Four sutras about yoga. The second sutra.
Simply about the Path of Yoga. Holding the concentration skill, the state of Light, the criterion for training the mind.
The terms: Path, Yama, Patanjali Yoga, Upanishad, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhiyana.
2.1. Many people live at the foot of the high mountains, but they never leave their valley. This is called “staying in the comfort zone.” That is, stay in your space, where everything is already familiar. And it’s okay to stay in your space.
2.2. Some climb, but not to the top, but to the middle of the road. To be in time to return home before dark (or for dinner). Each of us has its own limitations: internal or external. And it’s normal – to carry within yourself your limitations.
2.3. But there are “conquerors of peaks”. When you conquered one peak, you want to conquer others. This is the Way. That is, the Way is the conquest of the peaks.
2.4. While you are new, you need a guide to the top. In yoga, such guides are called teachers. And, each of the teachers, can only lead to those peaks that he himself conquered. Usually, one teacher sees only those peaks that are in the circle of his vision. Or, in the sphere of his interests.
2.5. In the sphere of Patanjali’s interests was Raja Yoga. The tops that were interesting to him, Patanjali described in his “Yoga Sutra.”
2.6. All Raja yoga, Patanjali describes in 4 short chapters. The essence of these four chapters is the description of the Path of yoga in achieving yogic goals.
2.7. Patanjali does not describe the way of practice of Asana. Patanjali does not describe the way of practice of Pranayama. Patanjali does not describe the path of Niyama. According to Patanjali, “Yoga is a training of stopping the activity of the mind.” Such training is called “concentration of attention.”
2.8. Regular practice of “concentration of attention” – teaches the mind to focus on the object, without distraction of attention to other objects, phenomena, thoughts, external stimuli.
2.9. But only concentration of mind on one object is not enough to fulfill the purposes of yoga. One has to constantly make efforts to keep the mind in a state of such concentration (on one object). The mind, as a separate object, persistently strives to escape from the state of concentration on one object.
2.10. Many adepts have suffered a complete fiasco in the way of “keeping one’s mind” in a state of “concentration on one object.” Perhaps this is the reason for a thought “it may be easier to try to simplify my practice?” Training the mind is too difficult. ” So came to life schools “body training”, or Asana, in its statics and dynamics. This is only an assumption.
2.11. Other adepts learned “concentration of the mind”, but met (on this inner path) with various obstacles that prevented “holding the mind” in the state of Concentration. There were many such obstacles, but one of the obstacles was the emotions of the adept himself. Emotions in the Concentration process, and in the process of Attention Hold. So there were schools of “training of emotions and feelings,” or Pranayama.
2.12. The third adepts “knocked out” of the Concentration and Retention of attention by various memories (the voice of Conscience) about the violation of the five great rules (the rules of Yama – the first step of the Eight-step yoga). So the schools of Yama appeared. The division into Asana or Yama schools is conditional. The teacher of any school can change the direction of his practice.
2.13. Therefore, each adept chooses his “spirals (circles) of yoga,” or the schools which he must pass. In order to start your journey in Raja Yoga. And for this, you need to cleanse yourself of the violations of the five rules of Yama. Or get the experience of subjecting the body – Asana. Or tame your emotions and feelings with Pranayama. And maybe, go through all three paths (schools) consistently.
2.14. When the body, emotions and feelings, memory do not interfere with Concentration, you can start. But, for each of these three schools, you can write a separate, multivolume study.
2.15. Concentration is a skill that can be exercised.
2.16. As the body trains, the mind also trains. How emotions are tamed – the “disturbances of the mind” are also tamed. As memory is cleansed of memories and mistakes of the past, the mind is cleansed.
2.17. Proper (successful) concentration creates its own result. It is a state of euphoria, an increase in the concentration of endorphins and other hormones of happiness. Or the state of “energy inflow”. Or the state of “purification of Consciousness” – or Light.
2.18. If it is possible to “maintain the correct concentration” for a long time, then the quantity and quality of Light (the influx of Energy, the state of Purity) is strengthened.
2.19. And, at this stage, there is a new obstacle – this is our Imagination. Imagination is a wonderful quality, but at this stage, it is an obstacle.
2.20. Obstacles on the Way – will always be. This will have to get used to. Without overcoming the Difficulties, it is impossible to conquer the Peaks.
2.21. So yoga is the stopping of the activity of the mind. What for? To concentrate the consciousness of the adept on one object, at one point. What does this concentration give? An increase in the number of endorphins, the state of balance, a sense of light, a sense of energy. Such energy, obtained as a result of concentration, can accumulate. Should be accumulated. The adept must train himself to accumulate energy, or Light, or states.
2.22. What does the practitioner encounter when concentrating? With obstacles. The mind (thought) tries to escape and “think” about anything other than the “object of concentration.” Yoga Patanjali teaches that one must subordinate one’s mind. Subordinate to his will. Simply because the Will is above Mind, as it is written in the Upanishads.
2.23. To “subordinate the mind”, his (mind) must be trained. How to train the mind? Practice concentration, for example on the tip of the nose. Or at another point, for example in the area of the third eye.
2.24. How does the adept know that his training is “right”? The adept receives energy, a sense of light, a state of joy and balance.
2.25. And what about obstructions? With obstacles, you can “work” differently, but the basic technology of yoga is ignoring the obstacles. Or stopping your reactions to the signals of the five senses. After all, it’s just signals. Like the phone’s ring. Do not notice. Turn off your attention from the signal. Do not turn off the signal itself, but break the connection between the signal and your attention to the perception of this signal. The practice of turning off one’s consciousness from the signals of the five senses is called Pratyahara. Pratyahara is the fifth stage of yoga, or the first, the initial stage of Raja yoga.
2.26. So, we have defined some steps of the Path.
Recognize your limitations (2.1 .- 2.2.).
Define your peaks(2.3 – 2.4.)
Identify your School and find your Explorer (2.4 – 2.14.)
Get your experience in the practice of concentration (2.14 .- 2.18.)
To realize the received Energy, Light, Happiness, as a result of your concentration (2.17 – 2.18.)
Learning to control your Imagination (2.19 – 2.20)
Get your experience in controlling the activities of the mind, namely, to forbid the mind to transform (think, imagine) thoughts, changing their forms. To force the mind to contemplate only on one object (2.17. – 2.24.)
2.27. All of the above is not Raja Yoga yet. This is the door to Raja Yoga. Threshold. Arch. Goal. This is “before”. Raja Yoga itself begins with Pratyahara (2.25.)
2.28. The rest is simple. The strength of concentration and the duration of concentration determine the result. As Patanjali wrote: “Success comes at the highest energy.” Dharana is the formation of the concentration skill. Dhyana is the practice of keeping concentration for a long time. What does it mean – the accumulation of energy. It is the accumulation of energy that leads to the states described in the Yoga Sutra.
2.29. These states are the Path of Raja Yoga. In such a superficial, simplified version. Simply, that would be where to begin.
2.30. Second sutra, lectures “Four sutras about Yoga”, finished.
Translation from Russian into English: AD Consulting LLC