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Power – Physical Strength In Yoga – Bala

Bala is the term used for strength or power in a physical, mental and spiritual sense with reference to Yoga. In the Yogasutra of Patanjali, the term bala occurs thrice.

Maitryadisu balani (Yogasutra III.23) – By employing samyama on maitri and the rest the practitioner gets strength in these qualities. Thus the qualities gain excellence by yogic practice. Here it is mental power only.

Baleshu hastyadini (Yogasutra III.24) – One acquires the strength of an elephant (and other powerful animals) by samyama (self control). This is a clear indication of the physical strength. But the point to be noted is that strength such is enormous and tremendous in the human body, but is lying dormant. It is also to be awakened by yogic practices. A clear indication of the mental power being the source of physical strength is given by the aphorism.

The physical strength is referred to (Yogasutra III.47) but it is the result of samyama on various aspects of elements (Yogasutra III.47).

Mental power, when it manifests through the body, is strength; when it is exercised it is called power. In addition to it certain superhuman powers (vibhuti – siddhi) have also been mentioned in Yoga Sutra. They are all mental powers. When strength/power is channelized towards spiritual achievement it becomes spiritual power.

Mundaka Upanishad (3-2-4) states that the self cannot be realized by a weak person. Chandogya Upanishad (VII.8.1) states: “The world is sustained by power, so acquire power.”