By Tom Hess
We at Yoga Center of Chico are celebrating our three-year anniversary this month and we want to thank the people of Chico and the greater Northern Central Valley for supporting us. We are committed to bringing you the best, most consistent yoga teaching that we can.
One of the verses in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali refers to the unbroken commitment that a successful yoga practitioner has to embody to be a viable vehicle for transformation. Well, the same goes for a yoga studio because it has to be a consistent presence for the community, and at the Yoga Center of Chico we are committed to providing that long-term presence in Chico.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is the main philosophical text that serious modern-day yogis use as a guide for their practice. The Yoga Sutras consist of four chapters with 196 short aphorisms that succinctly describe the yoga practice. There are many interpretations of these short aphorisms and they all have a valuable place in the understanding of yoga and its history.
The sutras have only two of the 196 verses that describe the physical yoga practice. The rest of the text has to do with how the mind works, the various states of consciousness that are universal to all, and in the second chapter, the most important part of the sutras, the eight limbs of yoga. The eight limbs are: Yamas, Niyamas, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi.
- Yamas are the moral disciplines that a practitioner should have toward the world around us. They are nonharming, not telling lies, not accumulating unnecessary stuff, noncoveting others’ things, and the reservations of energy for spiritual pursuit.
- Niyamas are the moral disciplines that we have for ourselves. They are cleanliness, contentment, fervor, study, and recognition of a universal consciousness.
- Asana are the physical postures that clean out the energy of the body and make us lighter and feel better.
- Pratyahara is the removal of the senses from the outer world and an examination of the inner world.
- Dharana is the art of meditation on a particular object.
- Dhyana is the art of meditation on no thoughts at all.
- Samadhi is the absorption of the consciousness with the object of meditation.
These are an example of the pearls of wisdom that the Yoga Sutras has for us to study and follow. The Yoga Sutras also say to us what to expect with a long uninterrupted practice of these disciplines. When these guidelines are followed, they lead to an understanding that the real cause of our suffering as humans is within us and that we have control over how we react to the things that happen to us. So we at the Yoga Center of Chico are devoted to providing you with an opportunity to practice yoga with these guidelines as our principle.
Contact us at 530-342-0100, 250 Vallombrosa, Ste. 150, Chico.