Purpose of Yoga

The Essence of Patanjali Yoga You Need to Know

International Yoga Day and Swami Ramdev both have contributed to the massive awareness about the Yoga.  As the practitioner come closer to the Yoga inquisitiveness about Yoga is awakened. Along with perfecting Asana and Pranayama, the practitioner also should go deeper into the other limbs of Yoga.

There are 8 limbs of Patanjali Yoga Sutras, these 8 limbs are explained in detail these 4 chapters in Patanjali Yoga Sutras are divided into 4 chapters. These are;

  • Samadhi Pada,
  • Sadhana Pada,
  • Vibhuti pada and
  • Kaivalya Pada

In the 1st chapter Samadhi Pada, Patanjali explains the very purpose of Yoga practices. Yoga practices referred here are not as we usually do. What is commonly practiced are Asana and Pranayama. These are just 2 milestones on the path leading to final Samadhi.

The sutra is ‘Yogah Cittavritti Nirodhah’

Which means Yoga is a cessation of movements in the consciousness.

Our Citta i.e. consciousness is made up of three factors;

  • Mind, Manas
  • Intellect, Buddhi
  • Ego, Ahamkara

“The physical ego serves as its own worst enemy when, by the delusive material behavior, it eclipses its true nature as the ever-blessed soul. “ Paramahansa Yogananda

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This Citta, all the time engaged in observation, attention, aims, and reason. With these engagements Citta has three functions which are;

  • Cognition, the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.
  • Conation, the mental faculty of purpose, desire, or will to perform an action;
  • Volition, the faculty or power of using one’s will.

This is an ongoing process of Citta. We all have experienced it and are experiencing it constantly. We see something, we like it, dislike it, desire it or have an opinion about it. This is called the fluctuation of the mind.

Purpose of Yoga

From continues movement of mind, intellect, and ego to complete cessation or stillness of Citta is the purpose and journey of Yoga.

From the exterior world to the subtlest inner world. Ego is considered one extreme and Antaratma (Self) is considered the other extreme. The unifier is called Attahkarana (Consciousness).

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“The longest journey of any person is the journey inward.”

From the state of Ego where the Soul is one with the body to the state of Antaratma where the Soul is one with the self is the purpose of Yoga and the same is the purpose of most of the Indian religions.

The practice of Yoga takes the soul on this journey. The practitioner is influenced by the objects, his Cittavritti fluctuates.  His aim should be to distinguish the self from the objects seen.  Yoga helps the practitioners to distinguish what is seen from the seer.

Once the seer sees the self-different from the objects seen, the fluctuation starts to cease. The final Samadhi is attained.

“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” The Bhagavad Gita

Knowing the ultimate purpose of Yoga will help us to continue our journey in the right direction and not limit it at the midway by only practicing Asana and Pranayama.

You may also like to read: 28 wisdom from 16 prominent Indian Yogis

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