Yoga – meaning

Derived from the Sanskrit word “yuj” meaning “to yoke.” yoga is a group of primordial religious practice where its roots can be traced in India. Among the six institutions of philosophy in Hindu, this is most of the time paired with Samkhya which is considered to be the oldest of the theoretical systems in the country. This ancient spiritual custom is also central to Buddhism and Jainism as well as with other established faiths. There are actually four major paths of this primordial religious practice namely Karma (action), Jnana (knowledge), Bhakti (devotion) and Raja (meditation). Karma is founded on the teachings of the holy book of Hinduism, Bhagavad Gita which presents a summary of the process. This classification of yoga …

How To Meditate With A Mantra

These days whenever a politician repeats a promise over and over again commentators say that this promise has become a “mantra” for that politician. For the journalists, the word “mantra” means a meaningless phrase that is repeated endlessly. For yogis however, a mantra is a word or collection of words, which has the power of liberating a human being from all limitations. How can the repetition of a word or a few words have the capacity to bring about such miraculous results? It is all based on a simple psychological principle, “as you think, so you become.” If you someone tells you “You’re stupid,” that’s of course a bad insult and will hurt you. However if you start to think …

Importance Of Controlling Your Mind

Since ancient times, the human philosophers have realized the importance of the mind in governing the human affairs. They knew that a person’s external circumstances were the result of his internal thoughts. They were aware that if the person thinks of riches, he would have riches, while if the thoughts are of poverty, success and failure would produce the corresponding effects in the person’s circumstances. Today, modern science has acknowledged the truth of these findings. Hence, it becomes crucial for a person to control his mind. Yoga has specific techniques which deal with the science of mind control. We will study the nature of the mind as is recognized by yoga in this chapter. Shankaracharya has defined the mind in …

Foundations of Yoga, Part 3: Satya (Truthfulness, Honesty)

Satya: truthfulness, honesty (A continuation of an explanation of the aspects of Patanjali’s Yama and Niyama) “Satya is said to be speech and thought in conformity with what has been seen or inferred or heard on authority. The speech spoken to convey one’s own experience to others should be not deceitful, nor inaccurate, nor uninformative. It is that uttered for helping all beings. But that uttered to the harm of beings, even if it is what is called truth, when the ultimate aim is merely to injure beings, would not be truth [satya]. It would be a wrong.” So says Vyasa. Shankara says that truthfulness means saying what we have truly come to know is the truth-mostly through our own …

Foundations of Yoga, Part 2: Ahimsa (Harmlessness)

Ahimsa: non-violence, non-injury, harmlessness In his commentary on the Yoga Sutras, Vyasa [Vyasa was one of the greatest sages of India, author of the Mahabharata (which includes the Bhagavad Gita), the Brahma Sutras, and the codifier of the Vedas.] begins his exposition of ahimsa: "Ahimsa means in no way and at no time to do injury to any living being." Shankara expands on this, saying that ahimsa is "in no capacity and in no fashion to give injury to any being." This would include injury by word or thought as well as the obvious injury perpetrated by deed, for Shankara further says: "Ahimsa is to be practiced in every capacity-body, speech, and mind." We find this principle being set forth …

Foundations of Yoga, Part 1: Yama and Niyama

Prerequisites for yoga “Knowledge (Jnana) does not come about from practice of yoga methods alone. Perfection in knowledge is in fact only for those who begin by practice of virtue (dharma). Yet, without yoga as a means, knowledge does not come about. The practice of yogic methods is not the means by itself, yet it is only out of that practice of yoga that the perfection in knowledge comes about. And so it is said by the teachers: ‘Yoga is for the purpose of knowledge of truth’” Thus wrote Shankara. All things rest upon something else-that is, all things are supported by another. This is because a foundation is needed for anything to exist. Being Himself the Ultimate Support of …

Finding Balance And Health With Yoga

Have you heard about the Gunas? No, they are not Disney characters! According to yoga there are three basic qualities or energies that make up everything. They are, rajas, tamas and sattva. Rajas is the energy of action, change and movement. Rajas is the fuel of passion and fire. Rajasic energy is also associated with the day light hours. We obviously need rajasic energy to create energy to move successfully throughout our world and lives. When we have too much rajasic energy we might appear to the outside world as extremely busy, go go go, do do do! Does this sound like you? Maintaining a high degree of rajasic energy leads to burn out! When rajas is out of balance …

Dhyana Yoga (meditation) for soul awakening.

