You will know yoga for sure, but do you know what yoga sutras is all about? Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are 196 sutras or aphorisms, compiled from other much older sources before 400 CE by Indian called Sage Patanjali.
Yoga and pranayamas have been practised and promoted for thousands of years across the globe, entusing people across languages, nationalities, races and religions.
Yoga sutras makes it clear that yoga is a philosophy, not a religion or exercise and it’s primary aim is to remain healthy by attaining a balance between body, mind and soul.
Now, the teachings of yoga.
Yoga Sutra 1.1
What is Yoga Sutras All About
“May practise of yoga lead to reduction in suffering and increase in happiness by better focus in spiritual practise”
Translation from Sanskrit pre yoga sutras source
patañjali yoga sūtram
Yoga Sutras is the collection of ancient yoga texts, assembled by Indian Sage Patanjali 1700 years ago. They describe the eight limbs of yoga, offering guidelines to purposeful and meaningful life.
Who Was Sage Patanjali
Sage Patanjali is considered as one of the true Indian renaissance man. Besides the yoga sutras he is famous for, he also wrote extensive literature both in Ayurveda, defining the concept of doshas, and about the Sanskrit language and its grammar.
Surprisingly little is known about Patanjali and it is thought his teachings are perhaps an outcome of a group effort, spanning over several generations the work passing on from one teacher to the other.
There is also a myth of his birth. He was sent by God Vishnu to teach yoga on Earth in a human form as an reincarnation of thousand headed serpent Remainder to a powerful virgin yogini called Gonika, who took him in and nurtured him as her own son.
Yoga Sutras Explained
Nowadays anyone can read yoga sutra, it has been translated to many different languages from the original Sanskrit and you can even listen to them in audio files!
However in the ancient times, it took years of yoga practise and commitment by the novice to be allowed to read the spiritual teachings of the yoga sutra and start the chanting of its verses.
Yoga sutras purpose is to teach a philosophy to live ethical, meaningful and purposeful life, by defining the spiritual disciplines, divine powers and the realisations that can be achieved by yoga practise.
They are divided into four parts:
Samadhi Pada – Concentration
Sadhana Pada – Practice
Vibhuti Pada – Progressing
Kaivalya Pada – Liberation
The first yoga sutra starts by answers the basic question: What is Yoga by explaining yoga is mastery and integration of the activities of the mind.
It goes on explaining the importance of practice, concentration, effort and commitment. It talks about different ways of concentration, importance of aum as a shortcut to peace of mind and stabilising and clearing the mind.
The second yoga sutra starts by talking about different colouring of thoughts and dealing with them. It then moves on to talk about karma and how to break alliance to it.
Next the text describes the eight limbs of yoga that the practiser has to follow on the path to enlightenment:
Namas and Niyamas are defined next. They are the ethical rules of both yoga and Hinduism, containing commandments, morals, rules and goals. Their benefits are explained in more details.
Asanas, the yoga poses are described in disciplining the body, before moving on to pranayamas, the breathing exercises, and their benefits. The importance of vegetarian food and diet is emphasised for the connection of the body and mind.
The third yoga sutra is used to explain the concepts of meditation and meditative state. It explored deeper concepts such as samyama, the practice and simultaneous experiencing of Dharan and Dhyana, complete focus and meditation.
It goes on to explore the different stages such as internal stage, leaving the body and moving into an other body. It talks about the knowledge and experiences of the renunciation and finally liberation by these practises.
Third yoga sutra concentrates on the practise and experience obtained with it, leading to the mastery of the body and the mind.
The connection of actions and karma are explained before moving on to the memory and subconsciousness. The concept of 3 gunas, personality types in explained, together with different stages of mind.
The fourth yoga suttra ends in enlightenment and how following the eight legs of yoga can lead to it. It talks about the chances that the person who has reached the enlightenment experiences in their knowledge, meditation, gunas and physical well being.
My Loving Advice
Yoga sutras can only be understoods by regular practice of yoga. I first came across them when I started to study Sanskrit more than 20 years ago and only finally understood their full meaning when I studied them with the lead of my yoga guru.
