The Yoga Sādhanā (External Practices)
Daniela Bevilacqua [+]
SOAS, University of London
Chapter 5 focuses on the practice of yoga as a sādhanā, a spiritual discipline for sādhus, beginning from its external practices: yama, niyama, āsana, prāṇāyāma, pratyāhāra. Before addressing these practices, however, a general introduction on the yogic body is presented. Then, particular attention is given to āsanas and kriyās (actions) to purify the body and to certain mudrās and bandhas that are particularly important among ascetics, such as vajroli and khecarī mudrās. The different roles and practices of breath control are then described, ending with the retractions of the senses (pratyāhāra). These different practices will be contextualized within the learning frame of the ascetic world.