Week 25: Reflections On Meditation As A Means To Create Freedom From The Trauma And Suffering Caused By Separation From The Source And The True Self (Sutras 31-32)

“In Yoga, after you have practiced bringing or directing your attention to a common center or objective, first using gross and then subtle objects, the aim is to eventually make your focal point the essence and meaning of OM.

You metaphorically move from the bottom of the symbol to the top and eventually focus on the dot at the top of the symbol, which represents the pure source of all of creation (as discussed in our previous weeks’ Sutra Studies), and you merge back into the true self through these efforts of concentration.”

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Week 21: The OM (AUM) Sound And Symbol In Yoga (Sutra 27)

“The word expressive of Isvara is the mystic sound OM [AUM].”

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Sutra (Thread) or Lesson 27: Tasya Vacakah Pranavah

Tasya: of [Isvara] | Vacakah: word | Pranavah: mystic sound “OM”

OM/AUM, in Yoga, is a symbol, word, and sound that encompasses all of existence and also reflects the full expression of consciousness embodied in all forms from the tangible and impermanent to the very subtle and Absolute. OM/AUM “is a universal process that leads us from the grossest level of our being to the center of consciousness” (Swami Jnaneshvara). It is a “roadmap” to the center of consciousness that also reflects the goal of any true Yoga practice.

The symbol/word, and the sound, OM, can be generally broken down into four main parts that represent the four levels of being/self/consciousness as one moves from the grossest aspects of the self and the tangible form of the physical body to more subtle states of consciousness and being, and then ultimately to the Source/Absolute/stillness/emptiness (that is paradoxically also pregnant with potential) which can be merged with/into after achieving Asamprajnata Samadhi.

Three transitional states, in between each of the four states of consciousness represented by OM/AUM, exists in the symbol .*

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Week 13: Check-In | Why Yoga Is One Of The Highest Forms Of Service (When All Limbs Are Practiced)

Yoga is both inner and outer work.

Practicing Yamas teaches us to see, and honor, our connection with, and to, all of existence. Niyamas teach us how to be responsible for caring for our individual expression in the world. Asanas teach us how to care for, heal, and preserve our physical vessel. Pranayamas teach us how to maximize and channel our precious life force energy. Pratyaharas teach us how to come into greater control of our mind by purifying our senses from attachment to both mental and physical form. Practicing Dharanas teaches us how to focus our powers of concentration, thus strengthening our ability to understand and properly apply knowledge. Dhyanas teach us how to deepen our connection to our truth through meditation and direct experience. And all limbs, mastered one after the other, and simultaneously, are intended to get us to Samadhi, which gifts us with the knowledge of, and connection to, our true self, nature, and source.

In all eight limbs of Yoga, we learn the true meaning of mind over matter. We see how controlling one’s senses and desires is only a result of gaining control of the mind, as is controlling one’s breath, releasing tension from one’s body, accomplishing one’s goals, building effective relationships, and truly coming to know oneself.

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