An integrated science

Rishi Patanjali

The Sutras of Patanjali cover all aspects of human life, prescribe a code of conduct to lead a life of fulfilment and end with a glorious vision to reach our full potential.  Yoga Sutras begin at the very root, mind and intelligence, called CHITTA.

In the first chapter SAMADHIPADA, Patanjali analyses the movement and functioning of the mind.  The second chapter SADHANAPADA deals with practise.  Patanjali goes on to provide deep insight into the nature of KLESHAS (afflictions) that affect the body and distract the mind, resulting in distorted behaviour patterns of an individual.

Yog sutras

In SADHANAPADA, Patanjali reaches out to the lowest level of the seeker who is spiritually yet unevolved.  He coins the term KRIYA YOGA .  Kriya means action and Kriya Yoga emphasises the dynamic efforts on the part of the sadhaka.

Kriya Yoga comprises eight yogic discipline ——— yama, niyama, asana, pranayama,pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and Samadhi.  Through asanas, the seeker becomes familiar with his body and sense intelligence.  Pranayama gives control over subtle qualities of the elements ——– sound, touch, shape, taste and smell.  Pratyahara is withdrawal of the senses and organs of actions.

According to Patanjali, Yoga is a preventive healing art, with its science and philosophy.  Pantanjali also warns us of the pitfalls that may impede spiritual growth and advises us to stabilise body and mind so that we are not shattered when confronted with  tragic realities of human existence.


The 3rd chapter VIBHUTIPAD, deals with attainments.  Patanjali exhorts  us to continue the practise of yoga so that the intelligence of consciousness and soul may be equally balanced.  Then we attain the highest state of wisdom where the person exists in a perfectly ‘integrated state’.   This is known as KAIVALYA.  This is the subject matter of the last chapter in the Yoga Sutras called KAIVALYAPADA that focuses on ‘absolute liberation’.

Yoga is an INTEGRATED SCIENCE which alone can restore the wholeness and integrity of our divided being and lets us enjoy real well-being.

——-  Nivedita Joshi (she teaches yoga in Delhi)    


Yoga on the go

Travelling for long hours means stiff joints and poor blood circulation.  Prepare your body, mind and spirit for travel fatigue.
You could be on a long road journey, a train ride or a two-hour flight ……… the seats are small and constricted and your legs are cramped in a tight space.  Travelling for long hours also means loss of blood circulation to the lower body.  One must straighten the legs and move the feet forward and backward periodically.  Feel the tension in your calves.  Rotate ankles, clockwise and anticlockwise.  Flex and stretch your toes too.
Gyan mudraSTRENGTHEN NECK MUSCLES :  While a neck-pillow works well in cushioning your spine during travel, some basic yoga steps only make your travel more comfortable.  ** Look up and bend your head back.  Then bend your head down and look downwards.  Move only your neck, breathing normally.  Repeat this three to five times.  ** Now turn your face as far right as possible.  Then turn to the left.  Repeat three times.
BENEFITS : Removes stiffness of the neck muscles and counters spasms, corrects the neck posture and aligns the joints.
LOOSEN UP :  ** Take your hands behind your head.  Place your right hand on your left shoulder and your left hand on your right shoulder.  Your elbows should point upwards.  ** Interlock your fingers.  Cover your forehead with your palms.  Exert force with your hands and neck in opposite directions.  The palms should force the neck back while the neck forces the palms forward.
BENEFITS :  Removes all traces of stiffness in the shoulders and neck muscles.
ARM STRENGTH :  ** Outstretch your arms, at shoulder level.  With all your strength, clench your hands into fists and then unclench them.  ** Rotate your fists in both directions.  ** Keep your hands on your shoulders and rotate elbows clockwise and anticlockwise.
BENEFITS :  Removes weakness in the arms, cures stiff shoulders and neck, alleviates joint pains.
yoga-reflectionsGYAN MUDRA :  ** Sit in a comfortable position in your chair folding your legs, keeping your back and neck straight.  ** Form the Gyan Mudra by touching the tip of the thumb with the tip of the index finger, the other three fingers straight and joined together.  Place your hands on the knees, palms facing upwards.  Close your eyes gently and focus on your breathing.  Hold this position for 10mins.
BENEFITS :  It improves concentration and reduces negative thoughts.  Regular practice eliminates insomnia, migraine usually associated with long travel.
POST-TRAVEL ASANA :  Stand erect, heels together and place both hands on your chest, fingers interlocked.  Stretch your arms ahead and slowly raise them up while breathing in.  Raise your heels, stand on tiptoe and stretch your entire body upwards.  Repeat two or three times.
BENEFITS : Strengthens the spine, ankles, knees, thighs and abdomen.  Relieves physical exhaustion.
———- Inputs by Yogacharya Dr. Surakshit Goswami.