Pratyahara The Fifth Limb of Yoga


This limb of practice helps to balance the senses and break undesirable and unnatural habits. Eventually this state of introspection and detachment from materialistic and egoistic desires leads to greater and better self-awareness and moves the mind, body and spirit to pursue a higher quality of spiritual being.

It is gr in this state that the practitioner can understand the intrinsic significance of all objects without K V using any of the tools’ – the real ‘Self becomes ill’ visible.

Pratyahara The Fifth Limb of Yoga Photo Gallery

Over the decades, the Sanskrit names Of the classical yoga postures have been modified and changed during translation somehave been chopped apart, had syllables cut, and sounds lost so that the whole meaning of the original word is lost. Sanskmm the context of yoga practice could lose its heritage if allowed to disintegrate in such fashion \ , . r ‘,

For the sake ofjimplicity, it i$ much easier to shorten Eastern names. However, should the responsibility of teaching Sanskrit – introducing it and using it in yoga practice – lie not only with the teacher but also with the student? From this point of view, every teacher remains a student because yoga is a lifelong practice. Iyengar encourages use of Sanskrit because the asanas are a reflection of the name. He says that the ‘names of the asanas are nouns. Each name conveys its meaning, and the student must understand the significance of it and then to put into practice.

As in Bhakti marga, japa (name), artha (meaning) and bhavana (feeling) are important. So are the names which convey the meaning and feeling of each asana. Nouns cannot be translated into other languages. John is John, can this be translated? Iyengar also believes that the fundamental teachings of yoga have not been diluted’ in contemporary times, and that there is authenticity in practice if you search for it. He observes that the subject (yoga) is very subtle, and the background of spiritual knowledge has faded from attention; it has become essential to guide from culturing the body, which is the container of the Self, so that the practitioners are trained from the culture of the body to move towards the culture of the self (small self) to sight the Soul. Practitioners of yoga are encouraged to study and apply the ancient text of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras to their practice. Iyengar agrees that it should be studied. Aside from that text, he also recommends the following texts for anyone interested in delving deeper into the philosophy of yoga: Hatha Yoga Pradapika, Gheranda Samhita, Shiva Samhita, Goraksa Samhita, Bhagavad Gita. 10 Major Upanishads and Yoga Upanishads. All these help the sadhaka to get the views of yoga before he follows the way of yoga.

Philosophy is an integral part of yoga, emphasised particularly in the discipline of jnana yoga and forms the bedrock of all the classical styles of yoga. It is used to challenge and understand the world around us. Many of the greatest visionaries used philosophy, and were considered dangerous factions by established orthodoxy. A student keen to make progress should make time to learn outside the ‘box’. Yoga is not just about asanas. However, learning without action will not be of much use either. You need to find a way to allow both to coexist – combining erudition and practice. Indeed Iyengar is an excellent example of this, as was his tparhpr T krichnamarharva

Iyengar interprets the meaning of jnana yoga thus, jnana is the skilful observation in the sadhana that is undertaken. And gaining this yukti (skill) from that to use is to further the sadhana – is for me jnana. Asana and pranayama being evolutionary parts of yoga, they develop jnana ‘

I ask him about the experience of ‘kundalini awakening.’ He replies that it is a subjective phenomenon and therefore “no explanation is needed. It is a divine power and divinity in sadhana is needed. The importance of moving from the body to spirit is recognised by Iyengar He says, I educate my pupils to move from the known -to move towards the unknown after knowing the known’ fully well.

Asked whether there are any stories or legends of ancient Saints and Babas from history that make Iyengar smile, and what their importance is, he replies, legendary stories of great historical people who stuck to principles are great eye openers for us to take as ideal examples to cultivate character and to lead an ethical life as far as possible. Mahatma Gandhi of non-violence, Buddha on enlightenment, Jona for conquering the senses. King Harishchandra on satya, Bhisma on celibacy are examples for us to know what life means, he adds.

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