The Illustrated Light on Yoga B. K. S. Iyengar's classic book Lighton Yoga is a comprehensive introduction to yoga with detailed descriptions of over Illustrated Light on Yoga. Home · Illustrated Light on Views 72MB Size Report. DOWNLOAD PDF Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali · Read more. Iyengar B. K. S. The Illustrated Light On caite.info - Ebook download as PDF File ( .pdf) or read book online.
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'Mr Iyengar's Light on Yoga has, since it was first published over. 25 years ago, enabled This book, The Illustrated Light on Yoga, introduces 57 key äsanas. The. FOREWORD BY YEHUDI MENUHIN. Illustrated. Light on Yoga. An Easy-to- follow Version of the Classic. Introduction to Yoga. FOR SALE IN THE INDIAN. profusely illustrated book on Yoga in English'; it is just that." -CHOICE. "This is the best book on Yoga The introduction to Yoga philosophy alone is worth.
SdI7Ul upright. He has dedicated his mind, his reason and his whole life to the Lord. By its improper practice respiratory diseases will arise and the nervous system will be shattered. The yogi recalls the verses of the Mundakopanisad: It will put an end to ignorance and bring knowledge. In a recent article in Yoga Rahasya, Geeta Iyengar elaborates about this topic in He is like a musician who has heard divine music in a dream, but who is unable to recall it in his waking moments and cannot repeat the dream.
But more important than the physical cleansing of the body is the cleansing of the mind of its disturbing emotions like hatred, passion, anger, lust, greed, delusion and pride. Still more important is the cleansing of the intellect buddhi of impure thoughts. The impurities of the mind are washed off in the waters of bhakti adoration.
The impurities of the intellect or reason are burned off in the fire of svadhyaya study of the Self. This internal cleansing gives radiance and joy. It brings benevolence saumanasya and banishes mental pain, dejection, sorrow and despair daurmanasya. When one is benevolent, one sees the virtues in others and not merely their faults.
The respect which one shows for another's virtues, makes him self-respecting as well and helps him to fight his own sorrows and difficulties. When the mind is' lucid, it is easy to make it one-pointed ekagra.
With concentration, one obtains mastery over the senses indriyajaya. Then one is ready to enter the temple of his own body and see his real self in the mirror of his mind.
Besides purity of body, thought and word, pure food is also necessary. Apart from cleanliness in the preparation of food it is also necessary to observe purity in the means by which one procures it.
Food, the supporting yet consuming substance of all life, is regarded as a phase of Brahman. It should be eaten with the feeling that with L W hat i s Y 0 g a? Then food becomes pure. Whether or not to be a vegetarian is a purely personal matter as each person is influenced by the tradition and habits of the country in which he was born and bred. But, in course of time, the practitioner of yoga has to adopt a vegetarian diet, in order to attain one-pointed attention and spiritual evolution.
Food should be taken to promote health, strength, energy and life. It should be simple, nourishing, juicy and soothing. Avoid foods which are sour, bitter, pungent, burning, stale, tasteless, heavy and unclean. Character is moulded by the type of food we take and by how we eat it.
Men are the only creatures that eat when not hungry and generally live to eat rather than eat to live. If we eat for flavours of the tongue, we over-eat and so suffer from digestive disorders which throw our systems out of gear. The yogi believes in harmony, so he eats for the sake of sustenance only. He does not eat too much or too little. He looks upon his body as the rest-house of his spirit and guards himself against over-indulgence. Besides food, the place is also important for spiritual practices.
It is difficult to practise in a distant country away from home , in a forest, in a crowded city, or where it is noisy. One should choose a place where food is easily procurable, a place which is free from insects, protected from the elements and with pleasing surroundings.
The banks of a lake or river or the sea-shore are ideal. Such quiet ideal places are hard to find in modern times; but one can at least make a corner in one's room available for practice and keep it clean, airy, dry and pest-free.
Santosa or contentment has to be cultivated. A mind that is not content cannot concentrate. The yogi feels the lack of nothing and so he is naturally content. Contentment gives bliss unsurpassed to the yogi. A contented man is complete for he has known the love of the Lord and has done his duty.
He is blessed for he has known truth and joy. Contentment and tranquillity are states of mind. Differences arise among men because of race, creed, wealth and learning. Differences create discord and there arise conscious or unconscious conflicts which distract and perplex one. Then the mind cannot become one-pointed ekagra and is robbed of its peace. There is contentment and tranquillity when the flame of the spirit does not waver in the wind of desire. The sadhaka does not seek the empty peace of the dead, but the peace of one whose reason is firmly established in God.
Tapas is derived from the root 'tap' meaning to blaze, burn, shine, suffer pain or consume by heat. It therefore means a burning effort under all circumstances to achieve a definite goal in life.
It involves 19 20 , The Illustrated Light on Yoga purification, self-discipline and austerity. The whole science of character building may be regarded as a practice of tapas.
Tapas is the conscious effort to achieve ultimate union with the Divine and to bum up all desires which stand in the way of this goal. A worthy aim makes life illumined, pure and divine. Without such an aim, action and prayer have no value. Life without tapas, is like a heart without love.
Without tapas, the mind cannot reach up to the Lord. Tapas is of three types. It may relate to the body kayika , to speech vachika or to mind manasika , Continence brahmacharya and nonviolence ahimsa are tapas of the body. Using words which do not offend, reciting the glory of God, speaking the truth without regard for the consequences to oneself and not speaking ill of others are tapas of speech.
