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The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: Guidelines from the Yoga Source

Updated: Aug 19, 2022

Guidelines from the Yoga Source:

“The work shall be performed with a stable mind inclined towards the planned schedule of actions. Success will follow automatically. This approach is the state of “Yoga”. - Bhagavadgita 2.48

This post is a special contribution authored by Stéphanie Vanwaelscappel, a Samyak Yoga Alumni

Yogini Tioka

What is Yoga? How can Yoga improve your life? What does “living a Yogic lifestyle” mean? With this blog post, you will learn the fundamental principles that are the basis of Yoga.

I will share practical ways and exercises to implement these principles into your daily life, with kindness and compassion towards yourself and others.

The Fundamental Definition of Yoga

The term “Yoga” is derived from Sanskrit. It means to bind, to join, to attach, to direct, or to use, to apply.

In the second aphorism of the first chapter of the Sutras of Patanjali, Yoga is a system of the mind rather than a system of the body.

Indeed, Yoga is defined as the inhibition and suppression of the fluctuations of Consciousness, or in Sanskrit, Yogah Chittavrittinirodhah.

Also, B.K.S. Iyengar, one of the foremost Yoga Teachers in the world of the 20th century, defines it as the union of one’s will with the Will of the Higher Self.

In practice, Yoga is a system that operates in all aspects of life, from the way we interact with people, to the way we think and even the way we breathe…

The True Purpose of the system is to gradually cultivate harmony between the Individual Self and the Universe.

From Fragmentation to Union

The Individual Self is composed of 8 aspects, from the most external to the most internal:

1. The Personality, which in western psychology is the outer appearance and behavior. It changes depending on situations. For example, personality might change at work or at home.

2. The Character, on the other hand, is the more permanent set of moral and mental qualities that guides a person in the choices he makes.

3. The Physical Existence, i.e. our Body.

4. The Vital Existence, i.e. our Prana.

5. The Sensory Existence, i.e. our 5 senses (sight, smell, touch, sound, and taste).

6. The Mental Existence, i.e. our Mind.

7. The Intellectual Existence, i.e. “Buddhi” or our Intellect.

8. The Spiritual Existence, i.e. our Spirit.

Dualities subsist for each aspect. They are caused by Avidya, which means ignorance or misconception of one’s True Nature.

Avidya is like a veil weaved by opinions, thoughts, and judgments resulting from many things: gender, culture, religion, education, looks, possessions, reputation, etc.

We carry this veil from the moment we are born and as we grow up, we add onto it.

This veil generates preconceived ideas of what we should look like, of how we should perform. If we don’t perform up to the standards defined by It, we become dissatisfied.

The more dissatisfied we are, the more we act out. The more dissatisfied we are, the more fragmented we become.

Thankfully, the consistent practice of Yoga brings many benefits. The veil of ignorance and fragmentation slowly disappears and The True Unified Self comes to the surface.

If you are are a Samyak Yoga Alumni and interested in contributing to Samyak Yoga Blog, please send an email for the details. 

Yoga article by Yogini Tioka
Stéphanie Vanwaelscappel,

Featured Author

Stéphanie Vanwaelscappel

Being from France, Stephanie is a 500 Hour Hatha Yoga and Tantra Teacher. She is a self-discovery coach as well as a Reiki Master. Do not hesitate to reach her not only for Tantra and Hatha Yoga classes, for distance Reiki Healing too.  

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