Excerpts from Light on Astanga Yoga – BKS Iyengar.

B.K.S. Iyengar explains the evolution of yoga and its historical definitions. The book begins by explaining that yoga was created by Brahma – the creator of the universe – and explains the Vedic view on yoga’s origins. The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit “yuj,” which means to join or unify and symbolizes the concentration of energy towards the pursuit of truth or union with God.

Patanjali’s definition of yoga is examined in detail. Patanjali stressed the importance of discipline (abhyasa), detachment, and relaxation (vairagya), leading to a restraint on mental fluctuations and changes (citta-vritti-nirodha). This practical yoga philosophy aims to cleanse your mind and consciousness. It will replace negative tendencies with positive ones and eliminate all tendencies.

This article also discusses the way modern yoga practitioners use it to relieve physical and mental pain. The article explains how yoga can help overcome impressions (samskaras), which lead to sadness and pain. According to Patanjali, the practice of yoga involves cultivating positive samskaras and gradually restraining or eradicating old tendencies.

The article summarizes the history of yoga and its evolving definitions, emphasizing the focus of yoga on uniting individuals with the Divine, achieving stability, skillful action, and, ultimately, cleansing the mind and eliminating negative tendencies.

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