Pranayama is a popular term now a days. But it is not just a breathing exercise!!! Let's see Pranayama from the eye of Patanjali Yoga Sutra. Maharishi Patanjali, the compiler of yoga sutras has enlightened the path of ashtanga yoga (the eightfold path of yoga). And Pranayama is the fourth limb of ashtanga yoga which comes after asana. He has mentioned some of the sutras about Pranayama in "Patanjali Yoga Sutra", one of the greatest work on yoga. The sutras are from chapter two, Sadhana pada starting from 49 to 53. In this blog the yoga sutras shares the knowledge about what is pranayama, stages of pranayama, goal, result and factors on which the practice depends. These five yoga sutras enlightens everything about the pranayama.
We all experience stressful conditions in day to day life and body has auto mechanism for it, that is fight or flight. But when this stress prolongs it starts damaging the mind and body. There are many incidents like death of loved ones, breakups, disease, huge financial losses and many which directly throw us into the hands of stress. Unhealthy stressful mind affects body adversely too. So the exercise to keep mind fit is Meditation.
Karma yoga is the union with God by doing. We can say it is "Yoga of Action". But what actions and how they need to be performed. In this context, the principle of Karma Yoga described in the Gita is most acceptable. Bhagavad Gita says that doing nishkama karma, the karma with non attachment, non desire, non intention is the way to attain yoga. What Lord Krishna says more on this, lets see.
The fifth limb of ashtanga yoga, the eightfold path of yoga, is Pratyahara प्रत्याहार. Maharishi Patanjali has complied two sutras for pratyahara. The sutras are mentioned in the classical work on yoga, Patanjali Yoga Sutra. The first sutra defines the pratyahara and the second one talks about the fruit of practicing it.
Why it is always advised to sit in meditative pose for meditation. We have seen many hindu Gods and goddess in meditative postures in pictures. Buddha, Master in jainism, hindu sages and many saints are our spiritual heritage who has always been seen in meditative poses. WHY?
Generally, Parikrama 'परिक्रमा', Pradakshina 'प्रदक्षिणा' or Circumambulation around deities and temples is very much popular among many traditions and cultures. It is not just a ritual that one should follow blindly. It has scientific basis too. As we all know temples, shrines, trees, mountains, rivers, parents, guru, scriptures and more all are the source of knowledge, wisdom and love. Either penance or some great positive stories are associated with them. These stories tell us how they became the source of energies.
Dharana - The concentration. Maharishi patanjali has compiled the yoga sutra on Dharana as "Desha Bhandhashchittasya Dharana". Focussing the chattering mind is necessary whether it is day today life or spiritual life. No work can be accomplished without focus. So lets understand the sutra for better lifestyle.