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Patanjali wrote the Yoga Sutras approximately 2000 years ago. Possibly fallen from heaven, possibly an incarnated serpent of Ananta, possibly the grandson of the creator of the Universe. Patanjali is considered the author or the compiler of the Yoga Sutras, an important collection of aphorisms on Yoga practice. In recent decades the Yoga Sutra has become quite popular worldwide for the precepts regarding practice of Raja Yoga and its philosophical basis. Colleen Quinn Email:

Sutra - thread A thread stating very concisely essential points or techniques leading to insight, truth, and union. In the Yoga Sutras, these threads weave together to form a complete tapestry. The Yoga Sutras are a collection of formulas that explain a path or method to become one with God. They are a tool kit meant for the self-realization of an individual. I illustrated this in my presentation by explaining how my Dad communicated to me Dont risk job. I explained that if I didnt heed his short yet powerful advice, I wouldnt have experienced the string of fortunate opportunities that led me to yoga. Lindsey Rozmes Email:

Kriya Yoga
Kriya Yoga - action of yoga It gives us the practical disciplines needed to scale to spiritual heights. Kriya=action, also implies perfect execution with study and investigation. It also means positive action and intense loving efforts to free ourselves. The union of the individual soul with the spirit is called kriya yoga. So without giving too much of other words away, it is composed of 3 tiers: tapas (burning desire to practice yoga and find spirituality and intense effort applied to the practice), svadhyaya (the study of scriptures to gain sacred wisdom and knowledge of moral and spiritual values, and the study of one's own self, from the body to the inner self), isvarapranidhana (faith in God and complete surrender to God). The act of surrender teaches humility. When these 3 tiers of kriya yoga are followed with zeal and earnestness, life's sufferings are overcome, and samadhi is experienced. When I gave my talk, I discussed my brother's death 8 years ago as the huge change in me that triggered me to help myself step away from the depression that was slowly pulling me in. However, I took myself away from God, and turned to cycling as a way to help take my frustrations and hurt away and put it to a good, healthy use. I had the first tier (tapas) come from my spiritual enlightenment at Starbucks with a guy that got me into my church. This turned into an inner self-reflection by doing a fast (svadhyaya) and really made some huge choices to cleanse myself and get to know more of who Meg was. Huge changes were made, goals and dreams were put into play, and a huge move to NY was made. This part of the tier I compared to the scaffolding around the LL studio much like the scaffolding around our hearts constantly be repaired and healed. Seeking for balance and building up myself came in a surprisingly strange and unexpected place as I found yoga at LL. Knowing that this was the last piece of the puzzle by surrendering control over to God (isvarapranidhana) to reach samadhi is why I handed everyone a piece of the puzzle. How each of us already has that piece of the whole world puzzle to find inner peace and freedom. God implanted that within us, and knowing that can help us reach that inner freedom. Megan Church Email:

Kleshas - mental obstacles Through the practice of Yoga we may begin to see that we have a role in the things that happen to us. Yoga focuses our perception. As we become more and more aware of our inner workings we will notice that certain inner obstacles frequently seem to prevent us from achieving happiness. In yoga these obstacles are the direct result of misperception and are referred to as kleshas or mental afflictions. The five kleshas, Avidya, Asmita, Raga, Dvesha, and Abhinivesha, are the basis for emotional pain. When we react to the world (or act out against the world) through the veil of misperception then we create more suffering in our lives and the lives of those around us. All human suffering is the result of these mental afflictions. Jimmy Hickey Email:

Gunas (tri-gunas) - Sanskrit for three strands of the material world. As explained to me from Yoga Journal, Gunas is comprised of three parts the gunas include tamas, sattva and rajas. Tamas is heaviness and is the polar opposite of sattva, which is spiritual consciousness. Sattva will help us become closer to our divine self. Rajas is the motivation behind anything its the passion the moves us. We want to live life in the state of sattva but we have to work though (rajas) tamas often. Its a continual process to combat the material world and enter into a state of being. Nicola Yvette Hughes Email:

