The sadhana in Satyananda Yoga is different to Patanjali’s eight-fold system. An explanation is given for the purification of the five sheaths which enclose our spirit. Asana and pranayama are the first and second steps which give us an understanding of Annamaya Kosha (sheath).
Annamaya is the outer layer, the gross physical body which represents flesh, muscles, and bones. It is nourished by the food (anna) we eat, so it is called annamaya kosha. Pranamaya kosha works on the prana (energy). It is the energy sheath and is the vital shell of the body. Pranayama means balancing the prana. Asana and pranayama sadhana lead to the balancing of matter and energy.
In the third and fourth steps, the practices of pratyahara and dharana are performed. In this stage there is integration of the body and the spirit, and self-observation is introduced. Pratyahara is sensory withdrawal and dharana is concentration and these two practices combined lead to centering the mind and management of the manomaya kosha. Then the vigyanamaya kosha is awakened and our intellect and wisdom are activated.
After these four stages there is assimilation and purification are taking place. Now the fifth and sixth stages become the yama and niyama. Here one’s positive qualities start manifesting and one has become an equinamous individual. The mind gravitates to a meditative state which then transform into samadhi (Annamaya Kosha).
Patanajali’s system has been modified by Swami Satyananda to be more contemporary for the needs of today.
Aim Hrim Klim