Freddie Wyndham Yoga - logophilosophy
  1. Prayer
  2. Dhyana, Jnana and Bhakti - Living the Life of a Yogi
  3. Meditation - Experiencing Your Beingness
  4. Happiness is the natural state of our Being
  5. Conscious Awareness
  6. Metaphors to illustrate the Nature of our True Self Ė the Soul
  7. What is the Heart?
  8. Our Soul is our true and deepest Teacher
  9. Two facets of our Spiritual Practice and Life
  10. What is Yoga?
  11. Jnanahata Yoga
  12. Our Sadhana is a process of Purification
  13. Samskaras
  14. Sanskrit and The Study of The Yoga Texts and Scriptures
  15. Yoga Sutras
  1. Patanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga
  2. Dhyana (meditation)
  3. Samadhi
  4. The Metaphor of a Raft Flowing On a River
  5. A guided Dhyana Practice
  6. Intuition and Omniscience
  7. What is Meditation?
  8. Practicing the Presence
  9. What is Enlightenment?
  10. Chanting and Mantra
  11. Yoga and Spirituality
  12. New Years Message 2009
  13. Reawakening: Spring Message 2010
  14. How do you define Love?
  15. Christmas/New Years Prayer/Message 2011
  16. The Miracle of Yoga - New Years Message 2012
  17. Heaven of our Hearts - New Years Message 2013

Patanjaliís Eight Limbs of Yoga

In his Yoga Sutras, Patanjali outlined what he called "ashtanga yoga", or "the eight limbs of yoga". Although the eight limbs can be viewed as a step-by-step progression, and practiced or applied accordingly, itís better to view the eight limbs like the facets of a diamond or petals on a flower. The eight limbs are interconnected; they all work together. Working on any one of the limbs enhances, or helps, all of the others. We are working on and applying all of the limbs simultaneously. For instance, our asana practice cultivates dharana, concentration, which in turn helps our meditation practice, dhyana. Meditation purifies the Heart, which helps us understand and apply the yamas and niyamas, and so on and so forth. The following is a very brief overview of the eight limbs.

1) Yamas: external disciplines, the restraints, control, moral integrity: eliminating undesirable behaviors

ahimsa: not harming
satya: truthfulness
asteya: not stealing
bramacharya: seeing divinity in all, sometimes interpreted as celibacy
aparigraha: not being acquisitive, greedlessness, non grasping, not hoarding

2) Niyamas: internal disciplines, self-restraint, training the heart: actively cultivating desirable or positive behaviors

shauca: purity
samtosha: contentment
tapas: heat, intensity of practice, restraint
svadyaya: self study
pranidhanani: alignment with, devotion to, surrendering into spiritual consciousness

Qualities to be cultivated

  • Moderation (mitahar)
  • Faith (astikya)
  • Patience (dhairya)
  • Forbearance (kshama)
  • Compassion (daya)
  • Straightforwardness (arjava)
  • Humility (hri)
  • Steadfastness (dhriti)
  • Loving Kindness (metta)
  • Sympathetic Joy (mudita)
  • Equanimity (upeksa)
The deepest and highest level of the practice of the yamas and niyamas occurs when our hearts become open and pure enough through the practice of our sadhana, that these qualities are expressed spontaneously in our lives without our having to try to apply them. We become so established in the Heart or Soul that these qualities are automatically reflected in our lives, our character, and everything we are and do. Weíre living out from the Soul. Our true nature is being expressed naturally, effortlessly, fully and spontaneously.

Through the practice of yoga, your heart is expressed more and more in your life.

3) Asana
The literal translation of the Sanskrit word asana is "to sit" or "to be present", and refers to the yoga postures, and related practices such as mudras, and bandhas, etc. But asana practice is so much more than a physical practice. When Iím teaching a class, I occasionally remind my students to "cultivate, or become established in, a unity of breath, body and awareness". When asana is practiced correctly, it is not only our intention to integrate all of the levels of our being in our practice, but the practice of yoga integrates all of the levels of our being. Many times it is the physical practice of the yoga asanas that attract people to the practice of yoga. But because asana practice is such an integral part of, and so intimately linked and united with yoga practice as a whole, ultimately, sooner or later, the yoga practitioner finds him or herself drawn slowly and naturally into the other facets of yoga.

We do our asana practice with Ujjayi breath; we link our movement with our breath, either an inhalation, or an exhalation, depending on the particular movement; and we make our movements last as long as our long, deep Ujjayi inhale or exhale. Deliberate movement linked with breath, and with attention to alignment, cultivates dharana (concentration), and ultimately dhyana (meditation). Erich Schiffmann calls this "moving into stillness".

As we open tight parts of our bodies through our asana practice, such as the hips, shoulders, psoas and quadriceps muscles, etc., and as we access deep layers of our being like the core (all of the structures and tissues that stabilize and mobilize the spine), two things happen. One: we release the negative energies and experiences that we may have stuffed or stored there - we let go of all of the things we donít need; and two: we access and make available to us the healing, purifying, creative and inspiring energies of Prana and Shakti that are stored there.

4) Pranayama: Pranayama doesnít mean breathing exercise, although pranayama practices are often accompanied by, or linked with, breath work. And also the breath is a fundamental resource of prana. But the actual interpretation of the Sanskrit word pranayama is: prana — life energy, and yama – to control or direct. So the most accurate meaning of the word, and the practice of pranayama, is: to direct or control life energy.

Our breath is such an intimate and fundamental part of our meditation practice. When I bring my awareness to the breath, I donít see it as the breath, I experience it as an unfolding of consciousness: a manifestation, or expression of the wave of my pure consciousness, the Heart or Soul, and ultimately a manifestation of God.

Because our breath is a manifestation of our pure consciousness, the Soul, itís a steppingstone to experiencing our deeper nature. The breath is a key to our practice. Just as we have physical, energetic and consciousness levels to our being, the breath has these same dimensions. Thatís why the breath is such a powerful tool for us to use in our yoga practice.

One of the interpretations and commentaries that I have on the Bhagavad Gita is co-authored by Paramahamsa Hariharananda and his successor Parmahamsa Prajnananada. Chapter 12 of the Bhagavad Gita is on Bhakti Yoga. Through reading and studying the verses in chapter 12 of this interpretation I have distilled several quotes. Here is one of them: "When you watch your breath with love, the mind becomes pure. When the mind is pure, you can move beyond the mind into the Heart".

5) Pratyahara: yoga sutra II.54: sva-visayasamprayoge cittasya svarupanukara ivendriyanam pratyaharah
Pratyahara is drawing the awareness within, away from the senses and distractions

6) Dharana: yoga sutra III.1: desa - bandhas cittasya dharana
Dharana is concentration, keeping your attention riveted on one thing.

7) Dhyana: yoga sutra III.2: tatra pratyayaika-tanata dhyanam
Dhyana, or meditation, is an unbroken awareness or experience of the object of meditation. Stacking one moment of concentration on top of another, and another, and another, until you have a steady flow of unbroken awareness.

8) Samadhi: yoga sutra III.3: tad evartha-matra-nirbhasam svarupa-sunyam iva samadhih
Samadhi is becoming so immersed, or merged in the object of meditation, that you lose any sense of separation or identity apart from the object of meditation.

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