Developing a mental attitude whereby one remains tranquil and balanced in joy and sorrow and retains self-control are tapas of the mind. It is tapas when one works without any selfish motive or hope of reward and with an unshakable faith that not even a blade of grass can move without His will. By tapas the yogi develops strength in body, mind and character. He gains courage and wisdom, integrity, straightforwardness and simplicity. Sva means self and adhyaya means study or education.
Education is the drawing out of the best that is within a person. Svadhyaya, therefore, is the education of the self. Svadhyaya is different from mere instruction like attending a lecture where the lecturer parades his own learning before the ignorance of his audience. When people meet for svadhyaya, the speaker and listener are of one mind and have mutual love and respect.
There is no sermonizing and one heart speaks to another. The ennobling thoughts that arise from svadhyaya are, so to speak, taken into one's bloodstream so that they become a part of one's life and being.
The person practising svadhyaya reads his own book of life, at the same time that he writes and revises it. There is a change in his outlook on life. He starts to realize that all creation is meant for bhakti adoration rather than for bhoga enjoyment , that all creation is divine, that there is divinity within himself and that the energy which moves him is the same that moves the entire universe.
According to Sri Vinoba Bhave the leader of the Bhoodan movement , svadhyaya is the study of one subject which is the basis or root of all other subjects or actions, upon which the others rest, but which itself does not rest upon anything. To make life healthy, happy and peaceful, it is essential to study regularly divine literature in a pure place. This study of the sacred books of the world will enable the sadhaka to concentrate upon and solve the I I l' W hat i s Y difficult problems of life when they arise.
It will put an end to ignorance and bring knowledge. Ignorance has no beginning, but it has an end. There is a beginning but no end to knowledge. By svadhyaya the sadhaka understands the nature of his soul and gains communion with the divine. The sacred books of the world are for all to read. They are not meant for the members of one particular faith alone.
As bees savour the nectar in various flowers, so the sadhaka absorbs things in other faiths which will enable him to appreciate his own faith better. Philology is not a language but the science of languages, the study of which will enable the student to learn his own language better. Simi'lady, Yoga is not a religion by itself. It is the science of religions, the study of which will enable a sadhaka the better to appreciate his own faith.
Isuara pranidhiina. Dedication to the Lord of one's actions and will is Isvara pranidhana. He who has faith in God does not despair.
He has illumination tejas. He who knows that all creation belongs to the Lord will not be puffed up with pride or drunk with power. He will not stoop for selfish purposes; his head will bow only in worship. When the waters of bhakti adoration are made to flow through the turbines of the mind, the result is mental power and spiritual illumination.
While mere physical strength without bhakti is lethal, mere adoration without strength of character is like an opiate. Addiction to pleasures destroys both power and glory.
From the gratification of the senses as they run after pleasures arise moha attachment and lobha greed for their repetition. If the senses are not gratified, then, there is soka sorrow.
They have to be curbed with knowledge and forbearance; but to control the mind is more difficult. After one has exhausted one's own resources and still not succeeded, one turns to the Lord for help for He is the source of all power.
It is at this stage that bhakti begins. In bhakti, the mind, the intellect and the will are surrendered to the Lord and the sadhaka prays: Thy will be done. In bhakti or true love there is no place for 'I' and 'mine'. When the feeling of 'I' and 'mine' disappears, the individual soul has reached full growth. When the mind has been emptied of desires of personal gratification, it should be filled with thoughts of the Lord.
In a mind filled with thoughts of personal gratification, there is danger of the senses dragging the mind after the objects of desire. Attempts to practise bhakti without emptying the mind of desires is like building a fire with wet fuel. It makes a lot of smoke and brings tears to the eyes of the person who builds it and of those around him. A mind with desires does not ignite and glow, nor does it generate light and warmth when touched with the fire of knowledge.
The name of the Lord is like the Sun, dispelling all darkness. The individual soul experiences fullness purnata when it faces the Lord. If the shadow of the earth comes between the full moon and the sun there is an eclipse.
If the feeling of T and 'mine' casts its shadow upon the experience of fullness, all efforts of the sadhaka to gain peace are futile. Actions mirror a man's personality better than his words. The yogi has learnt the art of dedicating all his actions to the Lord and so they reflect the divinity within him.
Asana The third limb of yoga is asana or posture. Asana brings steadiness, health and lightness of limb. A steady and pleasant posture produces mental equilibrium and prevents fickleness of mind. Asanas are not merely gymnastic exercises; they are postures. To perform them one needs a clean airy place, a blanket and determination, while for other systems of physical training one needs large playing fields and costly equipment.
Asanas can be done alone, as the limbs of the body provide the necessary weights and counter-weights.
By practising them one develops agility, balance, endurance and great vitality. Asanas have been evolved over the centuries so as to exercise every muscle, nerve and gland in the body.
They reduce fatigue and soothe the nerves. But their real importance lies in the way they train and discipline the mind. Many actors, acrobats, athletes, dancers, musicians and sportsmen also possess superb physiques and have great control over the body, but they lack control over the mind, the intellect and the Self.
