stillpoint yoga

yoga meditation and philosophy with Lynn Fraser
in the Himalayan Tradition of H.H. Sri Swami Rama


Himalayan Tradition

Swami Rama

What Is Yoga?




Off The Mat

Daily Practice



The Royal Path: The Eight Limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga

1.  Yamas

  • Ahimsa – non-harming, non-violence. Violence in speech or action is preceded by violent thoughts and even thoughts have repercussions on the mind.  Cultivation of ahimsa leads to spontaneous, all encompassing love.  Cultivating ahimsa lets us see unity in creation.

  • Satyais truthfulness and is a component of all moral codes.  Satya is truthfulness to ourselves and others in thought, word and deed.  One lie leads to more. Deception becomes second nature and leads to a fearful, scheming mind. 

  • Asteyais non-stealing, refraining from theft.  Desiring what others have is based on jealousy and inadequacy, a sense of being cheated, and/or a desire for retribution.  We can be haunted by the thought that someone else has what we feel we need to be complete and fulfilled.  Stealing won’t make us feel adequate.  Cultivating asteya develops a sense of completeness and self sufficiency and leads to freedom from the bondage of such cravings

  • Brahmacharya – appropriate use of the senses (sometimes includes celibacy). To walk in Brahman is only possible if the mind is free from sensual desires and sex is the most powerful of these.  Continence is not repression or even abstinence necessarily.

  • Aparigraha – non-grabbing, non-attachment, non-possessiveness.  It isn’t denying oneself material possessions.  It is a mental attitude of non-attachment, of not being addicted to or dependent on one’s possessions.  Danger lies in attachment or in craving more, not in the objects themselves.

2.   Niyamas

  • Shaucha is purity, of mind and body.  Body purity is easiest.  For mental purity, cultivate mindfulness and discrimination.  Be aware of thoughts and ask -will this lead me to greater freedom or greater bondage and ignorance?  Sincerity and perseverance are essential for this niyama.

  • Santosha – contentment.  It is a state of mind not dependent on material status and leads to effort based on duty and service not discontent and/or anticipation of rewards.

  • Tapas – ‘turning up the heat’. It involves practices that lead to perfection of body, mind and senses.  It is balanced, not excessive austerities.  It involves pushing our edge, working at the limit of our capacity which generates heat.  Tapas develops strength of body and mind and the blaze of spiritual fervor.

  • Swadhyaya is study that leads to knowledge of the Self.  It begins with understanding the scriptures intellectually.  The rational acceptance of spiritual truths leads to intuitive insights and true understanding of these truths.  Then knowledge of the Self dawns.

  • Ishwara Pranidhanais surrender to ultimate reality.  You need infinite faith and dedication.  Total surrender comes with  time, sincerity and perseverance.  The ego resists tenaciously but when ego is transcended, knowledge of Self is attained.

3.   Asana – physical postures of yoga.  Meditative – for sitting for meditation and   pranayama and cultural – for preparing the body for meditation and for improved health and flexibility.

4.   Pranayama working with breath and energy. It is control of prana, our vital energy that sustains body and mind.  It’s grossest manifestation is the breath.  Regulation of breath leads to regulation of mind. If the mind is disturbed, the breath will be also. Pranayama purifies and strengthens the nervous system.

5.   Pratyahara  is withdrawal and control of the senses.  Our mind contacts the world through the senses.  We can voluntarily withdraw our mind from our senses and isolate ourselves from distractions.  This control is a mental process, not physical.  It starts with awareness.

6.   Dharana – concentration. The dissipated powers of mind are gathered together and directed towards an object of concentration through continued voluntary attention (an act of will).  The mind thus becomes more powerful and penetrative.

7.   Dhyana – meditation. A concentrated mind in meditation is a product of prolonged concentration practice (dharana).  Concentration makes the mind one pointed.  Meditation expands the one pointed mind to a superconscious state by piercing through the conscious and subconscious.  The uninterrupted flow of our mind towards one object leads to the dawning of intuitive knowledge.  Meditation alone can take one to this blissful state of mind beyond the conscious and unconscious.

8.   Samadhi – enlightenment comes after prolonged and intense meditation.  You become one with Divine Self and transcend all imperfections and limitations.  It is beyond the three states of waking, sleeping and dreaming in a fourth state called turiya, sleepless sleep.  Your entire life becomes an expression of the unhindered flow of the Divine.


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