Patanjali describes various siddhis (Supernatural Powers) which can be acquired by practice of yoga in Yoga Sutra. By constant practice the yogi discovers powers which are considered to be supernatural but already available in all human beings, and only needs to be uncovered.
Most of the siddhis are achieved through mind control, high level of concentration and meditative state. The physical aspect of Yoga, Hatha Yoga, make us ready for the mental and spiritual aspect, though the the physical aspect also has very important role to play in purifying and strengthening the body.
I have not experience any of these powers myself and at present miles away from them, may be several births. But I believe that we should strive for this state, not for achieving the power but to reach the level where the siddhi is available. In Buddhism also there are description of how the Buddha had several powers and few of his disciples gained power to fly. These were all gained from meditation and mind control. But the Buddha tells us not to use those powers as they are distractions in the progress and make you fall in spiritual progress.
In the third chapter of Yoga Sutra, Vibhutipada, Patanjali describes various siddhis some of which are mentioned below. Most of these Siddhis are attained through the later part of the eight limbs of Yoga, namely Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi and combination of all these three.
In the aphorism 107 Dharana is described as “binding of mind to a specific subject with firm determination”.
In the aphorism 108 Dhyana is described as “prolonged period of determined concentration on a single subject”. It is somewhat equivalent to Meditation.
In the aphorism 109 achievement of super consciousness where “form disappears and only substance is experienced”, is called as Samadhi.
Practice of all the three Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi is known as Sanyam.
Here are some of the powers which can be achieved by a Yogi through Sanyam and control over the five elements of nature.
- Yogi can understand the nature as it is.
- Yogi can read the thoughts of others.
- Yogi can know the past and the future.
- Yogi can understand the language of the animals.
- Yogi can perceive the past lives and the deeds done in past life.
- Yogi can leave his body and enter others’ body.
- Yogi can predict death.
- Yogi gains knowledge about the entire universe.
- Yogi conquers thirst and hunger.
- Yogi can move at will.
- Yogi acquires the capacity of flying bodily in the sky.