直到前几天，他开始和我讨论他对瑜伽的认识，真的是令我汗颜不已．他借了一本好大的原文书，书名是Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations and Techniques（瑜伽教学：基础与教学技巧）．他很认真的从chapter one第一章开始读起，从瑜伽的起源是西元多少年，当时的历史背景，以及瑜伽蕴育自哪些经典，每一部经典的主旨为何，以及当时的人们对瑜伽的认识．他看得很仔细，我听得很认真．最令我感到神奇的是，他在解释瑜伽为何时，他用了帕坦伽利的八支理论．这让我又重新温习了瑜伽的基本价值及核心．
Patanjali提出八支理论，英文是ashtanga yoga或是the eight-limbed path yoga请不要和ashtanga vinyasa yoga阿斯坦加瑜伽弄混，以前我以为我学的阿斯坦加瑜伽才是Patanjali口中正统的瑜伽，后来才知道是个天大的错误，老师可能太自豪自己的派别，所以无形中给了我这种错误的印象．那么，这位瑜伽之神口中的八支是哪八支呢？
但现代瑜伽之父B.K.S. Iyengar在Light on the yoga sutras of patanjali这本书用了一个非常有名的譬喻，他说：瑜伽，就像是一颗果树一样，我们一般人能看到什么呢，我不知道，但这位大师观察到人的生命就像一颗树一样，他看到了树根，树干，树技，树叶，以及树皮，树液和花朵，最后结成果实．
BKS Iyengar’s yoga tree
What is Yoga ?
Yoga is one of the six systems of classical Hindu philosophy (Darshanas). It was systematized by Patanjali in his classical work the Yoga Sutras. The word “Yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word “yug” meaning to yoke, join or unite. It refers to the united nature of body, mind and spirit or soul. This means connecting all aspects of the individual – body with mind and mind with soul – to achieve a happy, balanced and useful life. On the spiritual plane, the goal of practicing yoga is to achieve yoga, union of the self with the divine (supreme consciousness), otherwise known as enlightenment.
yoga is a method to achieve the state of Yoga.
There are many ways to approach “practicing yoga.” Bhakti yoga includes devotional practices like singing and dancing, Karma yoga is the yoga of action and service, Jnana yoga is the yoga of knowledge, Nada yoga involves absorption into a sound, yoga Nidra, or the sophrology of Alfonso Caycedo practices deep relaxation, stillness and insight.
Our approach is based on the classical Yoga, or Hatha yoga, and Raja yoga, or Royal yoga, which is also called Ashtanga yoga. It includes Asanas (physical postures), Pranayama (control of breathing) and Dhyana (meditation).
Ashtanga yoga means “eight-limbed yoga,” as outlined by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. According to Patanjali, the path of yoga consists of eight spiritual practices: yama, nyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. B.K.S Iynegar, one of the foremost yoga teacher in the world uses the metaphor of yoga as a tree.
1. Yama : Morality
The tree of Yoga : the Roots
Asteya (freedom from avarice, non-stealing)
Bramhacharaya (control of vital energy, involving self restraint and moderation)
Aparigraha (freedom from possession beyond one’s needs)
2. Nyama : Discipline
The tree of Yoga : the Trunk
Saucha (purity of body and mind, cleanliness)
Tapas (austerity, self discipline, conscious effort to achieve one’s aim)
Svadhyaya (self- study)
Isvarapranidhana (surrender to the Divine)
3. Asana : Postures
The tree of Yoga : the Branches
Asana is the practice of physical postures which brings strength, balance and flexibility. On a deeper level the practice of asanas is used as a tool to calm the mind and move into the inner essence of being.
4. Pranayama : Control of Breath
The tree of Yoga : the Leaves
Pranayama is the control of prana, the vital forces of the body, by measuring, control, and directing of the breath. Through Pranayama the respiratory and the circulatory systems are brought into a harmonious state. In the Yoga Sutra, the practices of pranayama and asana are considered to be high forms of purification and self discipline for the mind and the body.
5. Pratyahara : Control of the Senses
The tree of Yoga : the Bark
Pratyahara, or the control of the senses, is a conscious effort to draw awareness away from the external world and outside stimuli and redirect it inward, toward the self. Pratyaharara corresponds to the inner journey of the senses from the outside to the core of one’s being
6. Dharana : Concentration
The tree of Yoga : the Sap
Each stage prepares for the next. In pratyahara we become self-observant; in dharana, we focus our attention on a single point. In dharana we learn how to steady the mind from wandering – through memories, dreams or reflective thought – by concentrating on a single mental object.
7. Dhyana : Meditation
The tree of Yoga : the Flowers
“When the flow of concentration is uninterrupted, the state that arises is dhyana,” writes B.K.S. Iyengar. Where dharana practices one-pointed attention, dhyana is a state of being keenly aware without focus. At this stage, the mind has been quieted, and in the stillness it produces a state of “One beeing” of the subject and the object of meditation.
8. Samadhi : Enlightenment
The tree of Yoga : the Fruits
State of peace and bliss. At this stage, the practioneer merges with his or her point of focus and transcends the Self altogether. He or she comes to realize a profound connection with all living things and being at one with the Universe.