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How To Meditate Using The Yoga Sutras

Updated on December 26, 2015

Patanjali Yoga Sutras - Mind is an Action

Patanjali Yoga Sutras: You Are Unique & Infinite

The Yoga Sutras

The Yoga Sutras written by Patanjali (considered as father of modern yoga) help to outline the vital disciplines of this practice. This is where the integration of the physical, mental, and spiritual body is realized. Hence, proper meditation of the yoga sutras is important to gain those benefits.

Introduction to Patanjali's Yoga Sutras

Patanjali made a stellar contribution to the field of yoga when he introduced the Yoga Sutras, which is more commonly known as the eight-limbed path to yoga. All of the steps that a yogi has to make are intended to achieve Samadhi, or the ultimate level of bliss wherein you become one with the Divine Being.

But in order for you to achieve that, it is important that you have to every other elements to the Yoga Sutras are complied. For instance, doing solely physical exercises will not produce the same benefits as when you combine it with meditation and proper breathing techniques. And of course, you need to combine it with lifestyle choices that observe the guidelines provided in the Yoga Sutras.

Just to refresh your memory, here are the eight limbed path to yoga according to Patanjali:

  • yama or abstentions
  • niyama or observances
  • asana or postures
  • pranayama or proper breathing
  • pratyahara or withdrawal of the senses
  • dharana or concentration
  • dhyana or meditation
  • samadhi or state of pure bliss

Yama (Abstention) and Niyama (Observance)

The yama and niyama in yoga must always come together. They are placed as the first two stages in the eight-limbed path in yoga since they will serve to outline your actions. After all, discipline is an important component in yoga and you need to begin with your lifestyle choices.

The five yamas are: non-violence, truth in words and deeds, non-covetousness, abstinence from sexual pleasures, and non-possessiveness. Meanwhile, the five niyamas are: cleanliness (for mind and body), satisfaction and contentment, austerity, introspection, and surrender to God.

Meditation Tutorial- 9. Step Two: Asanas and Pranayama

Asanas (Postures) and Pranayama (Breathing)

Did you notice how each yoga asanas are paired with their corresponding breathing exercises? Indeed, the performance of a specific yoga exercise cannot offer the same benefits as when it is supplied with proper breathing. This combination of breathing exercises during execution of yoga poses help to nourish the physical and spiritual body.

More importantly, yogis are taught how to master control over their breathing such that they can also manipulate the flow of energy inside the body.

Pratyahara or Withdrawal of Senses

This stage in the Yoga Sutras is undeniably one of the most challenging since it requires enough mind control for one to withdraw their senses. And yet, it is very important in the practice of yoga such that those willing to achieve Samadhi must learn this technique. Your objective here is to set the stage for meditation by creating a separation with the external world. By doing so, you can effectively block off negative thoughts or emotions that prove unnecessary in your practice of yoga.

On the other hand, your senses become heightened such that it is easier for you to concentrate on this internal journey and pay more attention to your breathing patterns.

Pratyahara Dharana and Dhyana

Dharana or Concentration

Before you can achieve the next deep step into your practice of the yoga sutras, you need to focus your concentration first on a physical object. You can choose a specific object that will help you gain focus or exude the proper state of mind you need for the successful fulfillment of this step. But it is important not to lose sight of this exercise since you are only using the object as a medium for you to reach the contemplative state needed for meditation.

Dhyana or Meditation

In a quest to attain Samadhi, this one consists more than just simple meditation but a steadfast one. This is also the most important step in the yoga sutras since it incorporates some of the most enriching benefits that yoga can bring. In order for you to properly meditate, the previous sutra of concentration must be complied so you can attain the proper mindset needed for your spiritual meditation. At this point, your senses are heightened such that you are able to become increasingly sensitive with the subtle noises in your surroundings and yet be able to externally shut them out.

Samadhi or Ultimate Bliss

This is the ultimate goal in the practice of Yoga, which is why it is placed as the final step in the process of Yoga Sutras. When you reach this point, it indicates that you have achieved a sense of oneness with your object of meditation. It is hard to distinguish the object of meditation and your act of meditation. However, there are two types of Samadhi that one could aim for: samprajnata and asamprajnata.

Samprajnata Samadhi basically represents Samadhi achieved in the conscious state. To achieve this, you need to concentrate on your object of meditation. Hence, consciousness is important so you can mentally focus on what it is you are trying to meditate on. There are different levels when one speak of consciousness here: on a gross object, on a subtle object, on your senses, and the ego-substance.

The second form of Samadhi, known as Asamprajnata refers to the supraconscious. At this point, your consciousness and your object of meditation become transcendent.

Meditation, Samadhi and the Yoga Sutras

Practicing Yoga Sutra Meditation

Expert yogis agree that in order to achieve self realization and Samadhi with the practice of yoga, you need to properly meditate each aspect of the yoga sutras. This will help help produce a nurturing experience and boost the benefits that you can get. Here are some of the important things to consider during meditation of the Yoga Sutras:

  • Before anything else, always begin by acknowledging the presence of a Divine Being. This will facilitate in a successful meditation practice so you can achieve self-purification.
  • By shifting focus towards your internal self, you are able to identify any blockages that are present inside your body. Once identified, you can now figure out ways to eliminate those blockages and allowing smooth flow of energy throughout the various channels.
  • Understand how the negative emotions that you are feeling first came about. By doing so, you are able to pinpoint exactly what you need to do to eliminate or reverse it.
  • When you meditate your Yoga Sutras, you are freeing your physical and spiritual body from factors that introduce obstacle and cripple function.

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