Purusha the Self The dualism presented by the Yoga Sutras gives us detailed instructions on how to banish the 'clutter' so we can find the door to self-realization, the ultimate goal of yoga. Purusha exhibits dualism at the highest rung of the consciousness ladder. Without its opposite- Prakriti- we would be dysfunctional beings, without purpose and individuality. Purusha, by definition, refers to our individual souls; pure, unadulterated consciousness; the essence of our being. The merging of Purusha and Prakriti defines enlightenment. However, we cannot achieve this until we have descended the ladder of the human experience, during which we can encounter, examine, and transcend the forces of our human nature. Seeking the light (God, Universe, etc.) is inherent in our DNA, and when we allow ourselves to learn from the 'wrongdoings' we experience in this life, we can come fullcircle and back to the simplicity of Purusha, and then completeness. Emily Brown Email:

Prakriti - everything, the nature of 'The "seen" is Nature or Prakriti. As the stuff of creation, it is the source of everything that becomes an object of perception for the Self. Purusha + Prakriti go hand in hand like night and day. Iris Kish Email:

Karma - Made up of two concepts: 1. An action 2. The result of that action **Pantanjali says that every action will leave a result and every cause will bear its effect** Karma is always happening because actions are always taking place. Karma can "bear it's effect" at anytime and waits for the right moment to do so. In other words, karma needs the right body/mind and moment to bring forth the effect. This is why the effect can happen tomorrow, 3 years from now, or 6 lifetimes from now. If there's one thing I hope everyone can get into there minds about Karma its the following: Don't let your ego get in the way of your kind heart, do not do things because it "makes your a better person" do it because it's the only thing you can do in the moment because it came from your soul, your inner being. As Patanjali says, "Karma is neither black nor white". Do not judge & stop categorizing your actions. Live fully & let the kindness unfold out into the world from deep within. Sara Beth Yuschak Email:

sukha - happiness, ease, pleasure, bliss (antonym: suffering, stress, pain or anxiety) su "good" + kha "aperture" first used to describe the quality of the axle of wheels for ox-drawn carts. a good wheel = sukha, a not so good wheel = dukkha Simply stated the sutra Sukha means pleasure. You cannot experience sukha without dukha. In the Yoga Sutras there are three different sutras that specifically reference Sukha: 2.5 antiya ashuchi duhkha anatmasu nitya shuchi sukha atman khyatih avidya Ignorance is regarding the impermanent as permanent, the impure as pure, the painful as pleasant and the non-self as self. 2.7 sukha anushayi ragah Attachment is that which follows identification with pleasurable experiences. 2.42 santosha anuttamah sukha labhah By contentment, supreme joy is gained. In discussing Sukha I related the threading of the three sutras into the threading of a past relationship. Staying in a relationship for longer than I should have because I was mistaking the pain for pleasure. I was attached to the "good ol days" hoping they would resurface. They never did. Months after the break up, I was content, I was happy, I was Sukha. Keri Saul Email:

Dukkha - suffering, stress, pain or anxiety we cause on ourselves (Antonym: sukha - happiness, pleasure, ease) "du" - poor, bad quality, "kha" - hole, space first used to describe the quality of the axle of wheels for ox-drawn carts. a good wheel = sukha, a not so good wheel = dukkha Think of dukkha as the unnecessary stress or suffering we put on ourselves to reach a fleeting goal. I related the word dukkha to: wearing an uncomfortable pair of shoes, forcing myself into Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana and having a desperate need for Oreos. "Eat the Oreos. Savor the Oreos. And accept the single experience and learn to move away from it." At the end of the day, we fixate on certain things that don't necessarily make our lives any better, creating superfluous stress in the mind. The more we can learn to recognize, accept and act around the dukkha of our daily lives, the more we can begin to allow ourselves to quiet the mind and go deeper to explore what our minds, bodies and universe are trying to tell us. Nicanor Aldana Email:

Vivekakhyatir Aviplava Hanopayah - Uninterrupted discriminative discernment is the method for its removal. Viveka is a deliberate, continuous, intellectual effort to distinguish between the real and the unreal, the permanent and the temporary, and the Self and not-Self. It is the understanding that the essence of everything is the same even when it is ever-changing. Viveka is not discrimination, as in race, gender, ethnicity, etc. The sutra says that is basic understanding. However, real discrimination is to tell the original basic Truth from the ever-changing names and forms it assumes. If we could remember this, Patanjali says we would never face disappointment and there would be an end to unhappiness. My sutra book gives a great example of a log of wood. The log of wood dies to become a few planks; which die to become a chair; which then dies to become a piece of firewood; which becomes ash. The substance is still just a log of wood. On sutra day, I shared the story of moving out of my home. I come from a very old-fashion Italian family and it is common that the children stay home until they marry. I decided it would be best for me to move out after college and it stirred up a lot of problems with my family. But over the years, I had to learn that even with their disapproval and (very vocal) opposition, I am still me and definitely a good daughter, good sister, etc. In the end, my decision to move out has strengthened our relationship and has allowed me to live an honest and happy life. Enrica Francescone Email:

