Yoga is, in its origin, a system of physical and spiritual disciplines, through the pursuit of mind control; yoga has been defined by Patanjali as ‘the depth of the activity of the mind’ to seek the complete release of spirit. The essence of Raja Yoga is the integration with the universe through the mind. Yoga Sutras attributed to sage Patanjali are a series of 195 aphorisms where the classical tradition of yoga is collected. Tradition, described and systematized in these texts offer us the possibility that our world view and our structure of thought is completely transformed.
In a scientific way, Patanjali describes a philosophy and a practice of psychology out of suffering that brings us mental activity. To do this, we must free ourselves from ignorance that makes us identify the spirit in the material world. According to Patanjali, when the impurity is destroyed, practicing the eight branches of yoga, the light of knowledge shines in discrimination. When we turn some observers of the vicissitudes of the world, the spirit becomes an observer and we live in contemplation.
The asanas, or postures, are one of the branches that Patanjali describes as essential for the release of what limits us and prevents consciousness to reflect the universe. As Maharshi Patanjali makes us see in the holistic description of yoga, so that there is an inner transformation must also be a discipline of the body. All branches are equally important and, although the body is essential because it is part of our being and it is connected to our mind and spirit, it is another dimension of this elaborate scientific and philosophical system that yoga has to offer.
Yoga postures in Raja Yoga, which were later developed more specifically in Hatha Yoga in a system of postures, have two characteristics as they must be stable and comfortable. As holistic yoga, this also refers to the relationship between body and mind, so the stability and comfort are also some inner qualities.
These asanas must be sustained for a long time and should lead to mental stillness that is the end of the yoga system. The active yoga requires a physical effort.
This aphorism of Patanjali have also been translated as ‘yoga posture is performed by relaxing the effort and resting like the cosmic serpent on the waters of the infinite’. It refers to the cosmic serpent sleeping between cycles of creation and universal destruction.
In the first review of the Yoga Sutras, it is explained that the yoga posture is perfect when the effort ceases in that sense, there is no movement in the body and when the mind is recognized as infinity. Although there is no detailed description of these positions, we can relate to the relaxed but active, necessary for the positions of breathing and meditation.
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