Hence they are in disharmony with themselves and one rarely comes across a balanced personality among them. They often put the body above all else. Though the yogi does not underrate his body, he does not think merely of its perfection but of his senses, mind, intellect and soul. The yogi conquers the body by the practice of asanas and makes it a fit vehicle for the spirit. He knows that it is a necessary vehicle for the spirit.
A soul without a body is like a bird deprived of its power to fly. The yogi does not fear death, for time must take its toll of all flesh. He knows that the body is constantly changing and is affected by childhood, youth and old age. Birth and death are natural phenomena but the soul is not subject to birth and death. As a man casting off worn-out garments takes on new ones, so the dweller within the body casting aside wornout bodies enters into others that are new.
The yogi believes that his body has been given to him by the Lord! He does not consider it his property. He knows that the Lord who has given him his body will one day take it away. By performing asanas, the sadhaka first gains health, which is not mere existence. It is not a commodity which can be purchased with money. It is an asset to be gained by sheer hard work. It is a state of complete equilibrium of body, mind and spirit. Forgetfulness of physical and mental consciousness is health. The yogi frees himself from physical disabilities and mental distractions by practising asanas.
He surrenders his actions and their fruits to the Lord in the service of the world. The yogi realizes that his life and all its activities are part of the divine action in nature, manifesting and operating in the form of man. In the beating of his pulse and the rhythm of his respiration, he recognizes the flow of the seasons and the throbbing of universal life. His body is a temple which houses the Divine Spark.
He feels that to neglect or to deny the needs of the body and to think of it as something not divine, is to neglect and deny the universal life of which it is a part. The needs of the body are the needs of the divine spirit which lives through the body. The yogi does not look heaven-ward to find God for he knows that He is within, being known as the Antaratma the Inner Self.
He feels the kingdom of God within and without and finds that heaven lies in himself. Where does the body end and the mind begin? Where does the mind end and the spirit begin? They cannot be divided as they are inter-related and but different aspects of the same all-pervading divine consciousness. The yogi never neglects or mortifies the body or the mind, but cherishes both. To him the body is not an impediment to his spiritual liberation nor is it the cause of its fall, but is an instrument of attainment.
He seeks a body strong as a thunderbolt, healthy and free from suffering so as to dedicate it in the service of the Lord for which it is intended. As pointed out in the MU1J4akopaniEiad the Self cannot be attained by one without strength, nor through heedlessness, nor without an aim. Just as an unbaked earthen pot dissolves in water the body soon decays. So bake it hard in the fire of yogic discipline in order to strength and purify it.
The names of the asanas are significant and illustrate the principle of evolution. Some are named after vegetation like the tree vrksa and the lotus padma ; some after insects like the locust salabha and the scorpion vrschika: There are asanas called after birds like the cock kukkuta , the heron baka , the peacock mayiira and the swan 23 24 The I I Ius t rat e d L i g h ton Y 0 g a harnsa. They are also named after quadrupeds like the dog svana , the horse vatayana.
Creatures that crawl like the serpent bhujanga are not forgotten, nor is the human embryonic state garbha-pinda overlooked. Asanas are named after legendary heroes like Virabhadra and Hanuman, son of the Wind. Sages like Bharadvaja, Kapila, Vasistha and Visvamitra are remembered by having asanas named after them. Some asanas are also called after gods of the Hindu pantheon and some recall the Avataras, or incarnations of Divine Power.
Whilst performing asanas the yogi's body assumes many forms resembling a variety of creatures. His mind is trained not to despise any creature, for he knows that throughout the whole gamut of creation, from the lowliest insect to the most perfect sage, there breathes the same Universal Spirit, which assumes innumerable forms.
He knows that the highest form is that of the Formless. He finds unity in universality. True asana is that in which the thought of Brahman flows effortlessly and incessantly through the mind of the sadhaka.
Dualities like gain and loss, victory and defeat, fame and shame, body and mind, mind and soul vanish through mastery of the asanas, and the sadhaka then passes on to pranayama, the fourth stage in the path of yoga.
In pranayarna practices the nostrils, nasal passages and membranes, the windpipe, the lungs and the diaphragm are the only parts of the body which are actively involved. These alone feel the full impact of the force of prana, the breath of life. Therefore, do not seek to master pranayama in a hurry, as you are playing with life itself. By its improper practice respiratory diseases will arise and the nervous system will be shattered. By its proper practice one is freed from most diseases.
Never attempt to practice pranayama alone by yourself. For it is essential to have the personal supervision of a Guru who knows the physicallimitations of his pupil. Prii1Jiiyiima Just as the word yoga is one of wide import, so also is prana. Prana means breath, respiration, life, vitality, wind, energy or strength.
It also connotes the soul as opposed to the body. The word is generally used in the plural to indicate vital breaths. Ayama means length, expansion, stretching or restraint. Pranayama thus connotes extension of breath and its control. This control is over all the functions of breathing, namely, 1 inhalation or inspiration, which is termed puraka filling up ; 2 exhalation or expiration, which is called rechaka emptying the lungs , and 3 retention or holding the breath, a state where there is no inhalation or exhalation, which is termed kumbhaka.
In Hatha Yoga texts kumbhaka is also used in a loose generic sense to include all the three respiratory processes of inhalation, exhalation and retention. A water pot may be emptied of all air and filled completely with water, or it may be emptied of all water and filled completely with air. Similarly, there are two states of kumbhaka namely 1 when breathing is suspended after full inhalation the lungs being completely filled with life-giving air , and 2 when breathing is suspended after full exhalation the lungs being emptied of all noxious air.
