What are the Yoga Sutras
The Yoga Sutras briefly define the art of meditation, in order for one to have self-realization. The process helps one identify and examine false thoughts in the mind and transform them into the gem of one’s real self – which will shine through. If you’re new to this concept, here’s everything you need to know.
The word yoga means union. It unites the different parts of us that were never really separate in the beginning. Yoga means to yoke, which means to join. Sutra means thread, or threading and weaving together insight and experience. Together, all these words mean that the sutras form a complete tapestry – once they are all woven together into one.
The purpose of the yoga sutras is to make the ways of the yoga sutras easily understood and available for everyone.
The introductory phase of sutra says that after so many actions in our lives, we are ready to take on a journey of self-exploration, to find that center of consciousness within ourselves, our true identity.
Practicing the yoga sutras requires deep discipline and rigid dedication to its teachings. This is highly connected to the important of your state of mind. The yoga sutras define the five states of mind one has going from disturbed, dull, distracted, one pointed, and finally mastered. Everyone studying the sutras needs to know which stage they are in on a day to day basis and which state you are functioning in. Meditation for each state of mind is different, and we have to utilize the one that is most useful for the person in his or her specific state of mind.
Of course, we all want to find ourselves reaching the two most desirable states of mind, that being one pointed or mastered. However, most people are really in the state of disturbed, dull and distracted. We want to progress from a troubled mind to get better and move to the top two states of mind. The one-pointed state of mind is where we want to be.
We engage in yoga to reach the one-pointedness state of mind. This is the state in which we begin preparing for mastery of the mind. If you know where the mind is now, it will tell you where it is going (mastering).
State of Mind
When we are in the disturbed state of mind, we are troubled and feel like we are wandering. It is a mind that is not just distracted, but has a more negative and emotional involvement with worry and chaos. This is not where we want to be and must get out of it. When we are in the second state of mind, dull, we feel almost forgetful. You feel like you are in a sleepy state of mind, when things weigh heavy on our thoughts and mind. You want to lie around and do nothing. The next state of mind is distracted.
This is when we cannot focus on one thing and when meditating we feel distracted often. The mind tries to meditate, only to be drawn out due to some aversion. We can concentrate on projects or things during this state of mind, though we may wander out thoughts elsewhere and then come back. Following is the state of one-pointed. This is a much more concentrated and focused state in which real yoga meditation is beneficial and beginning. You can focus on daily tasks and have the mental state of focusing on practicing yoga. When our mind is focused and one-pointed, things going on around us are not distracting. Last but not least is the state of mastered. This is a very controlled state of mind, and if you reach it, you have truly mastered the Yoga Sutras.
The Yoga Sutras are there as a guide. They will help you learn how to take your mind from a place it needs to let go of and go to a new and better place through meditation.