The very first aim of yoga is “self-knowledge and self-perfection that comes through self-knowledge and self-realization”. The elements of Yoga are: (I) Karma: These are basically the ethical principles, rules, traditions or bindings for the moral conduct. (They may be moral codes or laws like abstaining from stealing, violence, lying, and harming others)
The first elements of yoga are in fact the essential foundations of it. The ethical codes and restrictions set by the guru are the fundamental aspects of this discipline. These are “Pranjali” which are also called the “Yoga Sutras”. There are many more ethical codes and precepts such as “Virat Kaula”, “Sarva Vippulu”, “Ashtanga”, “Pranmukta”. These are also collectively known as the “Principles of Yoga”.
The second and the third elements of yoga are the physical postures. These aspects of yoga include the “Vinyasa”,” prenatal postures” and “helps asanas”. The yoga poses for the physical body constitute the basis of this science. They are also accompanied by breathing techniques. These elements of yoga seek to attain union with the supreme consciousness or “God” by purifying the mind and focusing the energy on the central core of the body (the spine).
The fourth aspect or element is “dharana”. This refers to the “yoga asanas” or the yoga positions. These are considered to be the physical postures of yoga. These can be in various combinations to achieve the harmony between the elements of yoga.
The fifth and last component is “pranic wisdom”. It is the intuition of the inherent consciousness of the soul (atma). Prana is a highly subtle life force that is present in all things. This is what the yoga teachers call dharana. It is believed that the soul (atma) has an awareness of its own self which is fed by the food (prana).
Non-violence is one of the significant virtues that are known as “clusions” of the six elements of yoga. This is based on the philosophy that we should not harm others in any way, as we are also the ones receiving the action. Another important trait is “truth”. Patanjali upholds the unity of both the masculine and the feminine in our being. He believes that truth encompasses our individual being as well as the polarity of our yin and yang, the male and female energy, which is the basis of all the elements of yoga.
Nonviolence is the essential elements of yoga because truth is the basis of all our relationships. In yoga, the practitioner realizes the inclusivity of all beings and thus begins to develop the mental state of samadhi. samadhi is the state of consciousness that does not allow any differentiation between our true self and the image of ourselves created by other minds. The first step in achieving samadhi is to realize the inter-relatedness of all beings.
We have now seen the five main essential elements of yoga. Yoga’s six elements further indicate that the practice of the six yoga asanas is equally important as the yoga asanas. In order to fully understand the meaning of the six arenas, it would be helpful to perform some of the following exercises: Sit in a comfortable chair with your back straight. Breathe deeply and slowly.
Sit still and relax. Begin the yoga practice by looking into a piece of cloth. Now place your right hand on your abdomen and your left hand on your thigh. While your hands are still in place, trace the outline of your stomach line, moving slightly away from your heart. With your eyes closed, you can now focus on the outlines of your body, paying special attention to your feet.
In this position, you can now focus on your breathing. Focus your mind on a single point, either on your toes or your belly. Breathe deeply and slowly. Concentrate on your breathing and notice that your breath is becoming steady. In order to make this meditation deeper, you can now switch to using your nose for the breathing exercise. You can now focus on the sounds of your nostrils and try to listen to the sounds within your mind.
Once you are able to do all these three elements of yoga on your own, you can now move on to the last elements of yoga: samadhi and dharana. Samadhi is when you are totally present and here, you do not feel the pressures of everyday life. Dharana is when you are fully awake and detached from everything. In order for you to achieve samadhi, you must first experience dharana. To experience dharana, you must learn how to let go and release your mind. To master the elements of yoga, you must first practice proper self discipline.