This year's Summer Workshop will be on Sunday 21st June 2015 (the first World Yoga Day), at Lakeside @ Ferry Meadows from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. Book early as places are limited to 14...!
Though all of the yamas (restraints) and niyamas (ethical observances) have the potential to draw us into the various levels of samādhi mentioned in sūtra 1.17, īśvarapraṇidhāna is the only one that is mentioned as being specifically capable of creating “perfection in samādhi” (samādhi-siddhiḥ), and is indeed the only one that mentions samādhi at all. By focusing all of our energy into our highest ideal, a state of enhanced relationship with that ideal will undoubtedly ensue, just as when we focus all of our energy on any goal in life and come to a level of mastery and understanding with it never before imaginable. Īśvara is the shortcut to samādhi (meditative absorption). Īśvara can be a chosen deity, a mentor, a supreme ideal, etc. When one wholeheartedly devotes themselves to the Īśvara of their choice, the commentators say, they will overcome the activity of the mind and efficiently achieve the samādhi state.
Svādhyāya (Devanagari: स्वाध्याय) is a Sanskrit term in Hinduism having several meanings, including study of the Vedas and other sacred books, self-recitation, repetition of the Vedas aloud, and as a term for the Vedas themselves. Svādhyāya is extolled in orthodox Brahmanism in its traditional sense as "study of the scriptures and darśanas which help the understanding of the nature of the Paramātman." Some translators simply use the word "study" without qualifying the type of study. A more Western interpretation may be to recognise the difference between ignorance ("ignore") and Svadhyaya (learning through awareness and openness).It is in being open and aware to everything around us that we contimue our lifelong journey of learning and growing. Only by ignoring our experiences do we become ignorant. So we should endeavour to live in a more "aware" and "open" state.
Tapas (tapas, Sanskrit: तपस्) means deep meditation, effort to achieve self-realization; it is derived from the word root tap (Sanskrit: तप् or ताप) which depending on context means "heat" from fire or weather, or blaze, burn, shine, penance, pain, suffering, mortification.
In the yogic tradition it is the fire that burns within that is needed for the sanyasi to achieve the very difficult goal of enlightenment, to foster self-control, one mindedness and focus, simplicity, wisdom, integrity. It is used to develop and discipline the body, mind and character; control of mind; satisfaction of all desires - through discipline of body, correct speech, telling only the truth, correct thought, non violence, correct action, love for all, developing the ability to remain tranquil and balanced in every situation, act without any selfish motive or thought of reward.
, "contentment, satisfaction"
) is one of the niyamas
as listed by Patanjali
Contentment is variously described, but can be thought of as not requiring more than you have to achieve contentment. It may be seen as renunciation of the need to acquire, and thereby elimination of want as an obstacle to mokṣa
(शौच), purity, is one of the Niyamas
. It is mentioned in the Mahabharata
's text. It may also mean to cry with tears; pointing to the cleansing crying gives when one is defiled by the sorrow caused by the departure of a relative or a friend, or after a catastrophe. Purity and cleanliness are highly emphasized. Shaucha is essential for health, happiness and general well-being. External purity is achieved through daily ablutions, while internal purity is cultivated through physical exercises, including asana (postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques).
(अपरिग्रह): non-appropriation, absence of avarice
is the concept of non-possessiveness
or non-greediness. The term usually means to limit possessions to what is necessary or important. Aparigraha is the Sanksrit word for greedlessness or non-grasping. It comes from the word parigraha
, which means reaching out for something and claiming it for oneself; by adding the 'A' it becomes the antonym. Aparigraha, unlike Asteya, means taking what is truly necessary and no more. This concept also holds true when applying for gifts which are not to be accepted.
: ब्रह्मचर्य behavior that leads to Brahman
). The word brahmacharya
is also understood broadly in yoga
as "sexual continence," which is understood differently depending on the appropriateness of the given situation. For a married practitioner it means marital fidelity; for a single person it means celibacy. According to the Yoga Sutras, the end-result or fruit of Brahmacharya practised to perfection is unbounded energy and vitality.
Brahmacharya can also be interpreted more generally in a variety of ways, such as:
- generally striving for excellence in all domains of activity and relationship
- pursuing 'virtue' however defined. Brahmacharya understood in this sense is similar to the classical Greek concept of arete (excellence)
- clearing underlying personality conflicts and centering oneself and ones spiritual journey in clear, well conceived and sustainable values (that is, thinking of Brahmacharya as an ongoing practice of 'clearing' analogous to resolving personality complexes and conflicts in psychotherapy)
- refining one's 'energies' (prana/chi/aura etc.) in relation to other people generally, to become aware of more subtle energies and to take one's energies or 'vibration' higher
Asteya (अस्तेय): non-stealing. This one is pretty self-explanatory. However, it is good to bear in mind that there are many subtle ways to appropriate what does not belong to us. As for the other yamas, much self-analysis will be necessary to catch the subtle lower tendencies of our mind.
Desire or want is the root cause for stealing. Swami Sivananda
Asteya also includes the concept that you should try to be content with what comes to you by honest means. If you are always dwelling on things other people have and you don't have, eventually the thought of taking something that doesn't belong to you becomes more acceptable to the mind, which can in turn lead to actual theft. When you eventually convince yourself that someone else "has so much and won't miss this if I take it", you are giving yourself permission to steal. This method can reduce feelings of guilt in the short run, but in the long run is still a violation of this yama.
(सत्य) is a central concept in Indian religions
. The meaning of satya is "Parahit'artham' va'unmanaso yatha'rthatvam' satyam", i.e., satya is the benevolent use of words and the mind for the welfare of others. In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
, it is written, “When one is firmly established in speaking truth, the fruits of action become subservient to him. In Buddhism the term Satya
is translated in English as "reality or truth" in terms of the Four Noble Truths
. 'The Four Noble Truths' are the briefest synthesis of the entire teachings of Buddhism They are the truth of suffering (mundane mental and physical phenomenon), of the origin of suffering (tanha 'pali' the craving), of the extinction of suffering (Nibbana or nirvana), and of the Eight Fold Path
leading to the extinction of suffering (the eight supre-mundane mind factors).