Yoga sutras define the eight paths of yoga and these are basis for the every modern yoga teacher education. The yoga sutras outline a philosophy for the every yogi and yogini to live by. It makes it clear that meditation and pranayamas are an important part of yoga practise.
If you are a beginner and want to know how to start yoga practice, take a look at my article: Starting Yoga Practice. Meditation is also an essential part of yoga and my article: Benefits of Meditation talks about how it can positively influence your life.
I hope you have enjoyed my introduction to yoga sutras and learned what yoga sutras is all about! If you have any questions of comments, please leave a message below.
This is a very personal topic for me as for the last 5 years I have lived with the cancer and had to learn to deal with pain being part of my every day life.
Constant pulsing pain caused by my advanced cancer made me irritated and impatient. I have tried everything from opiates to cannabis oil.
The opiates, I have been offered Tradomal, take away the pain, but make me very sick and dizzy leaving me unable to drive or consume my favorite glass of red wine.
I also worry about the side effects such as dependency and all those harmful chemicals in my body!
The medicinal cannabis oil works in taking the edge of the pain, but does not help when I am really struggling. I also cannot carry it with me everywhere despite my prescription as it’s illegal in some countries.
Since I started to meditate daily, my life has turned around and I have learned the techniques to control my pain, so it no longer controls me and my actions.
I also use several Ayurvedic herbs and techniques to help me with pain management. You can read about my experiences here:
If you, just like me live with pain, join in my personal journey to learn to do pain management with meditation.
Living With Pain
There are many people in the world who like me live in constant pain. Living with daily pain is frustrating and causes a lot of mental problems such as irritability, anciently and depression.
The psychological effects caused by lack of pain relief can be so severe that they lead individuals into desperate actions, such as suicide and even murders in sudden violent bursts of anger.
Besides chronic pain, there is also acute pain, which can be caused by an injury to nerves, muscles, bones or tendons, medical condition such as cancer or kidney infection and child birth.
Pain is also very individual and can be only truly explained by the person who is experiencing it. Every individual has a different pain threshold, or in other words tolerance for pain, which means that the same cause for pain can experienced in totally different way by two different individuals.
Western medicine spends millions of dollars in developing new medications to provide pain relief for the sufferers. However most of the times the stronger the numbing effect, more serious the side effects, such as drowsiness, vision and coordination problems.
The most effective pain medications are opiates, derivatives of the opium plant, most known being Morphine and it’s synthetic forms. It acts directly on the central nervous system (CNS) to decrease the feeling of pain. Opiates are also highly addictive and cause both physical and mental dependency.
So how can Meditation bring Pain Relief? There are several different ways the meditation can bring you relief from pain. I will introduce you to the these methods and provide my own guided meditations that you can use to help you along!
By Distracting Yourself From The Pain
This approach is a very good one, when the pain hits suddenly and without warning. You could be at work, shopping in town or having a fancy dinner somewhere. The pain can catch up with you anywhere and there is no escaping.
Depending on the situation there are several different techniques you can use. I will introduce you to 2 of them that I have personally found most effective:
Quick Pain Meditation – Can be done anywhere and doesn’t require any preparation or special positions
Daily Pain Meditation – Learn how to distance yourself from the pain and draw your concentration on other things.
Mantra Meditation – Has to be learned, but after wards can be done anywhere and doesn’t necessarily require any preparation or special positions
The two techniques above are best when used together. My article
Meditation For Chronic Pain Relief
will take you through both and you can listen to my personal guides meditation to learn the technique I was thought by my yoga master.
The third technique takes some time to master and I will be posting a video about it in later on in my meditation series. Mantras are very powerful in clearing the mind and releasing the pain. They can be sited out loud or inside the head.
By Learning Deep Relaxation techniques
An other method, which will help you in fact feel less pain. You learn how to relax your body, paying special attention the parts that cause you pain.
My Deep Relaxation Meditation teaches you a technique that is especially good when you are failing to fall asleep from the pain or if you are suffering pain caused by tension and stress, such as lower back or neck pains.