A human life is a priceless gift of God. The Lord does not have a greater gift than this to give his beloved creatures. Its specialties and potentials are so extraordinary that its results can only amaze us. This gift has been given to us to fulfill divine goals. But it is our ill-fate that we have forgotten our divine nature, God’s gift and the goal/ importance of a human life. Neither do we know our divine potential, nor the Lord’s goal, wisdom or meditation. We are straying far away in this dark, gloomy world. This forgetfulness is strange. People generally forget objects and also what they have read, heard etc. A person whom we had known in the past …

Dhyana

Almost everyone has experienced the fact that when one starts concentrating his mind on any immediate object or an idea, the mind starts wandering. It is very difficult to keep the mind busy with a single thought. The ancient sages too encountered the same problems. Arjuna, in Gita had mentioned that controlling the mind is an impossible thing on earth. Hence, he was advised by Krishna that though mind control is difficult, it can be made silent and steady by regular practice of vairagya and abhyasa. However, he has warned that yoga is very difficult for people whose minds are not steady and controlled. Pantanjali, in Yoga Sutra has emphasized these two qualities to achieve mind control. Hence ,these are …

The Seven Chakras

Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning spinning wheel. These are a system of seven energy centers located along the spine. Each chakra corresponds to an area of the body, a set of behavioral characteristics and stages of spiritual growth. Practicing yoga and focusing your energies during different postures can help you to align your chakras and get all the wheels spinning in the same direction and speed. Understanding how to fine tune and control your chakras through yoga and meditation can help bring balance and peace to your mind, body and spirit. There are seven chakras, each associated with a different part of the body along the spine from the perineum to the crown of your head. Each chakra is …

Bliss Sheath: Samadhi (trance), heaven and the door of salvation

The last but extremely important sheath (5 covering layers of a living being) is the Bliss Sheath. When this sheath is uncovered, not only does the living being come very close to God but that it becomes God Himself. The soul is said to be a spark of God. Its ultimate form is Satya, Shiva, Sunder and God too is called Sat (existence), Chit (wisdom), Anand (bliss). Both these states ooze with supreme bliss. The ultimate goal is to make our lives happy, contented and blissful. When the Bliss Sheath is purified, a person awakens his soul wisdom and thus becomes God, from a good human being. Such a person’s glory is akin to that of God. This spiritual standpoint …

Bhakti Yoga – The Science Of Devotion

Bhakti means devotion to the Almighty. Bhakti yoga deals with devotion to God and achieving the union with Him. This is the easiest of all yoga types. This branch of yoga teaches the relation between the devotee and the divine. It does not involve any technical or complicated procedures. There is no need of any intellectual capacity to master this yoga. It has appealed to the common man because it gives him a feeling security and develops a kind of reliance and dependence on the object of his devotion. Bhakti yoga assumes that there is a higher power that has created the universe and is all-powerful. This power has the capacity to confer grace and mercy on him and thus …

Facts About Chakra Awakening

In order to be successful in life, we have to accept the fact that everything around us changes, all the time. Once you have reached the point where you can accept, it is time to adapt to the world around you. Chakra awakening is highly a debatable topic, with two distinctly different schools of thought. The answer could be, “Yes” or “No”, depending upon which school of thought you are trained in. Firstly, let’s cover the side that would say, “Yes” to helping you share the experience of Chakra awakening. There is no shortage of detailed information, made available by enlightened Yoga enthusiasts like Anodea Judith. Anodea Judith has made a Chakra balancing kit available, which gives a tour of …

The Seven Chakras

Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning spinning wheel. These are a system of seven energy centers located along the spine. Each chakra corresponds to an area of the body, a set of behavioral characteristics and stages of spiritual growth. Practicing yoga and focusing your energies during different postures can help you to align your chakras and get all the wheels spinning in the same direction and speed. Understanding how to fine tune and control your chakras through yoga and meditation can help bring balance and peace to your mind, body and spirit. There are seven chakras, each associated with a different part of the body along the spine from the perineum to the crown of your head. Each chakra is …

Dhyana – one of the sub practices of abhyasa

Almost everyone has experienced the fact that when one starts concentrating his mind on any immediate object or an idea, the mind starts wandering. It is very difficult to keep the mind busy with a single thought. The ancient sages too encountered the same problems. Arjuna, in Gita had mentioned that controlling the mind is an impossible thing on earth. Hence, he was advised by Krishna that though mind control is difficult, it can be made silent and steady by regular practice of vairagya and abhyasa. However, he has warned that yoga is very difficult for people whose minds are not steady and controlled. Pantanjali, in Yoga Sutra has emphasized these two qualities to achieve mind control. Hence ,these are …

Bhakti Yoga – The Science Of Devotion

Bhakti means devotion to the Almighty. Bhakti yoga deals with devotion to God and achieving the union with Him. This is the easiest of all yoga types. This branch of yoga teaches the relation between the devotee and the divine. It does not involve any technical or complicated procedures. There is no need of any intellectual capacity to master this yoga. It has appealed to the common man because it gives him a feeling security and develops a kind of reliance and dependence on the object of his devotion. Bhakti yoga assumes that there is a higher power that has created the universe and is all-powerful. This power has the capacity to confer grace and mercy on him and thus …