The practice of Yoga does not only focus on physical postures to improve the body, but deals with all aspects of human existence. Patanjali (500 B.C.), who is considered the father of Modern Yoga, compiled 196 aphorisms called the Yoga Sutra. In the Yoga Sutra, he described the eight aspects of a Yogic Lifestyle and called it the Eight Limbs of Yoga. These limbs, or stages, constitute a practical guide to personal development that helps the individual achieve harmony of the mind, body and Spirit, and finally leads to enlightenment (Samadhi).
4.1 Psychic powers arise by birth, drugs, incantations, purificatory acts or concentrated insight.
4.2 Transformation into another state is by the directed flow of creative nature.
4.3 Creative nature is not moved into action by any incidental cause, but by the removal of obstacles, as in the case of a farmer clearing his field of stones for irrigation.
4.4 Created minds arise from egoism alone.
4.5 There being difference of interest, one mind is the director of many minds.
4.6 Of these, the mind born of concentrated insight is free from the impressions.
4.7 The impressions of unitive cognition are neither good nor bad. In the case of the others, there are three kinds of impressions.
4.8 From them proceed the development of the tendencies which bring about the fruition of actions.
4.9 Because of the magnetic qualities of habitual mental patterns and memory, a relationship of cause and effect clings even though there may be a change of embodiment by class, space and time.
4.10 The desire to live is eternal, and the thought-clusters prompting a sense of identity are beginningless.
4.11 Being held together by cause and effect, substratum and object- the tendencies themselves disappear on the dissolution of these bases.
4.12 The past and the future exist in the object itself as form and expression, there being difference in the conditions of the properties.
4.13 Whether manifested or unmanifested they are of the nature of the attributes.
4.14 Things assume reality because of the unity maintained within that modification.
4.15 Even though the external object is the same, there is a difference of cognition in regard to the object because of the difference in mentality.
4.16 And if an object known only to a single mind were not cognized by that mind, would it then exist?
4.17 An object is known or not known by the mind, depending on whether or not the mind is colored by the object.
4.18 The mutations of awareness are always known on account of the changelessness of its Lord, the indweller.
4.19 Nor is the mind self-luminous, as it can be known.
4.20 It is not possible for the mind to be both the perceived and the perceiver simultaneously.
4.21 In the case of cognition of one mind by another, we would have to assume cognition of cognition, and there would be confusion of memories.
4.22 Consciousness appears to the mind itself as intellect when in that form in which it does not pass from place to place.
4.23 The mind is said to perceive when it reflects both the indweller (the knower) and the objects of perception (the known).
4.24 Though variegated by innumerable tendencies, the mind acts not for itself but for another, for the mind is of compound substance.
4.25 For one who sees the distinction, there is no further confusing of the mind with the self.
4.26 Then the awareness begins to discriminate, and gravitates towards liberation.
4.27 Distractions arise from habitual thought patterns when practice is intermittent.
4.28 The removal of the habitual thought patterns is similar to that of the afflictions already described.
4.29 To one who remains undistracted in even the highest intellection there comes the equal minded realization known as The Cloud of Virtue. This is a result of discriminative discernment.
4.30 From this there follows freedom from cause and effect and afflictions.
4.31 The infinity of knowledge available to such a mind freed of all obscuration and property makes the universe of sensory perception seem small.
4.32 Then the sequence of change in the three attributes comes to an end, for they have fulfilled their function.
4.33 The sequence of mutation occurs in every second, yet is comprehensible only at the end of a series.
4.34 When the attributes cease mutative association with awarenessness, they resolve into dormancy in Nature, and the in-dweller shines forth as pure consciousness. This is absolute freedom.
(Pundit Radheshyam Mishra is Founder-Director of "Ujjain Yoga Life Society International".
These Yoga Sutras taken from www.yogalifeusa.org.)