Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

Let us see the tree of yoga. Many times you have heard that yoga has different practices, but how they are connected?

What is the first level of yoga? The first level is yama, right? What not to do, what should be avoided. So, what should be avoided – this is the root of the tree of yoga. Without roots any tree exists? Yes, exists – in a cut form. If you want the tree alive, it must have some roots. And you know the prohibitions – don’t lie, don’t steel, etc. These are the five don’ts – don’t do this, don’t do that. This is the basis, this is the root. It will keep you very firm, very fixed if you follow.

The next part of the tree of yoga is nyama, the practice that should be done – and this is the trunk. This is what you should do, what you should practice – like satisfaction, purity, simple lifestyle, etc. And ultimately worship of God. Because in the “Yoga Sutras” it is said: “You can achieve perfection also by worship of the Lord.” This all comes under the practice.

The third level of asana – these are the postures – are the greater branches of the tree. It will make the whole tree very beautiful. And with pranayama, which are the leafs on the tree everything comes under control. It brings the air to the functioning of the body, to the functioning of the tree of yoga also.

But certain things should be avoided, and to withdraw pratyahara is the next level.  This is the bark of the tree. It will prevent the loss of energy.

The next step, the next element of our tree is concentration, dharana – to preserve what we have – and this is the inner sap, circulating in the tree. Just like in our body different liquids are circulating and this will provide the good function of energy distribution and life.

These were the intermediate levels of yoga. And finally come the last two: meditation, dhyana, which is the flowers on the tree – you know the tree is very beautiful when it is in flowers – this is just the threshold of perfection; and ultimately the eight is the condition of trans, or samadhi, which is the fruit.

Without the root you cannot get the fruit. Therefore we have to perceive this whole tree of yoga – from the first step to the last.

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