Yoga Sutra is a basic philosophical text for practicing and teaching yoga. It is classical writing which was written by a person called Patanjali. The writing contains 196 aphorisms about what yoga is. It goes through facts about how you can stay healthy by practicing yoga and how you can achieve peace of mind and happiness by meditation. Each one of the aphorisms is short.
Yoga philosophy is an important part of yoga practice. It is present every time we step onto our mat. And it doesn't matter if we practice pranayama = breathing exercise, meditation, or asana practice, yoga philosophy is always present. It gives guidelines to our practice and allows us to get deeper experience out from our practice. Yoga philosophy should be considered as a part of the practice, regardless of the level you practice. The philosophical background of yoga might allow us to experience a whole new level in our practice.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras defines yoga with following eight components:
1. Yamas: ethical rules
➰Ahiṃsā: non-violence, non-hurting
➰Satya: truthfulness, being honest with ourself and with others
➰Aparigraha: not being greedy
2. Niyama: virtuous habits, behaviors
➰Tapas: persistence, perseverance, austerity
➰Svadhyaya: study of self, self-awareness
➰Ishvarapranidhana: letting go of the ego
3. Āsana - asana practice
4. Prānāyāma - breath control
5. Pratyāhāra - drawing senses inward
6. Dhāraṇā - focused concentration
7. Dhyāna - staying with the state of concentration, meditation
8. Samādhi - bliss
You are probably familiar with some of these eight components already. However, as said, I keep this writing short for now. But, I will return to this topic later on, and explain the components a little more.