Attaining Yoga or Union:

Attaining Yoga or Union:
Yoga or "Union" is attained by first training, balancing, and purifying each of the aspects of our being individually, and then systematically receding attention inward through those levels, expanding so as to experience the state of Union, Yoga, Samadhi, or Turiya.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Reason for the Eight Rungs of Yoga

Swami Jnaneshvara

The Eight Rungs of Yoga are well known, and are (including Yoga Sutra

1) Yama: codes of restraint, abstinences (2.30, 2.31)
2) Niyama: observances, self-training (2.32)
3) Asana: meditation posture (2.46-2.48)
4) Pranayama: expansion of breath and prana (2.49-2.53)
5) Pratyahara: withdrawal of the senses (2.54-2.55)
6) Dharana: concentration (3.1)
7) Dhyana: meditation (3.2)
8) Samadhi: deep absorption (3.3)
Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi are together known as Samyama, which is described in Sutras 3.4-3.6:


However, WHAT IS THE REASON for doing those Eight Rungs? This is often overlooked. The Eight Rungs are presented in the 29th Sutra of Chapter 2 of the Yoga Sutras. The reason for doing them is presented in the three sutras just before that. According to Patanjali, codifier of the Yoga Sutras, the reason for the eight rungs is DISCERNMENT or DISCRIMINATION (viveka) so that one may gradually reveal the true self that remains after all of the false identities are set aside. It is an extremely important principle for the Yogi or Yogini to be aware of. All of the work with body, breath, and the more surface levels of mind is done so as to cultivate this subtler tool of enlightenment.

From YOGA SUTRAS 2.26-2.29:

Clear, distinct, unimpaired DISCRIMINATIVE KNOWLEDGE is the means of liberation from this alliance [referring to the alliance of consciousness with thoughts and avidya, ignorance described in previous sutras]. Seven kinds of ultimate insight come to one who has attained this degree of discrimination. Through the practice of the different limbs, or steps to Yoga, whereby impurities are eliminated, there arises an illumination that culminates in DISCRIMINATIVE WISDOM, or enlightenment [VIVKEKA KHYATIH]. The eight rungs, limbs, or steps of Yoga are the codes of self-regulation or restraint (yamas), observances or practices of self-training (niyamas), postures (asana), expansion of breath and prana (pranayama), withdrawal of the senses (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and perfected concentration (samadhi).

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