In the long term, you will notice that your pain is not as sharp as it used to be and you can slowly start to combine the deep relaxation meditation with gentle exercise for maximum effect. Read about the benefits of Yoga in my article:
Pranayamas, the ancient breathing techniques are very important part of both yoga and meditation! The correct way of breathing can bring you a lot of relief from the pain and certain methods can substantially reduce acute pain!
I will be posting my own videos into some of these powerful secrets later on in my yoga series, stay tuned!
My Guided Pain Meditation
These meditations are provided for learning purpose and they provide you the techniques to use for each 3 types of meditation I have mentioned in my article!
The idea is that you learn to use the method I teach you in order to relax yourself in the situations where the pain wave hits and you feel like drowning. You of course can still continue to use my guided meditation if you feel you benefit from it.
In order to use either of my meditation below, you need to make yourself comfortable. I do not recommend doing this meditation in bed for the first time, but you can certainly use it later on in the evenings to help you fall asleep!
If you have a yoga or exercise mat, roll it on the floor. If not, you can also use a blanket to soften the floor. I often lay on my bare cork floor, it’s warm and comfortable.
You will need a light blanket, as your body temperature tends to drop as you enter a deeper stages of relaxation. You also want to dim the lights and if your intention is to fall asleep, you should meditate in dark.
Make sure there are no distractions, no kids, no phones and no TV. It helps to set the mood to use an incense, a scented candle, or a essential oil infuser.
Special word about pets. Often they are a distraction, but some people prefer to include their pets into the meditation. My dog is used to me meditation since he was a puppy and often joins me in my sessions.
Just make sure what ever you are using has a relaxing and calming effect. My top pick for pain meditation is the soothing Sandalwood essential oil quit smoking pills zyban.
It might also be relaxing to listen to some music, you hear me play it during my meditation, some beautiful blue whale songs.
However for some people it is distracting and they prefer to meditate in silence. You will learn your personal preference soon enough and can take action accordingly.
I have also provided mp3 files, which you can download if you want to store me meditation into your smart phone to listen to it for instance in the evening or after a yoga session.
The Guided Deep Relaxation Meditation For Pain Management
For this relaxation we are going to use the yoga position Sawasana, also called a corpse pose, a position where the person lays on the yoga mat, back against the floor.
The feet are spread hip wide apart and arms are separated from the body, hands being placed about 10cm from the body. The position is demonstrated below.
You should cover yourself with the light blanket, leaving the feet and the fingers free for movement.
My meditation is taking you to the depths of the ocean, join me in my dive with the blue whales!
I hope you have enjoyed my guided meditation! I would love to hear from you and your experiences in living with pain and how mediation has changed things for you.
Please also take a look about my article about using Ayurveda to help your with pain management. I would also appreciate it greatly if you give me a follow on my new YouTube channel and leave me a comment about your favorite alternative pain management techniques!
I you want to learn more about the roots of meditation, you can read my article about Yoga Sutras.
ॐ Love and Peace,
P.S. If you want to learn how to deepen your meditation experience, take a look at the Ayurveda aroma experience These essential oils have a subtle, yet extremely powerful influence on our mind and body.
Are you feeling anxious and suffering from stress related health problems? This article will discuss how with how just 20 minutes a day spent meditating can improve health.
If you are convinced that meditation can benefit you and you are ready to make a chance in your life, you can jump strait to my Relaxing Meditation.
If not yet convinced meditation is for you, read on to learn about the 10 benefits from meditation. If you want to learn more about the origins of yoga meditation, read my article about Yoga Sutras
Experience The 10 Benefits From Meditation
Meditation provides practitioners with many benefits, both mental and physiological. They have been extensively researched and many studies have been published in the subject.
The following are commonly agreed among the researchers to be the 10 benefits from regular meditation practice.
1. Meditation provides Stress Relief
Almost everyone suffers from stress of some degree in todays society. The stress can be physical, mental or emotional and is caused by the various factors in out work and home environments.
