Philosophy of Yoga: Core Concepts
of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali


Term in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Meaning of the Yoga Sutra Term Purpose
Guru A selfless, enlightened Yogi Works ceaselessly to make Yoga possible for you
Yoga Derived from the Sanskrit word Yuj, meaning, 'yoke onto' or 'attach'. Yoga refers to your union with God. Yoga culminates from the full-time practise of Purity. It is the Path, the Process and the Purpose. Self-realisation/ God-realisation
Sutra Thread  
Ashtanga Yoga Eight (Ashta) limbs (Anga) of Yoga Full self-purification, which leads to Self-realisation
Prakriti Changeful Nature Means to realise Purusha
Purusha Changeless and Absolute Consciousness (God) Realisation of Purusa is the Supreme Goal of Yoga
Guna Three qualities of Prakriti: Divinity, Action, Delusion i.e. Sattva, Rajas, Tamas Sustain all beings in the cosmos and the cosmos itself; recede into Purusha when their purpose is fulfilled
Abhyasa and Vairagya Abhyasa: Continuous and devoted practice of pure Yoga; Vairagya: Supreme non-attachment to worldly desires/ objects of pleasure Form the crux of Yoga practice, through which your full purification and Self-realisation become possible
Klesha: Avidya, Asmita, Raga, Dvesha, Abhinivesha. Know more. Five inborn impurities within you: Spiritual Ignorance, False Sense of Me and Mine, Attachment, Aversion, and Fear of the New Obstruct your clarity, cause you pain and stop your spiritual progress. Prevent Chitta Vritti Nirodha.
Chitta Vritti Nirodha Equanimity or stillness of your mind Realisation of your inherent Divinity
Pancha Vritti : Pramana, Viparyaya, Vikalpa, Nidra, Smriti Five cyclic thought-behaviour patterns that govern your existence: Right knowledge, wrong knowledge, imagination, sleep, memory  
Klishta Vritti, Aklishta Vritti Klishta-Aklishta are derived from the word Klesha. Klishta: Painful; Aklishta: Non-painful. Two types of Vritti that you engage in continuously.  
Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi Indispensable Human Values, Spiritual Routines and Disciplines, Steady and relaxed Body Posture, Regulation of bio-energy, Withdrawal of senses from objects of pleasure, Concentration, Meditation, Oneness with your Divine Self Eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga or 8 modes of pure Yoga. Guarantee Self-realisation if followed with supreme dedication
Yama and Niyama Five indispensable human values (Yama) and five spiritual routines and disciplines (Niyama) Serve as the foundational processes of Yoga; remove your karmic cuffs fully
Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacharya, Aparigraha Non-violence of thought, word and deed, truthfulness, non-stealing, walking towards God, and non-hoarding are the five Yama  
Saucha, Santosha, Tapas, Svadhyaya, Ishvara Pranidhana External and internal purity, supreme contentment, continuous self-discipline, egoless self-improvement, and full self-surrender are the five Niyama  
Vikshepa Mental distractions, which hamper your progress on the path of Yoga  
Samapatti Full engrossment in the one being meditated upon  
Tapas, Svadhyaya, Ishvara Pranidhana Three-fold practice of Continuous self-discipline, egoless self-improvement, full self-surrender. Collectively known as Kriya Yoga. Essential tools to remove all the Klesha from their roots and even burn the seeds of these impurities
Om Om is the primeval, most potent Mantra, which represents God Strengthens your spiritual foundation
Mantra Sacred syllables Strengthens your spiritual foundation
Japa Chanting of a mantra Strengthens your spiritual foundation
Parikarma: Maitri, Karuna, Mudita, Upeksha Spiritual friendship, compassion, joy in another’s purity, and benevolent indifference are pure qualities required for quick progress You must cultivate these pure qualities to remove negativity from your thinking
Santosha Supreme contentment Establishes you in God
Jnana Wisdom to differentiate between Purusha and Prakriti Establishes you in God
Viveka Discernment Tool to cultivate Jnana, through which you make pure and unbinding choices. Fills you with virtues. Establishes you in wisdom.
Dharma Purity. Goal of humanity. Establishes you in God
Karma Everything you think, speak and do i.e. all your thoughts, words and deeds Pure Karma unbinds you. Impure Karma binds you.
Karmashaya 'Storage bed' of all your Karma Keeps track of lifetimes of your Karma, Sanskara and Vasana
Sanskara and Vasana Latent impressions and desires, which are carried forward through your lifetimes  
Samvega and Upaya Degree of your yearning and intensity of means followed by you to purify yourself  
Shraddha Pure faith Deepens your devotion and facilitates realisation of your Supreme Goal of Yoga
Virya Enthusiasm to remain established in Yoga  
Nada Sound, which pervades all within the entire cosmos.  
Siddhi Realisation of true potential Can distract the mind and serve as obstructions to the Supreme Goal of Yoga
Kaivalya Derivative of Kevala, meaning Alone or Only. Kaivalya is realisation of the Supreme Conscious Existence.  



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