The Yoga Sutras – An Introduction

The Yoga Sutras – An Introduction

yoga teacherBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras have been translated from the original Sanskrit Devanagari Script, to English, many times – and in many ways. The Yoga Sutras, themselves, are precisely organized in padas. The best cross-reference to the term “pada” is chapter. Below is a brief overview of the four chapters of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

Samadhi Pada: This introductory chapter contains 51 sutras, which focus on the definition, practice, problems, solutions for practicing Yoga, and reaching higher states of consciousness, which we often refer to as “meditative absorption.”

Sadhana Pada: The second chapter contains 55 sutras, which concentrate on obtaining, and maintaining, mental focus. Sadhana Pada gives the reader details about how to cultivate states of attention (mindfulness), instead of living in a state of distraction. It seems that unfocused thought has been a timeless obstacle for humanity, and Patanjali explains why conscious attention is important, and what is involved in this practice.

Vibhuti Pada: The third chapter contains 55 sutras, and is a guide to the combined simultaneous practice of concentration (dharana), contemplation (dhyana), and communion (samadhi). This principle of “tying together” is a technique called “samyama,” which is a technique for acquiring a more in-depth state of focus.

Kaivalya Pada: This final chapter contains 34 sutras, which reveal the primary objectives of Yoga. To master one’s mind, develop a perception of pure clarity, and to be free from attachment , are the keys to spiritual freedom, outlined within the Kaivalya Pada.

If the reader’s first language is English, he or she is totally dependent upon the translator. There are many books, which translate the original writings into English, but all are different interpretations. Therefore, it is suggested that the readers spend time cross-referencing between authors.

This experience, of looking at each sutra, from different angles, is well worth the time. Patanjali wanted readers to contemplate each sutra in the order he organized them. In many ways, the Yoga Sutras were built as a guide for contemplation, meditation, and samadhi.  If the Yoga Sutras were not part of your teacher training, they should be part of your continuing education.

© Copyright 2011 – Paul Jerard / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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