A constant stress causes a whole lot of different kinds of health problems, or rather symptoms of stress, some of which are listed below. Often if we solve the cause of the problem with stress, the other medical issues disappear as well.
Stress can greatly reduced by either removing the source of stress, which can often proof very difficult, or teaching the body and mind to deal with the stressful situation with techniques such as meditation.
Deep breathing from the diaphragm practiced during meditation, is very efficient in relaxing the mind. When you reach a deep meditative state, you clear away the information overload that builds up every day and contributes to your stress. The emotional benefits of meditation can include:
Gaining new perspective on situation that cause stress
Building stress management skills
Focusing on the moment
Reduction of negative emotions and thoughts
2. Meditation Helps With Anger Management
Anger is a completely normal, healthy human emotion. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive force, it can lead to problems at work, in personal relationships and poison the overall quality of your life.
It makes you feel as though you’re at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful emotion. Meditation techniques can teach you methods for anger management.
It teaches you self-awareness, so you can recognize the signs of anger in time and taking action to calm down and deal with the situation in a more constructive way.
Meditation for anger management will increase your self-control and ability to calm your mind, by focusing on something positive, before it is too late and the anger takes over your actions.
Daily meditation will also introduce more calm, more positive mind set and reduce the stress levels in the body which in return will lessen the reasons for anger.
Meditation is being successfully used to rehabilitate violent criminals and offered at some schools as an alternative for detention to reduce the agitation which causes the pupils to misbehave in the first place.
3. Meditation Increases Concentration Levels
Poor concentration is a common complaint by pupils, student and adults alike. It prevents us from studying new materials or performing a difficult task at hand.
It is most common with tasks that are tiring and boring or when we are tired and under stress. In the worst case the lack of ability to concentrate means failure in studies or getting fired from a job.
Regular meditation increases the blood flow into the brain, which is a key for increase in the ability to concentrate. Additionally diverse meditation techniques teach us how we can help improve our focus to the task ahead as well as maintain it for prolonged periods and hence enhance our performance.
Also read my article about how certain essential oils can help you to improve your concentration:
Many people todays modern society suffer from depression and different anxiety disorders due to the emotional pressures and need to succeed in life. Most of the times the doctors attempt to treat them either with therapy or drugs, with every little success.
How ever meditation the most effective tool battling depression whether it’s situational, caused by external events, or organic, caused by chemical imbalances in the brain.
With daily meditation, you can naturally boost both serotonin and norepinephrine neural transmitters to healthy “depression resistant” levels.
Many people suffering from anxiety and panic attacks, where once again the body’s sympathetic nervous system is responsible for “fight or flight” response, find relief from meditation due to it’s calming and reassuring effect on the whole body.
5. Meditation Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is caused mostly by stress, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, hereditary causes, age and excess weight.
It is dangerous because it makes the heart work harder to pump blood out to the body. It also contributes to hardening of the arteries, to stroke, kidney disease, and in extreme cases to the development of heart failure.
Many people need to take more than one medicine to reduce hypertension. However, the side effects, such as headaches and weakness, are severe and effect the lives of the patients more than the hypertension itself.
The deep restful state achieved during meditation, sparks biochemical changes that help the body and mind reach a more balanced state, in turn triggering the body’s own self-repair mechanism, mainly by stimulating the telomerase enzyme.
6. Meditation Reliefs Asthma Symptoms
Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the lungs. When the sufferer encounters something that triggers his asthmas the walls of the airways tighten and the lining starts to swell, causing coughing, wheezing, tightness of the chest and shortness of breath.
Medical treatments, corticosteriods, for asthma are effective, but carry with them a host of very unpleasant long-term side effects.
A complement, and potentially a replacement, to inhalers could be meditation. People often panic when they have an astma attack – the inability to breathe leads to fears of dying.
By learning to use meditation where once focuses on relaxing the body, specifically the breathing passages, the body starts to relax and the airways open, making breathing easier again.
Furthermore the deep meditative breathing opens air passages, heals inflammation and improves airflow preventing future asthmas attacks.