Yamas, and its complement, Niyamas, represent a series of "right living" or ethical rules within Hinduism and Yoga. These are a form of moral imperatives, commandments, rules or goals. Every religion has a code of conduct, or series of "do's and don'ts", and the Yamas represent one of the "don't" lists within Hinduism, and specifically, Raja Yoga. A yama, literally means "death", is a rule or code of conduct for living which will help bring a compassionate death to "the lower self" so we may reach our "evolved self." The yamas comprise the "shall-not" in our dealings with the external world as the Niyamas comprise the "shall-do" in our dealings with the inner world. Patajali lists only five yamas in his Yoga Sutras
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Ahimsa: non-violence Satya: truth in word and thought. absence of falsehood Asteya: non-stealing Brahmacharya : abstaining from sexual intercourse; It is commonly associated with celibacy Aparigraha: absence of avarice Wilhelm Mercado Email:

Niyama - restraint, observance, rule The second of the eight rungs of Yoga is the five Niyamas, which have to do with your relationship within yourself. They involve: 1. Saucha- Purifying your body and mind 2. Santosha- Cultivating an attitude of contentment 3. Tapas- Training your senses 4. Svadhyaya- Inner exploration 5. Ishvara Pranidhana- Letting go into your spiritual source Abby Huber Email:

Ahimsa non-violence The first yama is perhaps the most famous refers not only to physical violence, but also to the violence of words or thoughts. What we think about ourselves or others can be as powerful as any physical attempt to harm. To practice ahimsa is to be constantly vigilant, to observe ourselves in interaction with others and to notice our thoughts and intentions. I related this to a story from my childhood when I was very violent and hurtful with my words and how the repercussions of violent words not only affect the person you are being mean to, but yourself as well. Non-violence in the yoga sutra deals with not harming others in a physical and mental way, but it can also be about what we consume for food (as was talked about in yoga and vegetarianism.) Lauryn Yovino Email:

Satya (loose translation) truth Satya can be better expressed as one of the yamas as the benevolent use of words and the mind for the welfare of others. Speech is perhaps the most human of all our activities. Parents eagerly await their children's first words; paradoxically, before long they can't wait for them to be quiet. The spoken word has the capacity to inspire, frighten and delight. It is used to announce birth, mourn death and dominates most of the waking hours in-between. The world's great spiritual teachings all acknowledge that what we say has profound power to affect our consciousness. Satya is one of the five yamas, or restraints, that we are to incorporate into our lives. Because satya is presented as a yama, Patanjali's teaching on the subject has mainly been associated with restraint rather than with actionwith what we should refrain from doing rather than with what specifically we should do. The teaching of satya is not presented in this manner as an accident or oversight. In most ways, the practice of satya is about restraint: about slowing down, filtering, carefully considering our words so that when we choose them, they are in harmony with the first yama, ahimsa (nonviolence.) Patanjali and his major commentators state that no words can reflect truth unless they flow from the spirit of nonviolence. It is clear that Patanjali did not want his readers to confuse satya with speech that might be factually accurate but harmful. Your dress may be the ugliest one I have ever seen, but it is not necessarily practicing satya to tell you so. Veronika Carmichael Email:

Asteya - non-stealing In the Yoga Sutras it says that if you practice asteya you will receive precious gifts. The practice of asteya reveals to you that we have more than enough, most of the time more than we need. Asteya doesn't just mean just stealing material possessions but also stealing time, stealing love and stealing energy from people. We should be conscious of how our actions affect those around us. Every action has a reaction. Being environmental conscious and not stealing natural resources from Mother Nature. Not stealing the life of an animal. When we realize that there is so much more to life then just what we look at in the mirror everyday we want to give of ourselves rather than take This word is hard for me. Asteya means not taking something that wasn't freely given. It has been difficult for me to sit down and do this because all I think about is my brother. I think why was he stolen from me? His 1-year anniversary is next week and I know that through all of the pain there is beauty... I probably wouldn't be on this yoga journey. Life is precious and I'm thankful for all minutes I have in each day. April Valencia Email:

From Brahma, shortened from Brahman, the absolute eternal supreme Godhead; as opposed to Brahm the deity of the Indu triad responsible for creation. Charya means to follow, often translated as a mode of behavior corresponds to a virtuous way of life. A way of life that we adopt to achieve a godly way of life or in yogic terms a supreme reality, and referred in the Iyengar transcription of the Patanjali Sutras as sexual abstinence, or at least as control of involuntary production of semen. The preoccupation with control over semen is not unique to the Sutras as the Chinese philosophy makes reference of it importance in the Tao and it is quite clear of its benefits to anyone having seek satisfaction with an inexperience or young lover. Boxers are known to avoid production of semen before an important match lest it dulls their edge as those who watched Ragging Bull may remember. Iyengar also gives us information about the great Yogi Vasista who had fathered one hundred children and possessed a cow named Kamadhenu or Nandini who could instantly produce food enough for a whole army. If you bowed enough to Nandini you could be granted a child even if previously had been unsuccessful. Vasista was considered a brahmachari. There is also a directive to strict abstinence for a period of 12 years "to realize God." Beyond the parabola it appears that in the yogic tradition if you act in restrain and truth you sublimate male sexual energy rather than losing it through ejaculation. In Hindu as well as pre-vedic traditions the spiritual aspirant is directed to attain self mastery of sexual energy, in deed, mind and speech so as to avoid any harm to self or others on the levels of body, mind or spirit. One who follows Brahmacharya is either a brahmacharini or brahmachari, depending on sex. Maybe the words on our bathroom door apply: Only speak if you can improve on silence.

Marc Paturet Email:

Aparigraha - one of the yamas that means to receive; take what is appropriate and not more (Antonym: parigraha - to take or to seize) Aparigraha is not taking more than you need or is appropriate. This idea can apply to many situations such as eating when we're no longer hungry, taking a plastic bag for our groceries instead of using a reusable bag, choosing foods that have been shipped from far-off places instead of eating locally grown produce and even imbalances in personal relationships where one person "takes" more than another. I think this yama is very appropriate for us because we live in a culture that continually tells me that we don't have enough and that we need more. We are bombarded daily by messages that tell us that the accumulation of material goods will bring us happiness and/or easing our suffering. This yama reminds us to only take what we need and to limit what we own so that we can make space for selfreflection and meditation. Aparigraha is covered in sutra 2.39. Nurit Bloom Email:

Sauca - cleanliness; purity It can apply to both the external body, our surroundings and environment as well as the internal body. We seek to keep our physical body clean, feed it pure food and keep our environments clean and uncluttered. Our asanas and pranyamas allow us to help keep our internal and external bodies pure. It is the focus on the upper chakras - the 6th and 7th and meditation practice that allows us to "unclutter the mind." When we keep things pure and clean - our bodies, our surroundings and our mind, we can focus and concentrate on our spirituality more easily and this will lead to contentment. Nancy Baroutas Email:

Santosa - contentment Santosa, one of the niyamas, is the feeling of being content with what we have. To be at peace within and content with one's lifestyle finding contentment even while experiencing lifes difficulties for life becomes a process of growth through all kinds of circumstances. We should accept that there is a purpose for everything - yoga calls it karma and we cultivate contentment 'to accept what happens'. It means being happy with what we have rather than being unhappy about what we don't have. How could I be content with what I had if I was always searching for more? After the release of my addictions in my life is when santosa entered my life. I had to learn to be content with all the things that transpired in my past. I had to embrace the idea of loving myself and being happy in my own skin. True contentment was the day I was able to wake up, see the sun shining and the birds chirping to finally realize in that moment, for the first time in a long time, I didnt have a hangover. I was freed from the bondage. Damita Charmichael Email:

Tapas heat In Vedic religions and HInduism, it is used figuratively for a "tapasah" which is a Vriddhi word meaning "ascetic". In the yogic tradition, tapasya is translated as "essential energy", referring to a focused effort. In the yoga sutras of patanjali, tapas is one of the niyamas and it refers to selfdiscipline. Through tapas, a yogi is generates heat that will burn away any impurities. Alanna Gregory Email:

Svadhyaya - it is the study of the self, which helps you understand yourself. Svadhyaya represents an on-going process through which we can access where we are at a given moment. Svadhyaya suggests that we can use all our activities - solitary, relational - as mirrors in which to discover something important about ourselves and that we can use what we discover as valuable information in the process of arriving at a deeper selfunderstanding. All our relationships, activities (sports, writing, reading, sacred texts - yoga sutras - , asanas) are opportunities to see more deeply who we are and how we operate and on that basis can begin to refine ourselves and thus become clearer and more appropriate in our behaviors. Florence Bazin Email:

Ishvara Pranidhana
Ishvara pranidhana is the last of the five niyamas, and according to Patanjali, its ultimate part of the three-fold path of kriya yoga, the yoga of action, after tapas and svadhyaya. Pranidhana means surrender or submission and Ishvara means God, or Divine Power, or the Oneness of the Universe. So Ishvara Pranidhana can mean submission to God, or offering the fruits of your labors to the divine, or living in service to the greater good. During the last week, weve all been sharing our words with each other, and Ive gotten some interesting responses to mine. A couple of you were excited for me, but for the most part, Ive gotten, Whew, good luck. I wouldnt want God. Heavy. So Id like to speak for a moment to the discomfort that the word God brings up. Everybody close your eyes, and take your hands to a prayer at the center of your heart. I want to ask the room a few questions, and I promise, I am not going to judge you for your answers. I just want to get a sense of the range of beliefs in the room. So, if the answer is yes to any of the following questions, I want you to wiggle your fingers. I only ask that you be honest. Do Do Do Do you you you feel believe that people can love each other? If so, wiggle your fingers. believe that God exists? Wiggle your fingers. believe that God does not exist? Wiggle your fingers. like you really dont know? Wiggle your fingers.

Now open your eyes. So, theres a range of beliefs in the room. And thats every room you will ever walk into. If you decide to teach, every class will be filled with people who have a range of beliefs. And thats where the discomfort comes from. Everybody wants to feel like they got it right. Everybody wants to feel that their perception of the universe is correct. And when you know that people disagree with you over something as fundamental as God, its disturbing. When people see something that you dont see, or they dont see something that you do see, its unsettling. It can make you doubt yourself, or it can make you start to judge other people. The judgments surrounding other peoples spiritual beliefs can be so harsh. Atheists and agnostics often dismiss people of faith as infantile, delusional, and moralistic, while people of faith accuse atheists of being arrogant, blind, and morally bankrupt. I think everyone in here has probably had one set of thoughts or the other. I

know I have. While I wouldnt ever attempt to tell you what to believe, I ask that you hold off on the judgments. They wont teach you anything. They wont help you to connect with other people or understand them. At best, theyll accomplish nothing, and at worse, they can hurt people or push them away. So with all of that in mind, Ishvara pranidhana. Its one of those phrases that has as many meanings as people who translate it. But to me it means when your ego finally melts away, and all of your actions, on and off the yoga mat, become part of the bigger picture. Remember a few weeks ago when we talked a little about the difference between the ego in Western and Eastern philosophy? Well, right now, Im talking about the Eastern ego. In Eastern philosophy, you often hear a lot about the annihilation of the self or the destruction of the ego, but Ive never liked those translations. I think they are a little too harsh to represent a mindset that preaches nonviolence. Also, it seems to me that nothing is being destroyed at all. The idea is more that you are dispelling the illusion that your selfyour soul, your egois separate from the rest of the universe. Here is an image that helps me to understand this idea. A human life is a wave in the ocean. It rises when we are born, and it falls when we die. But it never separates from the ocean. It is the ocean. Its made of ocean. And when you feel this truth, then you want to take care of nature and animals and yourself and other people because you are all part of the same thing. You want every action you take to be in harmony with the universe. Now, do I actually feel this connection when I step onto my yoga mat? No! Im an earthy girl. Maybe its all the kapha inside of me, but Ive never been able to connect to things in a spiritual way. My head doesnt go up there. I can say all these words, and I understand them intellectually, but Im nowhere near feeling them in my practice. So let me tell you how I actually connect with the bigger picture. Growing up, I was a devout atheist, even as a child. I didnt believe in God or an afterlife, or anything else I couldnt see or touch or feel. Whenever the word God would come up in a class or in a speech, Id check out. Id stop paying attention because the subject matter wasnt something I could relate to; God was for other people. But my senior year in high school, something changed for me, just a little. For a journalism project, I interviewed the first female minister ever to be ordained in the state of Texas. On the one hand, I was excited to meet her because she was an 80-year-old feminist and a trailblazer, but on the other hand, I was nervous because she was a woman of God.

