleansing of the small intestine by moving it towards left and right and centre.
Internal cleansing of the body which are split in four types: 1. abdomen (filling with air and water and ejecting through anus) 2. mouth, tongue, teeth, ears, sinuses (by air and water, mostly slightly salted and warm water) 3. throat and esophagus (filling it up with litres of slightly salted water and vomiting afterwards*), 4. rectum
Cleansing of nasal passage by using Jala (water) and sutra (catheter)
Cleansing of large intestine using water and an addition such as sesame oil if wanted. It is inserted through the rectum.
* These ones I have not done, seems too intense for me