The first of these states, where breath is held after a full inhalation, but before exhalation begins, is known as antara kumbhaka.
Antara means inner or interior, while bahya means outer or exterior. In both these types breathing is suspended and restrained. Pranayama is thus the science of breath. It is the hub round which the wheel of life revolves. The yogi's life is not measured by the number of his days but by the number of his breaths. Therefore, he follows the proper rhythmic patterns of slow deep breathing. These rhythmic patterns strengthen the respiratory system, soothe the nervous system and reduce craving. As desires and cravings diminish, the mind is set free and becomes a fit vehicle for concentration.
By improper practice of pranayama the pupil introduces several disorders into his system like hiccough, wind, asthma, cough, catarrh, pains in the head, eyes and ears and nervous irritation. It takes a long time to learn slow, deep, steady and proper inhalations and exhalations. Master this before attempting kumbhaka.
As a fire blazes brightly when the covering of ash over it is scattered by the wind, the divine fire within the body shines in all its majesty when the ashes of desire are scattered by the practice of pranayama. The realization that "I am Atma spirit " is the true puraka inhalation. And the steady sustenance of the mind on this conviction is the true kumbhaka retention. This is true pranayama,' says Sankaracharya. So also with each outgoing breath each creature prays 'Harnsah' I am He.
This ajapa-mantra unconscious repetitive prayer goes on for ever within each living creature throughout life. The 25 26 The Illustrated Light on Yoga yogi fully realizes the significance of this ajapa-mantra and so is released from all the fetters that bind his soul. He offers up the very breath of his being to the Lord as sacrifice and receives the breath of life from the Lord as his blessing. Prana in the body of the individual jivatma is part of the cosmic breath of the Universal Spirit Paramatma.
An attempt is made to harmonize the individual breath pindaprana with the cosmic breath Brahmanda-prana through the practice of pranayama. It has been said by Kariba Ekken, a seventeenth-century mystic: Therefore, before attempting anything, first regulate your breathing on which your temper will be softened, your spirit calmed. One of them is prana breath , the other is vasana desire.
The chariot moves in the direction of the more powerful animal. If breath prevails, the desires are controlled, the senses are held in check and the mind is stilled. If desire prevails, breath is in disarray and the mind is agitated and troubled. Therefore, the yogi masters the science of breath and by the regulation and control of breath, he controls the mind and stills its constant movement.
In the practice of pranayama the eyes are kept shut to prevent the mind from wandering.
Emotional excitement affects the rate of breathing; equally, deliberate regulation of breathing checks emotional excitement. As the very object of Yoga is to control and still the mind, the yogi first learns pranayama to master the breath. This will enable him to control the senses and so reach the stage of pratyahara. Only then will the mind be ready for concentration dhyana , The mind is said to be twofold - pure and impure.
It is pure when it is completely free from desires and impure when it is in union with desires. By making the mind motionless and freeing it from sloth and distractions, one reaches the state of mindlessness amanaska , which is the supreme state of samadhi, This state of mindlessness is not lunacy or idiocy but the conscious state of the mind when it is free from thoughts and desires.
There is a vital difference between an idiot or a lunatic on the one hand, and a yogi striving to achieve a state of mindlessness on the other. The former is careless; the latter attempts to be carefree.
It is the oneness of the breath and mind and so also of the senses and the abandonment of all conditions of existence and thought that is designated Yoga. One of the most subtle forms of energy is air. This vital energy which also pervades the human body is classified in five main categories in the Hatha Yoga texts according to the various functions performed by the energy.
These are termed vayu wind and the five main divisions are: There are also five subsidiary vayus, These are: Pratyahara If a man's reason succumbs to the pull of his senses he is lost. On the other hand, if there is rhythmic control of breath, the senses instead of running after external objects of desire turn inwards, and man is set free from their tyranny. This is the fifth stage of Yoga, namely, pratyahara, where the senses are brought under control.
When this stage is reached, the sadhaka goes through a searching self-examination. To overcome the deadly but attractive spell of sensual objects, he needs the insulation of adoration bhakti by recalling to his mind the Creator who made the objects of his desire. He also needs the lamp of knowledge of his divine heritage. The mind, in truth, is for mankind the cause of bondage and liberation; it brings bondage if it is bound to the objects of desire and liberation when it is free from objects.
There is bondage when the mind craves, grieves or is unhappy over something. The mind becomes pure when all desires and fears are annihilated. Both the good and the pleasant present themselves to men and prompt them to action.
The yogi prefers the good to the pleasant. Others driven by their desires, prefer the pleasant to the good and miss the very purpose of life. The yogi feels joy in what he is.
He knows how to stop and, therefore, lives in peace. At first he prefers that which is bitter as poison, but he perseveres in his practice knowing well that in the end it will become as sweet as nectar. Others hankering for the 27 28 The Illustrated Light on Yoga union of their senses with the objects of their desires, prefer that which at first seems sweet as nectar, but do not know that in the end it will be as bitter as poison. The yogi knows that the path towards satisfaction of the senses by sensual desires is broad, but that it leads to destruction and that there are many who follow it.
The path of Yoga is like the sharp edge of a razor, narrow and difficult to tread, and there are few who find it. The yogi knows that the paths of ruin or of salvation lie within himself. According to Hindu philosophy, consciousness manifests in three different qualities.