7. Mediation Provides Insomnia Relief
The causes of insomnia can be overly aroused sympathetic nervous system, causes can be found in things such as use of stimulants like coffee, tea and drugs, habits as going to bed too late and excessive use of computer and bad dietary habits.
However, most of the time people who suffer from insomnia have difficulties to relax their mind enough in order to fall asleep due to mental and emotional stress. Their mind often dwells on worries and the inability to fall sleep. This can become a vicious circle leading to exhaustion and stress.
Meditation let’s the mind wonder and releases it from the task of worrying creating calmness by soothing the sympathetic nervous system and releasing the sleep hormone melatonin.
Further more deep stages of meditation reduce the strain on the body caused by the sleep deprivation as meditation gets rid of toxins in the brain same way than REM cycles do during sleep.
8. Meditation Strengthens The Immune System
Weakened immune system is a cause for us catching things like common flu and stomach infections, but some people also suffer from so called autoimmune diseases such as:
Diabetes type 1
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
In the case of the autoimmune disease the body’s own immune system attacks some parts of the body, such as bowels, pancreas or tendons.
Meditation increases the electrical activity in the left side of your brain, the part which acts as a command center for your immune system, network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body
Increased activity in this part of the brain helps to boost the immune system making it work more effectively producing more white blood cells, leukocytes, who fight against infectious diseases and foreign invaders.
Furthermore meditation reduces the symptoms of autoimmune disease, although it is unable to repair damage already down like in the case of type 1 diabetes.
9. Meditation Improves Memory
Meditation has proven very effective in both improving acute memory loss, such as caused by a brain injury as well as helping sufferers of Alzheimer decease and old age related memory problems.
As well as controlling our ability to concentrate, brain’s cerebral cortex also controls our memory. Blood flow into this region provides improvement specifically in short term and long term memory.
It also helps to grow new neural path ways, as the old ones got damaged in case of brain injury or deterioration from age-related los, in the brain which increases the accessibility of our long term memory.
Meditation has also increased children’s and students ability to memorize educational material in an effective manner. This of course is also linked to the students ability to concentrate better in their studies.
10. Meditation Provides Pain Relief
Meditation can provide many highly effective techniques dealing with both acute and chronic pain, which increase in strength with the continuous practice.
I myself suffer from cancer and use meditation as one of my techniques of dealing with pain. I have written a whole separate article about Pain Management with Meditation. It introduces the reader with the techniques used for pain relief meditation and provides a sample meditation.
The two most meditation types used for pain management are:
By Distracting The Sufferer From The Pain.
There are several meditation techniques that teach you to concentrate on other things, such as very pleasant thoughts and forget about the pain. These powerful techniques are often used with childbirth and with acute sport injuries by the athletes.
2. Providing Pain Relief With Alteration Of Brain Structure
Sounds incredible, right? It has been proved by the studies that regular meditation practice alters the parts of the brain that deal with pain, hence changing the brains perception of the pain.
My Personal Experience of the Benefits of Meditation
I practice meditation almost daily with few exception. My meditation sessions last anything from few minutes to several hours, depending on my mind set, psychological and physical need and the time I have available.
Meditation has provided me with a lot of benefits during my fight against cancer. Biggest help I have experienced is in the form of being able to rid myself of the anxiety which was caused by facing my own mortality.
Besides this I use meditation for pain management and to improve the symptoms of the cancer such as insomnia and manage the pain. Please read my personal story about
Daily meditation practice has also helped me improve my immune system and hence to deal with the side-effects caused by the chemical cancer treatments, which I received before I made the switch to alternative medicine.
As a meditation coach, I cannot recommend daily meditation strong enough for anyone who is dealing with any of the problems above. Let me know if you need any guidance in getting started, I will be more than happy to help!
You can read more about simple meditation techniques for beginners in my post Simple Meditation At Home. Here is one of my own guided meditation for relaxations:
You can also follow my brand new YouTube channel, I am planning on making a lot of meditation and yoga videos! Hope to see you there 🙂