Patanjali is known affectionately as the father of yoga. He wrote the first comprehensive manual about how to practice yoga in around 300 BC. The teachings included in his ‘Yoga Sutras’ had been passed on by word of mouth via chanting for many years before. Artefacts and scriptures from the Indus Valley have been carbon dated and suggest that they could be up to 3000 years old.
In his book of ‘sutras’ or threads, Patanjali provides short but profound sentences about how to develop a yoga practice and what the benefits of that can be. A simple overview of yoga can be seen in the ‘8 fold path’ or 8 limbs as is the direct translation.
The sutras were written in Sanskrit and the word for 8 limbs is ‘ashtanga’ – ‘ashta’ means 8 and ‘anga’ means limb. These 8 limbs or steps act as guidelines showing how to live a meaningful of live full of purpose and joy.
This process is best adopted gradually as and when one feels ready to commit. My view is to develop awareness of the controls of one’s mind and body through the practice of asana, pranayama, meditation and relaxation – just like we do in class. I think this is what Patanjali intended.
‘Eliminating impurity through continued practice of the eight limbs of yoga brings discernment and clear perception.’ Chaper 2, verse 28
‘The 8 limbs of yoga are:
Yama – respect toward others
Niyama – self restraint
Asana – posture practice
Pranayama – breath control
Pratyahara – detaching at will from the senses
Dharana – concentration
Dhyana – meditation
Samadhi – contemplation and absorption Chapter 2, verse 29
If you would like more information about this, or would like me to recommend further reading, please feel free to email me.