For man, his life and his consciousness, together with the entire cosmos are the emanations of one and the same prakrti cosmic matter or substance - emanations that differ in designation through the predominance of one of the gunas. The gunas qualities or attributes are: Sattva the illuminating, pure or good quality , which leads to clarity and mental serenity. Rajas the quality of mobility or activity , which makes a person active and energetic, tense and wilful, and 3.
Tamas the dark and restraining quality , which obstructs and counteracts the tendency of rajas to work and of sattva to reveal. Tamas is a quality of delusion, obscurity, inertia and ignorance.
A person in whom it predominates is inert and plunged in a state of torpor. The quality of sattva leads towards the divine and tamas towards the demonic, while in between these two stands rajas. The faith held, the food consumed, the sacrifices performed, the austerities undergone and the gifts given by each individual vary in accordance with his predominating gUDa.
He that is born with tendencies towards the divine is fearless and pure. He is generous and self-controlled. He pursues the study of the Self. He is non-violent, truthful and free from anger. He renounces the fruits of his labour, working only for the sake of work. He has a tranquil mind, with malice towards none and charity towards all, for he is free from craving.
He is gentle, modest and steady. He is illumined, clement and resolute, being free from perfidy and pride. A man in whom rajo-guna predominates has inner thirst. As he is passionate and covetous, he hurts others.
Being full of lust and hatred, envy and deceit, his desires are insatiable. He is unsteady, fickle and easily distracted as well as ambitious and acquisitive. He seeks the patronage of friends and has family pride. He shrinks from unpleasant things and clings to pleasant ones. His speech is sour and his stomach greedy. He that is born with demonic tendencies is deceitful, insolent and conceited. He is full of wrath, cruelty and ignorance. In such people What is Yoga?
They gratify their passions. Bewildered by numerous desires, caught in the web of delusion, these addicts of sensual pleasures fall into hell. The working of the mind of persons with different predominating gunas may be illustrated by their different ways. If they do, I shall destroy them. A person of sattvika temperament will follow both the letter and the spirit of the precept as a matter of principle and not of policy, as a matter of eternal value.
He will be righteous for the sake of righteousness alone, and not because there is a human law imposing punishment to keep him honest.
The yogi who is also human is affected by these three gunas. By his constant and disciplined study abhyasa of himself and of the objects which his senses tend to pursue, he learns which thoughts, words and actions are prompted by tamas and which by rajas. With unceasing effort he weeds out and eradicates such thoughts and he works to achieve a sattvika frame of mind, When the sattva-guna alone remains, the human soul has advanced a long way towards the ultimate goal.
Like unto the pull of gravity is the pull of the gunas, As intensive research and rigorous discipline are needed to experience the wonder of weightlessness in space, so also a searching self-examination and the discipline furnished by Yoga is needed by a sadhaka to experience union with the Creator of space when he is freed from the pull of the gunas.
Once the sadhaka has experienced the fullness of creation or of the Creator, his thirst trsna for objects of sense vanishes and he looks at them ever after with dispassion vairagya. He experiences no disquiet in heat or cold, in pain or pleasure, in honour or dishonour and in virtue or vice. He treats the two imposters - triumph and disaster with equanimity. He has emancipated himself from these pairs of opposites. He has passed beyond the pull of the gunas and has become a gunatita one who has transcended the gunas.
He is then free from birth and death, from pain and sorrow and becomes immortal. He has no self-identity as he lives experiencing the fullness of the Universal Soul. Such a man, scorning nothing, leads all things to the path of perfection. Here he is concentrated wholly on a single point or on a task in which he is completely engrossed. The mind has to be stilled in order to achieve this state of complete absorption. The mind is an instrument which classifies, judges and co-ordinates the impressions from the outside world and those that arise within oneself.
Mind is the product of thoughts which are difficult to restrain for they are subtle and fickle. A thought which is well guarded by a controlled mind brings happiness. To get the best out of an instrument, one must know how it works.
The mind is the instrument for thinking and it is therefore necessary to consider how it functions. Mental states are classified in five groups.
The first of these is the ksipta state, where the mental forces are scattered, being in disarray and in a state of neglect. Here the mind hankers after objects, the rago-guna being dominant. The second is the viksipta state, where the mind is agitated and distracted. Here there is a capacity to enjoy the fruits of one's efforts, but the desires are not marshalled and controlled. Then in the mudha state the mind is foolish, dull and stupid. It is confounded and at a loss to know what it wants and here the tamo-guna predominates.
The ekagra person has superior intellectual powers and knows exactly what he wants, so he uses all his powers to achieve his purpose. At times the ruthless pursuit of the desired object, irrespective of the cost to others, can create great misery, and it often happens that even if the desired object is achieved it leaves behind a bitter taste.
Arjuna, the mighty bowman of the epic Mahabharata, provides us with an example of what is meant by dharana, Once Orona, the preceptor of the royal princes, organized an archery contest to test their proficiency. They were called upon one by one to describe the target, which was pointed out to them.
It was a nesting bird. Some princes described the grove of trees, others the particular tree or the bough on which the nest stood. When Arjuna's turn came, he described first the bird. Then he saw only its head, and lastly he could see nothing but the shining eye of the bird, which was the centre of the target chosen by Drona, There is danger, however, of an ekagra person becoming supremely egotistical.
