HISTORY AND THEORY

The ancient Sage Patanjali was the first to systematize the practices of Ashtanga Yoga, of which Satvana Yoga is largely based. The second verse of his famous Yoga Sutras defines Yoga in this manner: “Yoga is the cessation of thought-waves in the mind.” At Satvana Yoga, our contention is that when we stop thinking, we can begin to turn our attention inward, and come to realize the great Warrior Heart within us. Yoga literally translates as “union”. When the mind is stilled, we can attain union with our Divine nature, Warrior Heart, Higher Self and ultimately, with God.

Patanjali described the process for the attainment of true Yoga as having eight parts, or limbs. For this reason Patanjali’s Yoga is referred to as Ashtanga Yoga (Ashta = Eight and Anga = Yoga.) The Eight Limbs are divided into two categories known as Yama (Moral Restraints) and Niyama (Observances).

The first four limbs of Ashtanga Yoga are external methods, the last three limbs are an internal process, and the fifth limb is the bridge between the external and internal.

EXTERNAL METHODS

Yama (Moral Restraints)

  • Ahimsa (Non Violence) To refrain from causing pain to any living being, including oneself. Every action, word or thought that causes pain to another – any thought containing anger, greed, lust, or attachment – is a form of violence. For the Warrior serving in the capacity of a Law Enforcement or Military Operator, action in the performance of duty is not considered violence.
  • Satya (Truthfulness) To develop honesty and to avoid deceiving others and oneself. Satya requires one to be diligent with their speech and to be impeccable with their word. 
  • Asteya (Non Stealing) To avoid any type of misappropriation of material or non-material thing. Non material things include stealing another ideas, time, or energy. When Asteya is perfected, one is freed from the illusion of ownership, and realizes the importance of storing up ones treasures in Heaven. 
  • Brahmacharya (Continence) To conserve and in a disciplined and aware manner, direct ones life force. Literally translated, Brahmacharya means, “To walk on God’s path.” 
  • Aparigraha (Non Hoarding) To avoid the accumulation of unnecessary possessions, unhealthy thoughts and habits, and attachment of all types.

Niyama (Observances)

  • Shaucha (Purity) To cultivate cleanliness of the body and purity of the mind. To develop purity of word, thought and action. To remain in a state of positivity.
  • Santosha (Contentment) Contentment is achieved when the mind is freed from the illusion of aversion and desire, or pleasure and pain. To develop the witness and awareness of ones thoughts, and the gap between thoughts.
  • Tapas (Austerity) Literally translated, Tapas means, “To burn”. In Yoga, Tapas means the burning of all desires through discipline, training and willpower. When austerity is perfected, one gains mastery over the mind and body.
  • Svadhyaya (Scriptural Study) The study of the Bible, any scriptures, self-inquiry, prayer and Union with God. Self study is accomplished by reflecting deeply on the question, “Who am I?”
  • Ishvarapranidhana (Surrender to God) Recognition that the limited ego-self is an illusion of the mind, and that we are in fact a Spirit manifested in a temporary body. Our true nature is One with God, or the Universe. One who understands Ishvarapranidhana achieves self-realization of their true nature, and sees themselves in everyone and everything.

In addition to the Yama and Niyama, Patanjali taught these other external practices:

Asana (Posture or Seat) The literal translation for the word Asana means “seat”, particularly referring to a mediation posture to promote concentration of the mind. Asana helps to strengthen the body, improve flexibility, and develop durability and resilience.

Pranayama (Breath Control) The word Pranayama is made of two parts: Prana which means “vital energy” and Ayama which means “expansion.” Therefore, Pranayama is a method of expanding life-supporting energy.

The fifth limb of Yoga is the bridge between the external and internal methods.

INTERNAL METHODS

Pratyahara (Withdrawing the mind from sense perception) The word Pratyahara means “reversal” or “withdrawal”. This practice teaches the student how to turn the attention inward. Normally, the mind wanders from one sense object (or thought) to another. This habit pulls the mind outward. By practicing the first four limbs of Yoga, one gradually learns how to turn inward, and focus on ones true nature and God.

Dharana (Concentration) The word Dharana is derived from the root word Dha which means “to hold, carry or support.” In Dhahran the mind dwells and concentrates on the chosen object and is not allowed to wander about freely and habitually.

Dhyana (Meditation) Unlike Dharana which focuses the mind steadily upon any given object, Dhyana focuses the mind upon God and ones true nature as a Divine self.

Samadhi (Superconsciousness) Samadhi means, “To hold together completely.” In this final limb of Yoga, the student identifies as One with God, the Universe, and Creation.

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We look forward to sharing our passion for authentic, traditional Yoga, and an integrated modern Warrior practice, with you at Satvana Yoga in Pleasure Point, California.

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