The day before I met her, shed been mugged. She arrived at the interview hobbling, and she had a black eye. But none of that seemed to reduce her energy. She answered all of my questions with humor, enthusiasm, kindness, and wisdom. At the end of the interview, she asked me a question. She said, Jenny, do you believe that people can love each other? I said that I did, and then she said: Good, because I can tell that you dont believe in God, and thats OK. You dont have to believe in God to live a good life or to be a good person. Love is all the faith you need. Because the truth is that God is love, so if you believe in love, then you believe in God, whether you know it or not. From that day on, whenever I hear people talking about Godin a house of worship or in school or in a yoga classI substitute in the word love for God. If someone says, God can give you peace and comfort in times of trouble, I hear Love can give you peace and comfort in times of trouble. Instead of God forgives, I hear love forgives. Substituting love for God helps me to connect with faith. It allows me to stay in the room when God come up and feel like I belong there. Its funny, but substituting love for God over the years taught me a few things. Its a good test. People arent always talking about God when they invoke his name. The terrorists who flew the planes into the World Trade Center believed that they were doing Gods will, but killing thousands of strangers is not an act of love. Its not in keeping with God. I think God is for gay marriage. Love is for gay marriage. God is Love, and Love is my Ishvara. I usually dedicate my practice toward loving people, especially people who are very different than I am. Thats how I connect to something bigger than myself. And maybe by practicing love, Im practicing my faith in God, whether I know it or not. Theres another way to say Ishvara, and we practice saying it all the time. AHM begins with A, the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet, and ends with M, the final constant. The A is the first sound in the back of the throat, and the M is the last sound at the front of the lips. As you AHM, moving from the back to the front, you pass through all the sounds in between, all the words that can be spoken. Ishvara is everything that can be said. So Id like to close my talk with three rounds of AHM.

Ahm, ahm, ahm. Jennifer Drapkin Email:

Asana - seat/posture/practice of postures The positioning of the body as a whole with the involvement of the mind and soul. In the beginning, effort is required to master the asana. This could take a long time. However, once the effortful effort becomes effortless, we have mastered the asana. While performing the asana, one has to relax the cells of the brain and activate the cells of the vital organs and of the structural and skeletal body. Then intelligence and consciousness may spread to every cell. The conjunction of effort, concentration and balance in an asana help us to live intensely in the present moment, a rare experience in modern life. The actuality of being in the present has a cleansing effect on the body and mind: ridding the body of physical ailments and the mind of stagnated thoughts and prejudices. The body is the temple of the soul. It can truly become so, if kept clean, healthy and pure through the practice of asanas. Asanas act as bridges to unite the body with the mind and the mind with the soul. It lifts a person from the clutches of desire and leads him towards disciplined freedom. Then help to transform him by guiding the consciousness away from his body and towards the awareness of his soul. Through asanas, the person comes to know and fully realize the finite body and merge it with the infinite - the soul. Then there is neither the known nor the unknown. Only then does the asana exist wholly. This is the essence of a perfect asana. Below are three sutras that deal mainly with asanas: Sthira Sukham Asanam -- Asana is the perfect firmness of the body, steadiness of intelligence and benevolence of spirit. In any asana, the body has to be toned and the mind tuned so that one can stay longer with a firm body and a serene mind. The practice of a variety of asanas, clears the nervous system and causes the energy to flow in the system without obstruction and ensures and even distribution of energy during pranayama. Prayatna Saithilya Ananta Samaapattibhyam -- Perfection in an asana is reached when the effort to perform it becomes effortless and the infinite being within is reached Asana perfection should be attained through perseverance, alertness and insight. Without this we remain dull and make no progress. When a person has reached a state of balance, attention, extension, diffusion and relaxation take place simultaneously in body and intelligence, and they merge in the seat of the soul. This is a sign of a release from the dualities of