Where the senses start roaming unchecked, the mind follows W hat i s Y 0 suit. They cloud a man's judgement and set him adrift like a battered ship on a storm-tossed sea. A ship needs ballast to keep her on an even keel and the helmsman needs a star to steer her by. The ekagra person needs bhakti adoration of the Lord and concentration on divinity to keep his mental equilibrium so that he goes on always in the right direction.
He will not know happiness until the sense of 'I'and 'mine' disappears. The last mental state is that of niruddha, where the mind manas , intellect buddhi and ego aharnkara are all restrained and all these faculties are offered to the Lord for His use and in His service.
Here there is no feeling of 'I' and 'mine'. As a lens becomes more luminous when great light is thrown upon it and seems to be all light and undistinguishable from it, so also the sadhaka who has given up his mind, intellect and ego to the Lord, becomes one with Him, for the sadhaka thinks of nothing but Him, who is the creator of thought.
Without ekagrata or concentration one can master nothing. Without concentration on Divinity, which shapes and controls the universe, one cannot unlock the divinity within oneself or become a universal man.
To achieve this concentration, what is recommended is eka-tattvaabhyasa or study of the single element that pervades all, the inmost Self of all beings, who converts His one form into many. According to Sri Vinoba Bhave, the Latin word Omne and the Sanskrit word Aum are both derived from the same root meaning all and both words convey the concepts of omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence.
Another word for Aum is praIJ. The word, therefore, means the best praise or the best prayer. The symbol AUM is composed of three syllables, namely the letters A, U, M, and when written has a crescent and dot on its top. A few instances of the various interpretations given to it may be mentioned here to convey its meaning. The letter A symbolizes the conscious or waking state jagrataavastha , the letter U the dream state svapna-avastha and the letter M the dreamless sleep state susupta-avastha of the mind and spirit.
The entire symbol, together with the crescent and the dot, stands for the fourth state turiya-avastha , which combines all these states and transcends them.
This is the state of samadhi, The letters A, U and M symbolize respectively speech vak , the mind manas and the breath of life prana , while the entire symbol stands for the living spirit, which is but a portion of the divine spirit.
The three letters A, U and M symbolize the absence of desire, fear and anger, while the whole symbol stands for the perfect man a sthitaprajna , one whose wisdom is firmly established in the divine. They represent the three genders, masculine, feminine and neuter, while the entire symbol represents all creation together with the Creator. They stand for the three gunas or qualities of sattva, rajas and tamas, while the whole symbol represents a gunatita, one who has transcended and gone beyond the pull of the gunas.
The letters correspond to the three tenses - past, present and future - while the entire symbol stands for the Creator, who transcends the limitations of time. They also stand for the teaching imparted by the mother, the father and the Guru respectively.
The entire symbol represents Brahma Vidya, the knowledge of the Self, the teaching which is imperishable. The A, U and M depict the three stages of yogic discipline, namely, asana, pranayama and pratyahara. The entire symbol represents samadhi, the goal for which the three stages are the steps. They represent the triad of Divinity, namely, Brahma - the creator, Vi! The whole symbol is said to represent Brahman from which the universate emanates, has its growth and fruition and into which it merges in the end.
It does not grow or change. Many change and pass, but Brahman is the One that ever remains unchanged. The entire symbol stands for this realization, which liberates the human spirit from the confines of his body, mind, intellect and ego. The word AUM being too vast and too abstract, he unifies his senses, will, intellect, mind and reason by focussing on the name of the Lord and adding the word AUM with one pointed devotion and so experiences the feeling and meaning of the mantra.
The yogi recalls the verses of the Mundakopanisad: Stretching it with a thought directed to the essence of That, penetrate the Imperishable as the mark, my friend. The mystic syllable AUM is the bow.
The arrow is the Self Atma. Brahman is the target. By the undistracted man is It penetrated. One should come to be in It, as the arrow in the mark. Dhyiina As water takes the shape of its container, the mind when it contemplates an object is transformed into the shape of that object. The mind which thinks of the all-pervading divinity which it worships, is ultimately through long-continued devotion transformed into the likeness of that divinity. When oil is poured from one vessel to another, one can observe the steady constant flow.
When the flow of concentration is uninterrupted, the state that arises is dhyana meditation. As the filament in an electric bulb glows and illumines when there is a regular uninterrupted current of electricity, the yogi's mind will be illumined by dhyana.
His body, breath, senses, mind, reason and ego are all integrated in the object of his contemplation - the Universal Spirit. He remains in a state of consciousness which has no qualification whatsoever. He sees the light that shines in his own heart. He becomes a light unto himself and others. The signs of progress on the path of Yoga are health, a sense of physical lightness, steadiness, clearness of countenance and a beautiful voice, sweetness of odour of the body and freedom from craving.
He has a balanced, serene and a tranquil mind. He is the very symbol of humility. He dedicates all his actions to the Lord and taking refuge in Him, frees himself from the bondage of karma action and becomes a Jivana Mukta a Liberated Soul. He dwells long years in the heaven of those who did good, and then he is reborn in the house of the pure and the great. He may even be born in a family of illumined yogis; but to be born in such a family is most difficult in this world.
