Knowledge (Jnana) is not acquired only from Yoga practices. In fact, fulfilment in knowledge is only attained by those who begin by the practice of virtue (dharma). Notwithstanding, knowledge is practically unattainable without yoga as a means. Practising Yoga methods is not the knowledge-achieving technique per se, yet it is only the habit of yoga that drives perfection in knowledge. As a result, Shankara wrote that; “Yoga is for the purpose of knowledge of the truth”.

Qualifications for yoga
Knowledge (Jnana) is not acquired only from Yoga practices. In fact, fulfilment in knowledge is only attained by those who begin by the practice of virtue (dharma). Notwithstanding, knowledge is practically unattainable without yoga as a means. Practising Yoga methods is not the knowledge-achieving technique per se, yet it is only the habit of yoga that drives perfection in knowledge. As a result, Shankara wrote that; “Yoga is for the purpose of knowledge of the truth”.

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All things are practically interwoven; meaning that all things are supported by another.

This is because a solid base is required for anything to exist. Being the Supreme Being, and Ultimate Support of all things; only God is free from these obligations. Furthermore, Yoga also calls for support. According to Trevor Leggett in his establishment to Shankara’s commentary on the Yoga Sutras, he commented that; “This is yoga presented for the man of the world; who must initially clean and steady his mind against the frustration of illusory desires, and free his life from complications”. Patanjali cautiously and extensively outlined the components of the aid necessarily in need by the aspirant, giving priceless facts on how to guarantee success in yoga.
The first Yoga Sutra states that: “Now the exposition of yoga”, indicating that something must lead up to yoga in the design of important growth of knowledge and personality. These obligations may be considered as the Pillars of Yoga, and are known as Yama and Niyama.

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Yama and Niyama

Yama and Niyama are often called “The Ten Commandments of Yoga” Each one of these five (5) Don’ts (Yama) and five (5) Do’s (Niyama) is a backing, liberating Pillar of Yoga. Yama indicates self-restraint in the scope of self-control or abstinence, and it consists of five elements. Niyama indicates observances, of which also consist of five elements. Outlined below is the complete list of the ten pillars of Yoga, as given in Yoga Sutras 2:30,32.

  1.  Ahimsa: non-violence, inoffensive, harmlessness
  2.  Satya: truthfulness, honesty, candidness
  3. Asteya: faithfulness, honesty, trustworthiness
  4. Brahmacharya: sexual abstinence in thought, deed, and control of all senses
  5. Aparigraha: generosity, non-greed, non-selfishness, non-acquisitiveness
  6. Shaucha: purity, cleanliness
  7. Santosha: calmness, contentment, peacefulness
  8. Tapas: austerity, refraining, practical (i.e., result-producing) spiritual discipline
  9. Swadhyaya: introspective self-study, spiritual study
  10. Ishwarapranidhana: submission, the offering of one’s life to God

These pillars deal with the intuitive potentials of human beings, or rather with the refrainment and observance that will grow and deliver those potentials to be engaged towards spiritual perfection, self-discovery, and freedom. These ten (10) restraints (Yama) and observances (Niyama) are compulsory for the ambitious yogi, or for the most professional.


Shankara states quite emphatically that “observing Yama and Niyama is the fundamental qualification to practice Yoga”.

Ordinary passion and ambition for the goal of yoga do not suffice. Shankara continued by saying that; “The qualification is not as simple as the desire to practice yoga, for the sacred text says: “But he who has not first turned away from his wickedness, who is not tranquil and subdued or whose mind is not at rest can never obtain the Self by knowledge” (Katha Upanishad 1.2.24). And the Atharva text states that; it is in those who have tapas (strong discipline) and brahmacharya (chastity) that truth is established” (Prashna Upanishad 1:15). And Gita states that; “Firm in their vow of brahmacharya” (Bhagavad Gita 6:14). As such; Yama and Niyama are techniques of yoga.

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Furthermore, the practice of Yoga assists the ambitious yogi to follow the essential principles of Yama and Niyama, so he should not be disheartened from practicing yoga right now, thinking that he should sit back till he is finally “prepared” or has “cleaned up his act” to practice yoga. No! He should ambitiously embark on Yama, Niyama, and Yoga concurrently. Success will be his!

 

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