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Patanjali Yoga Sutra Chapter 2 Sadhana Pada and Your 114 Chakras

The Sadhana Pada, the second chapter of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, is a cornerstone of classical yoga philosophy. It outlines the practical means and practices to achieve the ultimate goal of yoga: self-realization and liberation (Kaivalya). This chapter is a guide for you to transcend the limitations of the mind and body, offering methods to cultivate discipline, control, and inner peace.

In this comprehensive analysis, we will study the Sadhana Pada of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras through the lenses of neuroscience, the cosmic connections of Sri Amit Ray’s teachings on the 114 Chakras, and modern psychology.

“The journey of yoga is balancing inward and outward; every breath and every pose brings you closer to the divine symmetry of the 114 chakras and cosmic unity.” – Sri Amit Ray

The Structure of Sadhana Pada

The Sadhana Pada consists of 55 sutras, divided into several themes, including:

  1. Kriya Yoga: The yoga of action, involving discipline, self-study, and devotion.
  2. Ashtanga Yoga: The eight limbs of yoga, providing a structured path for spiritual practice.
  3. Kleshas: The obstacles or afflictions that hinder spiritual growth.
  4. Samadhi: The state of deep meditation and ultimate realization.

Kriya Yoga: The Path of Action

Kriya Yoga, described in the first few sutras of Sadhana Pada, encompasses three main practices: Tapas (austerity), Svadhyaya (self-study), and Ishvara Pranidhana (devotion to a higher power). These practices aim to purify the mind and body, leading to a state of clarity and focus.

From a neuroscientific perspective, these practices can be seen as methods to rewire the brain. Tapas, or disciplined effort, can enhance neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to adapt and reorganize itself. Svadhyaya encourages self-reflection, fostering mindfulness and metacognition, which are associated with increased grey matter density in regions linked to self-awareness and emotional regulation. Ishvara Pranidhana, involving surrender to a higher power, can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation and stress reduction.

Ashtanga Yoga: The Eight-Limbed Path

Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga provides a comprehensive framework for spiritual practice. The eight limbs are:

  1. Yama: Ethical disciplines
  2. Niyama: Observances
  3. Asana: Physical postures
  4. Pranayama: Breath control
  5. Pratyahara: Withdrawal of senses
  6. Dharana: Concentration
  7. Dhyana: Meditation
  8. Samadhi: Absorption

Each limb builds upon the previous one, leading the practitioner from external practices to internal realization. Sthira Sukham Asanam is also one of the key concepts of yoga, and deep meditation is discussed this chapter.

In terms of neuroscience, Ashtanga Yoga promotes holistic brain health. For instance, Asana and Pranayama practices enhance body-mind integration and improve autonomic regulation, which can lead to better stress management and emotional stability. Pratyahara, Dharana, and Dhyana are practices that cultivate focused attention and mindfulness, leading to structural and functional changes in the brain that support cognitive flexibility, emotional resilience, and inner peace.

Modern psychology also supports the benefits of these practices. Cognitive-behavioral techniques echo the principles of Yama and Niyama, promoting ethical behavior and self-regulation. Mindfulness-based therapies draw heavily from the principles of Dharana and Dhyana, demonstrating efficacy in treating various psychological disorders, including anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

The Kleshas: Overcoming Mental Afflictions

The Kleshas, or afflictions, are five obstacles that impede spiritual progress:

  1. Avidya: Ignorance
  2. Asmita: Egoism
  3. Raga: Attachment
  4. Dvesha: Aversion
  5. Abhinivesha: Fear of death

Understanding and overcoming these Kleshas is crucial for achieving a state of yoga.

From a neuropsychological perspective, these afflictions can be seen as maladaptive cognitive and emotional patterns. Avidya, or ignorance, correlates with cognitive distortions that lead to flawed perceptions of reality. Asmita, or egoism, can be linked to an overactive default mode network (DMN), which is associated with self-referential thinking and rumination. Raga and Dvesha, attachment and aversion, involve the brain’s reward and aversion systems, which are mediated by neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Abhinivesha, or fear of death, relates to the brain’s primal fear responses mediated by the amygdala.

Sri Amit Ray’s teachings on the 114 Chakras provide a nuanced understanding of these afflictions. The chakras, as energy centers, can be seen as points where these Kleshas manifest. For instance, Avidya might be linked to blockages in the Ajna (third eye) chakra, while Abhinivesha could be associated with imbalances in the Muladhara (root) chakra. By working on these chakras through specific meditations and visualizations, practitioners can dissolve these afflictions, leading to greater psychological and spiritual well-being.

Cosmic Connections: The Universal Aspect of Yoga

Yoga is often described as a means to unite the individual self with the universal consciousness. This cosmic connection is a central theme in many spiritual traditions and is echoed in the Sadhana Pada.

The concept of cosmic connections can be explored through the idea of interconnectedness, both at a metaphysical and physical level. Quantum physics suggests that at the subatomic level, everything is interconnected. This idea resonates with the yogic view that individual consciousness is a part of the universal consciousness.

Neuroscience supports this idea through the concept of neural synchrony. When individuals meditate or engage in deep states of yoga, their brain waves can synchronize, leading to a sense of unity and oneness. This phenomenon is often described as a peak experience or flow state, characterized by a loss of self-consciousness and a feeling of being connected to something greater.

Sri Amit Ray’s 114 Chakras teachings further enhance this understanding. According to Ray, these chakras are not just confined to the human body but extend to the cosmic level, connecting us to the universe. Meditating on these higher chakras, such as the Guru, Soul, Polar, and Infinite chakras, can facilitate profound experiences of cosmic consciousness and universal love.

Modern Psychology: Integrating Ancient Wisdom

Modern psychology offers valuable insights that align with the teachings of Sadhana Pada. Positive psychology, for instance, focuses on strengths, virtues, and factors that contribute to human flourishing. This approach resonates with the Niyamas (observances), which emphasize purity, contentment, and self-discipline.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) align with the practices of Dharana and Dhyana, promoting mindfulness, cognitive flexibility, and acceptance of the present moment. These therapies encourage individuals to observe their thoughts without attachment, similar to the practice of Pratyahara.

Moreover, transpersonal psychology, which explores the spiritual aspects of the human experience, closely aligns with the ultimate goals of yoga. It emphasizes self-transcendence and the pursuit of higher states of consciousness, echoing the journey towards Samadhi described in the Sadhana Pada.


The Sadhana Pada of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras offers a profound and practical guide for spiritual practice, emphasizing the importance of discipline, ethical behavior, and inner transformation. By integrating insights from neuroscience, cosmic connections, Sri Amit Ray’s 114 Chakras, and modern psychology, we can deepen our understanding of these ancient teachings and their relevance in the contemporary world.

Neuroscience provides evidence for the transformative effects of yoga practices on the brain and mind, while modern psychology offers therapeutic frameworks that resonate with yogic principles. Sri Amit Ray’s teachings on the 114 Chakras expand our understanding of the subtle energy body and its cosmic connections, enhancing our spiritual journey.

Ultimately, the Sadhana Pada invites us to embark on a journey of self-discovery and transcendence, cultivating a state of unity and harmony within ourselves and with the universe. By embracing these teachings and integrating them into our daily lives, we can achieve greater mental clarity, emotional resilience, and spiritual fulfillment, leading to a more enlightened and connected existence.

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