pleasure and pain, contraction and expansion, heat and cold, honor and dishonor etc. Tatah Dvandvaah Anabhighaatah -- From then on the person is undisturbed by dualities The effect of asanas is to put an end to the dualities or differentiation between the body and mind and the mind and soul. Opposites cannot exist for a person who is one in body, mind and soul. When the body, mind and soul unite in a perfect posture, the person is in a state of beatitude. In that exalted state, the mind, which is at the root of dualistic perception, loses identity and ceases to disturb him. There is no longer joy or sorrow, heat or cold, honor or dishonor, pleasure or pain. This is perfection in action and freedom in consciousness. Shruti Mulage Email:

Pratipaksha Bhavanam
Pratipaksha Bhavanam - cultivating opposite perspectives, becoming the other Pratipaksha Bhavanam is a practice of controlling the mind and gradually guiding it to act in accordance with our yogic goals. The Great Vow of Yoga is the vow to abstain from violence, dishonesty, stealing, reckless indulgence, or greed. Even once we have committed to this path, we all falter from time to time we may make rude comments, act harshly, or covet something that belongs to a friend just to name a few! Pratipaksha Bhavanam is a method that helps us catch these destructive and distracting thoughts, and redirect our minds back toward the yogic path. This is done by actively cultivating thoughts of the opposite nature when a destructive thought arises. It can even be as simple as formulating the opposite thought. Sometimes I find that just thinking the opposite thought brings me instant calm and relief. It feels better to think compassionate thoughts! My load feels lightened, and I am reminded of who I want to be (or even of who I really am!). In especially difficult instances, it may be necessary not just to think the opposite response, but to reflect on the different possible responses to whatever is upsetting us to carefully consider not only the response itself, but the consequences that response will have on us and others. These methods remind us that other options exist! When we are feeling caught up in cycle of destructive thoughts, it is very unpleasant Our judgment is obscured by the murkiness in the mind, and we may say or do something that we later wish we had not done. Such feelings have a trapping nature both physically and mentally we feel tight, confined, and trapped in a corner. Pratipaksha Bhavana opens the doors for us. By creating the opposite thought and reflecting on the possible consequences of our thoughts, words, and deeds we are instantly given more options for thinking, feeling, and behaving. We move from reacting to choosing. We are taken out of the cave and up to the mountaintop, from where we can see in every direction; we can see every way down the mountain and so we are able to pick the best option. Meltem Oner Email:

Pranayama - regulation of the in and out breath with retention prana - auto-energizing life force that is within us and all around us ayama - regulation, expansion, prolongation, control Patanjali says that pranayama should not be undertaken until "perfection in asana is attained." The perfection he is talking about is less related to making a picture-perfect shape in a pose, and more related to finding awareness and harmony in the execution of asana. In Master P's own words, perfection in asana is when "effort becomes effortless and the divine being within is reached." Think of it as relaxing into the perfection of being present rather than grasping for a future ideal. This ordering of asana before pranayama offers a way of moving from gross to subtle--developing self-awareness via the tangible, physical body before moving into awareness of the more subtle layers of being via pranayama. Patanjali says that citta (consciousness) and prana are linked. In other words, energy follows consciousness. As we bring our consciousness to our breath as we mindfully practice pranyama, we allow prana to move with greater efficacy through our physical and subtle bodies, creating unity between prana, citta, and breath, and preparing us for ever more subtle spiritual practice. Carrie Firestone Email:

Pratyahara - To withdraw the senses from the mind Pratyahara is the fifth limb of yoga according to Patanjali. Pratyahara must not be practiced until you have mastered the following: Yama- truthfulness, Niyama-self exploration, Asana-physical yoga postures, and Pranayamaexpansion of vital energy based on the study of the breath. Once all four of these limbs are mastered pratyahara can then be studied. Pratyahara is the bridge between the external and internal aspects of yoga. The objective of pratyahara is for the senses to rest quietly allowing the mind to become ripe for meditation. One way to practice pratyahara is by performing Bharamari or Humming Bee Breath. Shael Berni Email:

