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Four Types of Yoga Sutras and Their Importance

Yoga is an art, a science, and a philosophy. It touches the life of a human being at every level - physical, mental, and spiritual. It is a practical approach to making one's life purposeful and noble. It empowers the entire human system and body mechanism to attune to its essence, the conscious seer within. Yoga enables the practitioner to perceive and experience the universal energy within and around himself/herself, to concatenate with the divine joy of all creation, and then to share and rejoice in the nectar of heavenly wealth, peace, and happiness for a lifetime.

The 'Yoga Sutras' are concise and compact. Practicing 'Yoga' regularly helps the lethargic and plodding body to become active and vibrant. It harmonizes the mind and transforms the body, mind, and self, reconnecting them in a thread of integrity, purity, and divinity. Here are the four 'Yoga Sutras' to know about to grasp the heritage, which is concerned with the science of learning and realizing the spiritual oasis lying within us.

1. Samadhi pada (on contemplation) - 'Sama' means level, alike, straight, upright, impartial, just, reasonable, and virtuous, and 'adhi' means the indestructible seer. Comprised of these words, 'Sama' and 'adhi,' the 'Samadhi pada' is directed towards those already thoroughly metamorphosed to empower them in maintaining their advanced state of cultured, matured intelligence and wisdom. Before 'samadhi' is experienced, the functioning of the consciousness depends upon five factors: correct perception, misperception, misconception or ambiguousness, memory, and sleep. Once the practitioner gets attached to practice and renunciation in the 'Samadhi Sutra,' it helps him to cultivate friendliness and compassion, delight in the happiness of others, and to remain indifferent to virtue and vice. It allows him to maintain his poise and tranquility.

2. Sadhana pada (on practice) - This yoga sutra is composed of eight yogic disciplines - 'yama' and 'niyama,' 'pranayama' and 'asana,' 'dharana' and 'pratyahara,' 'dhyana' and 'samadhi.' The sutra works on three types of afflictions - self-inflicted, hereditary, and discomforts caused by the imbalance of the elements in the body. Practice and renunciation in the eight yogic disciplines support to envelop purification of the body, senses, and mind, build an intense domain where impurities vanish, innocence replaces arrogance and pride, body, mind, and consciousness are in communion with the soul, and the practitioner reaches a state of serenity in which he/she merges with the universal spirit.

3. Vibhuti pada (on properties and powers) - Under this yoga sutra, the practitioner has complete knowledge of the past, present, and future and the solar system. The practitioner gets cautioned to ignore their temptations and pursue the spiritual path. If the practitioner succumbs to the lure of the yogic achievements, he/she will be like a person running away from a gale only to be caught in a whirlwind. On the contrary, if he/she resists and perseveres on the spiritual path, he/she will experience the indivisible, unqualified, undifferentiated state of existence.

4. Kaivalya pada (on freedom and emancipation) - In this stage of yoga sutra, the practitioner ('sadhaka) lives in a positive state of life, above the 'tamasic,' 'rajasic' and 'sattvic' influences of the three properties ('gunas') of the nature. Yogic practices lead to a spiritual and contended life; non-yogic actions bind a person to the materialistic world. Desire, action, and reaction are spokes in the wheel of thought, but when consciousness becomes steady and pure, eliminating other impurities becomes evident. Movements of mind come to a complete stop. The practitioner becomes a perfect yogi with skillful actions. The 'yogi' differentiates between the wavering uncertainties of thought processes and the understanding of the 'Self,' which is changeless. The 'yogi' resides in the experience of wisdom, untinged by emotions of desire, greed, exasperation, anger, pride, ego, malice, jealousy, infatuation, and intimate and sexual desires.