He will regain the wisdom attained in his former life and strives ever for perfection. Because of his former study, practice and struggle which drive him ever onwards, the yogi ever strives with a soul cleansed of sin, attains perfection through many lives and reaches the supreme goal. The yogi goes beyond those who only follow the path of austerity, knowledge or service. Therefore, Arjuna, be thou a yogi. The greatest of all yogis is he who adores Me with faith and whose heart abides in Me.
At the peak of his meditation, he passes into the state of samadhi, where his body and senses are at rest as if he is asleep, his faculties of mind and reason are alert as if he is awake, yet he has gone beyond consciousness. The person in a state of samadhi is fully conscious and alert.
All creation is Brahman. The sadhaka is tranquil and worships it as that from which he came forth, as that in which he breathes, as that into which he will be dissolved. The soul within the heart is smaller than the smallest seed, yet greater than the sky, containing all works, all desires. Into this the sadhaka enters. Then there remains no sense of 'I' or 'mine' as the working of the body, the mind and the intellect have stopped as if one is in deep sleep.
The sadhaka has attained true Yoga; there is only the experience of consciousness, truth and unutterable joy. There is a peace that passeth all understanding. The mind cannot find words to describe the state and the tongue fails to utter them. Comparing the experience of samadhi with other experiences, the sages say: It is not this! The yogi has departed from the material world and is merged in the Eternal.
There is then no duality between the knower and the known for they are merged like camphor and the flame. There wells up from within the heart of the yogi the Song of the Soul, sung by Sankaracharya in his Atma Saikam. W hat Song of the Soul I am neither ego nor reason, I am neither mind nor thought, I cannot be heard nor cast into words, nor by smell nor sight ever caught: In light and wind I am not found, nor yet in earth and sky Consciousness and joy incarnate, Bliss of the Blissful am I.
I breathe no vital air, No elements have moulded me, no bodily sheath is my lair: I have no speech, no hands and feet, nor means of evolution Consciousness and joy am I, and Bliss in dissolution.
I cast aside hatred and passion, I conquered delusion and greed; No touch of pride caressed me, so envy never did breed: Beyond all faiths, past reach of wealth, past freedom, past desire, Consciousness and joy am I, and Bliss is my attire. Virtue and vice, or pleasure and pain are not my heritage, Nor sacred texts, nor offerings, nor prayer, nor pilgrimage: I am neither food, nor eating, nor yet the eater am I Consciousness and joy incarnate, Bliss of the Blissful am I.
I have no misgiving of death, no chasms of race divide me, No parent ever called me child, no bond of birth ever tied me: I am neither disciple nor master, I have no kin, no friend Consciousness and joy am I, and merging in Bliss is my end.
Neither knowable, knowledge, nor knower am 1, formless is my form, I dwell within the senses but they are not my home: Without firm foundations a house cannot stand. Without the practice of the principles of yama and niyama, which lay down firm foundations for building character, there cannot be an integrated personality.
Practice of asanas without the backing of yama and niyama is mere acrobatics. The qualities demanded from an aspirant are discipline, faith, tenacity, and perseverance to practice regularly without interruptions.
Before starting to practise asanas, the bladder should be emptied and the bowels evacuated. Topsy-turvy poses help bowel movements. If the student is constipated or it is not possible to evacuate the bowels before the practice of asanas, start with Sirsasana and Sarvangasana and their. Attempt other asanas only after evacuation. Never practice advanced asanas without having first evacuated the bowels.
BATH 4. Asanas come easier after taking a bath. After doing them, the body feels sticky due to perspiration and it is desirable to bathe some fifteen minutes later.
Taking a bath or a shower both before and after practising asanas refreshes the body and mind. FOOD S. Asanas should preferably be done on an empty stomach.
If this is difficult, a cup of tea or coffee, cocoa or milk may be taken before doing them. They may be practised without discomfort one hour after a very light meal. Allow at least four hours to elapse after a heavy meal before starting the practice. Food may be taken half an hour after completing the asanas.
TIME 6. The best time to practise is either early in the morning or late in the evening. In the morning asanas do not come easily as the body is stiff. The stiffness of the body is conquered by regular practice and one is able to do the asanas as well.
In the evening, the body moves more freely than in the mornings, and the asanas come better and with greater ease. Practice in the morning makes one work better in one's vocation. In the evening it removes the fatigue of the day's strain and makes one fresh and calm. Do all the asanas in the morning and stimulative asanas like Sirsasana, Sarvangasana and their variations and Paschimottanasana should be practised in the evening.
Do not practise asanas after being out in the hot sun for several hours. PLACE 8. They should be done in a clean airy place, free from insects and noise. Do not do them on the bare floor or on an uneven place, but on a folded blanket laid on a level floor. No undue strain should be felt in the facial muscles, ears and eyes or in breathing during the practice. In the beginning, keep the eyes open.
Then you will know what you are doing and where you go wrong. If you shut your eyes you will not be able to watch the requisite movements of the body or even the direction in which you are doing the pose. You can keep your eyes closed only when you are perfect in a particular asana for only then will you be able to adjust the bodily movements and feel the correct stretches. If you are doing the asanas in front of a mirror, keep it perpendicular to the floor and let it come down to ground level, for otherwise the poses will look slanting due to the angle of the mirror.
You will not be able to observe the movements of placing the head and shoulders in the topsy-turvy poses unless the mirror reaches down to the floor. Use a mirror without a frame. During the practice of asanas, it is the body alone which should be active while the brain should remain passive, watchful and alert. If they are done with the brain, then you will not be able to see your own mistakes. In all the asanas, breathing should be done through the nostrils only and not through the mouth.
Do not restrain the breath while in the process of the asana or while staying in it. Follow the instructions regarding breathing given in the technique sections of the various asanas as described hereafter. After completing the practice of asanas always lie down in Savasana for at least 10 to 15 minutes, as this will remove fatigue. Read carefully the hints and cautions for the practice of pranayama before attempting it see Part III.
Pranayama may be done either very early in the morning before the asanas or in the evening after completing them. If early in the morning, pranayama may be done first for 15 to 30 minutes: If, however, these are done in the evening, allow at least half an hour to elapse before sitting for pranayama. Do not start with Sirsasana and Sarvangasana if you suffer from dizziness or high blood pressure.
First practise Paschimottanasana Uttanasana, and Adho Mukha Svanasana before attempting topsy-turvy poses like Sirsasana and Sarvangasana and after doing these poses repeat Paschimottanasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana and Uttanasana in that order. All forward bending poses are beneficial for persons suffering from either high or low blood pressure.
Those suffering from pus in the ears or displacement of the retina should not attempt topsy-turvy poses. A void asanes during the men stru al period. On no account stand on your head nor perform sarvangasana, during the menstrual period.
All the asenas can be practi sed during the first three months of pregnancy. All the standing poses a nd the forward bending asanas may be done with mild movements, for at this time the spine should be made strong and elastic and no pressur e be felt o n the abdo-men.
Baddha Konasana and Upa vistha Kcnasana may be practised throughout pregnancy at an y time of the da y even after meals, but not forwa rd bending immedia tely after meals as these two esanas will strengthen the pelvic mu scles and the small of the back and also reduce labour pains cons iderably.
After delivery: No esenas should be done during the first month after delivery. Thereafter they may be practised mildly. Gradually increase the course as mentioned in the Appendix. Three months after delivery all asa nes ma y be practised with comfort.
Fau lty practice causes discomfort and uneasiness within a few days. This is sufficient to show that one is going wrong. If you cannot find the fault yo urself, it is be tter to approach a person w ho has practised well and get his guidan ce.
The right method of doing asanas brings lightness an d an exhila rating feeling in the body as we ll as in the mind and a feeling of oneness of body, mind and soul. Conti nuo us practice will cha nge the outlook of the practiser. He will discipline himself in food , sex, cleanli ness an d character and will become a new man. When one has mas te red an asa na, it comes with effortl ess ease and causes no discomfort.
The bodily movements beco me graceful. Wh ile performing asanes, the student's body assumes numerous forms of life found in creation - from the lowliest insect to the most perfect sage and he learns that in all these there breathes the same Universal Spirit - the Spirit of God. He looks within himself while practising and feels the presence of God in different esanas which he does with a sense of surrender unto the fee t of the LORD. These numbers befo re an asterisk indicate the intensity of the asana; the lower the number.
SdI7Ul upright. Stand erect wit h the fee t together, the heels and big toes touching each other. Rest the heads of metatarsals on the floor and stretch all the toes flat on the floor.
Tighten the knees and pu Uthe knee-caps up. Keep the stomach in, chest forward, spine stretched up and the neck stra ight. Do not bear th e weight of th e body eithe r on the heels or th e toes, bu t di stri bu te it evenly on them both. Ideally in T. In th is case, keep the arms parallel with the body. The fingers together and pointing downwards. Each of the standing poses described below can then be follow ed easil y, starting with the pupil standing in T.
Some sta nd with the body weight thrown only on one leg, or with one leg turned com pletely sideways. Others bear all the weig ht on the heels, or on the inner or outer edges of the feet. This ca n be noticed by watching where the so les and hee ls o f the shoes w ear ou t. Owing to ou r faulty met hod of standing and not d istribu ting the body weigh t eve n ly on th e fee t, we acqu ire specific d efonnities which ha mp er spinal elasticity.
Even if the fee t are kep t apart, it is be tter to keep the he el and toe in a line pa rallel to the median plane and not at an angle. By th is met hod, the hips are co ntracte d, th e abdomen is pulled in and the chest is broug ht forward.
O ne feels light in body and the mind acqu ires agi lity. If we stand with the body weight th row n only on the heels, we feel the centre of gravity changing; the hips become loose, the abdomen protrudes, It is therefo re essential to ma ster the art of stand ing correctly.
Asana, Pranayama, Philosophy, and Chanting Reduction of stress using transcendental meditation has Jan 28, - This study aims to test the effects of yoga on health-related quality of life, life satisfaction, cancer-related fatigue, mindfulness, and spirituality Center for Well-Being. Nittany Road. Lemont, Pennsylvania. Iyengar Yoga Ottawa Gatineau Association Summer Newsletter Anyone wishing to submit an article - words for the newsletter may do so by emailing Reprinted with permission from Yoga Rahasya Vol.
Judith and I were both In a recent article in Yoga Rahasya, Geeta Iyengar elaborates about this topic in For the yogis and yoginis, some background on Plato's theory of forms. Plato believed in an ideal realm of true being. Iyengar Bio. Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics and Director, Although written for Ananda Yoga teachers, this article will interest any serious practitioner BKS On the other hand, the ITechniques for stilling the mind through breathing exercises.