Dharana - intense concentration; one-pointed focus "dhr" : "to hold", "to maintain" described by Patanjali (grand master P) as: "the binding of the mind to a particular place" dharana is the sixth limb of astanga yoga, and the first limb of "samyama yoga" (holding together, tying up, binding), which is a culmination of the last three limbs of astanga yoga (dharana, dhyana, samadhi). the three are often paired together, & are helpful in identifying each other, but they are all separate entities and limbs-- however, they are also progressive (so you cannot achieve dhyana without first having dharana; you cannot reach samadhi without either dharana, or dhyana). dharana is an intense concentration on a single object that can be either internal or external. common techniques of practicing finding dharana are japa (chanting mantra), or gazing at an external object (most commonly, seekers use a candle & stare at the flame). once dharana happens, it can become dhyana (meditation). in samyama yoga, a good way to examine it is by looking at it in three steps with three vital components: there is the meditator, the act of meditation, & the object of meditation. at first, all three exist separately: the meditator is actively concentrating on the object of meditation; there is MOVEMENT, of the mind-- the action of meditation is happening, and this is dharana. when the action of meditation disappears so that there is a direct connection between the meditator & object of meditation, dharana sublimates into dhyana. for my presentation I used the candle in the middle of the room. you, sitting in the circle, represented the meditator, I represented the action of meditation & the candle represented the object of meditation. this is not perfect, but is a metaphor. so, as you concentrated on me, as I MOVED around the room, toward you, this was dharana; there were still three SEPARATE entities (me, you & the candle). once I touched you, there was a connection, & then only TWO things existed separately: a union of you & I (the action of meditation disappears)-- and the object of meditation (the candle). once the contact between you & I was initiated, dharana ended, in this symbolic example. also, essential to note-- you CANNOT "make" dharana happen. we can only set it up so that it is possible; just as in samyama, without samadhi being possible without both dharana and dhyana, dharana cannot spontaneously happen without the realization of all first five limbs of astanga yoga (yamas, niyamas, asana, pranayama, pratyahara). all of our work in the "lower limbs" of astanga yoga prepare us for dharana...

Victor Colletti Email:

Dhyana (dhyai) - "to contemplate, meditate, think" Dhyana is one of the eight limbs of Yoga. It is the most common designation both for the meditative state of consciousness and the yogic techniques by which it is induced. The term dhyana is widely used to refer to the contemplative process that prepares the ground for the ecstatic state Samadhi. The entire Eight Limbs of the Patanjali system are also sometimes referred to as Dhyana, or the meditative path, although strictly speaking, only the last four limbs constitute meditation Pratyahara, Dhyana, Dharana, and Samdhi. The preceding steps are only to prepare the body and mind for meditation. During dharana, the mind becomes unidirectional single-minded focus. While during dhyana, it becomes ostensibly identified and engaged with the object of focus or attention. That is why, dharana must precede dhyana, since the mind needs focusing on a particular object before a connection can be made. If dharana is the contact, then dhyana is the connection. Obviously, to focus the attention to one point will not result in insight or realization. One must identify and become "one with" the object of contemplation, in order to know for certain the truth about it. In dharana the consciousness of the practitioner is fixed on one subject, but in dhyana it is in one flow.

Samadhi - absorption, profound meditation Sam : together or integrate a : toward dha : to get, to hold Other etymological analysis include: "Sama" (even) "dhi" (intellect) Sama (a state of total equilibrium) dhi (of a detached intellect) Samadhi is the fruit of meditation, the state that the mind is awakened and feels like there is no thought, no time, no space, no self, no physical body, no judgment, etc almost nothing exists in the state of samadhi except the mind. Samadhi can be found in our daily lives if we are mindful and observe our own minds, for example: When reading a book, if the mind is truly concentrating on reading, at some point, some momentwe reach a point of samadhi. When samadhi is reached, the mind will be able to understand the meaning behind the words and will be open to learning. To be able to taste a higher state of Samadhi, we need to spend more time on meditation, either walking or sitting meditation, asana or any number of meditation techniques. When in Tree pose, I notice immediately that it's hard to stand on one leg and keep my balance. But, there are moments, through breath and meditation, when I can keep my mind very stillnot moving, not traveling anywhere. Theres stillness in my body and in my mind (even though I may fall a second later) and I get a glimpse of samadhi. The more glimpses of samadhi I allow my mind to experience, the easier it is to reach samadhieventually realizing the higher levels and power of samadhi. Latdawan Chanthawong Email: