Introdution to Yoga
There are a lot of different types of yoga today, but only 12 lineage of yoga are true, so if you are starting out and feeling confused, you are normal. It is best to start with a type of yoga that is appropriate for your own level of fitness, physical and spiritual goals and health condition. The 12 most common types of traditional yoga lineage are described in this article and briefly explained to help guide you in choosing the best type of yoga that you can start with.
Since human beings began practicing yoga thousands of years ago, the symbol of a tree has often been linked with the spiritual discipline and for good reason! Yoga has a several of branches when it comes to how you choose to practice and all of them are based on the same philosophy, or trunk, of spirituality. Hatha yoga is the one most well known to Westerners and known as the physical act of practicing poses. Here are a few other important yoga lineage that you may choose to combine with your personal yoga practice.
Yoga is becoming a more and more popular activity in the Western world today. The number of places holding Yoga classes is on the increase and there is a plethora of different types of Yoga. With a choice of Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Raja Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and many more it can be easy to get confused. The article will help you to understand the difference between the most popular types of Yoga so you can choose which type is right for you. Such experiments like Bikram, Iyengar, Vinyasa or Power Yoga are not truly Yoga lineages because there is no yoga from someone name with only aception known as Shiva Yoga.
Yoga nowadays is very in demand especially the newest free online free yoga. Yoga practice and exercise can be learned in school. There are a lot of yoga so called „schools” all over the world. Before, yoga was only applied and practice in India through the Master or Guruh but now, looks like it has evolved but in not good direction. Almost all the people in the world know the word yoga although there are some who don’t have a clear picture of it. Yoga for the many people is an exercise and a means to concentrate with the mind and soul. But Yoga is really leading to Spiritual Illumination and Divine Realization of the Soul, Atma-Purusha.
People have used yoga techniques for more than 9,000 years. Over these centuries, yoga has developed into a system of widely varied practices, much like an ancient tree with many branches. Each branch of yoga was developed to serve specific human needs. As a general rule, though, they all serve one primary purpose: to bring into equilibrium the human mind and body and to lead toward Enlightement. Mainstream thought is finally catching up, with the progress Yoga is making, but it has taken 9,000 years for us to get this far.
The history of yoga is long and steeped in tradition. Contrary to what some people may believe, yoga was not developed as the newest way to slim down so they could fit into a smaller pants size. The history of yoga goes back 9,000 years. It originated in India and Himalayas (Tibet), and the first time the word yoga was found in written form was in the Rig Vada, one of the sacred texts used by Vedic priests. Yoga is a means of achieving spiritual enlightenment, illumination and spiritual realisation. Originally, yoga techniques were passed down from Master Teacher (Guruh) to student (shishya, siSya) through word of mouth. These techniques had never been written down until the Indian sage Patanjali wrote down a systematic method of yoga in the Yoga Sutras. Patanjali is considered to be the father of classical or modern yoga.
The Swami Vivekananda added to the history of yoga by bringing it to America. In 1893, he addressed the Parliament of World Religions and discussed the path of yoga. As a result of his speech, it quickly began to blossom as a practice in many areas of the country. Yoga has since gained major popularity in the United States and many different styles including Hatha, Raja, Karma, Bhakti, Jnana and Mantra, are practiced by millions of people. Knowing the history of yoga can help you, the practitioner, realize the richness that it has to offer. More than just a means of being fit and trim, yoga can help you live a healthy, whole, and empowered life.
To the ancients, Yoga is a complete system, of which the postures are a small, though quite useful part. The word „Yoga” referred to the whole, not merely one part, which is the postures, or Asanas. The entire purpose of Yoga is spiritual in nature, according to the ancient sages. The history of Yoga can conveniently be divided sometimes into the following four broad categories: Vedic Yoga, Preclassical Yoga, Classical Yoga, Postclassical Yoga. In modern times, the relative position of the postures has been elevated, so as to lead people to believe that the word „Yoga” refers to physical postures or Asanas, and that the goal of these is physical fitness. The whole and the part have been reversed, terribly misleading and confusing people about the true nature of authentic Yoga.
We now have millions of people who totally believe in the Big Lie that Yoga is an exercise or physical fitness program. The lie is so believed that true teachers and masters of yoga routinely receive emails attacking them about revealing or highlighting the true nature of Yoga through this and other articles. This is Western type of mental disturbing ideals whih are complitly unproper. It is so unfortunate that the word „Yoga” has so often been used in place of the word „Asana” or „posture” in last years of 20th century and begining of 21th century. We would not call a brick a „house” even though it is part of the construction. Yet, this is what is often done with Yoga. The first word of Yoga Sutras is „atha” which means „now,” implying a prior preparation. One may do postures, asanas, for years and finally be ready for Yoga. To call it „Yoga” before that time is a misnomer. If we had „asana classes” and „asana studios” that would be a great service to people. Then the word „Yoga” could be appropriately used for the journey that one begins when truly understanding the history and nature of authentic, traditional Yoga.
The goal or destination of Yoga is Yoga itself, union itself, of the little self and the True Self, a process of awakening to the preexisting union that is called Yoga. While it is not the intent of this article to give a final or conclusive definition of the term Yoga – which can be described in different ways – it has to do with the realization through direct experience of the preexisting union between Atman and Brahman, Jivatman and Paramatman, and Shiva and Shakti, or the realization of Purusha standing alone as separate from Prakriti. The mere fact that one might do a few stretches with the physical body does not in itself mean that one is headed towards that high union referred to as Yoga. Yoga is a spiritual system for Enlightement with a physical component like asanas and mudras.
Some creazy and mentally disturbed students and teachers of so called „modern Yoga” want to remove or ignore the spiritual orientation of Yoga, for a variety of reasons, mostly for „money gain”. Because of this, such people actually benefit by dropping the word Hatha from the term Hatha Yoga. By dropping the word Hatha, and calling it only Yoga, they can more easily avoid the fact that the ancient texts, such as the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, so clearly state the spiritual priority of traditional Yoga. They can escape the fact that „Ha” and „Tha” refer to the subtle energies of Ida and Pingala, the process of Kundalini Awakening, and attaining Samadhi – Spiritual Enlightment.
Ryc. See how to start Yoga practice
Several Authentic Yoga Methods
Mantra yoga is known as the „yoga of potent sound”. Mantra yoga aims at liberation through the verbal or mental repetition of empowered sounds, such as „om,” „hum,” and „ram.” Viniyoga yoga is another name of mantra yoga and links to traditional vedic mantras and breathe with movement and sound in flowing exercises that are modified to each individual. Viniyoga is a good form of yoga for those with back problems or neck injuries because it can be easily adapted by everyone.
The word mantra is believed to come from the Sanskrit words “man,” which means mind, and “tra,” which means instrument. Some religions have the belief that while chanting a mantra, a man or woman can possibly become an instrument that a higher power may channel. They believe that a mantra is a type of tool that allows thought to reach a higher power or a higher level of Enlightenment. A mantra is a phrase or word that is chanted or spoken repeatedly to produce a sound believed to help with meditation or prayer. Ideally, the phrase or words should produce a pleasant, soothing sound. In some instances, the chanting of a mantra will produce a humming noise, not really sounding like words at all. Mantras are intended to help empty the mind so a communication with a higher power will be possible. Mantras are believed to have originated in ancient India, but are also sometimes used in Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism and Sikhism.
Hatha yoga is focused solely on body alignment and executing precise movements. Yoga accessories such as blocks and straps are normally used by beginners who are not as flexible as the experts. Yoga accessories help assist all sorts of people to be able to do the poses comfortably. Because of its attention to details and the flexible modification of poses, hatha yoga is often considered a good form of exercise for people with neck or back pain, as they are likely to benefit from the random movement in the poses. Practicing hatha yoga will give you a good knowledge on the classics in yoga poses so that whatever other style you eventually practice, you will have the basic fundamentals on how to do each position. In hatha yoga the teacher focuses more on alignment and inner awareness. This awareness starts with the body and expands to other parts of the self as one continues to practice regularly.
Hatha Yoga – in Sanskrit – an ancient classical deva language of India – „Ha” means „Sun” and „Tha” means „Moon”. This type of Yoga is relatively slow paced, gentle type of Yoga and is a good place to start if you are completely new to Yoga and don’t know any of the asanas (poses). Like all types of Yoga, Hatha Yoga aims to unite the mind, body and spirit. Normal Hatha Yoga consider Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama and Pratyahara of Ashtanga Yoga Exercises of „Eight Group”. If enhanced well being is your goal, you should consider the practice of hatha yoga. In addition to meditation, which is a common technique in all yoga branches, hatha yoga teaches a series of postures (known in yoga terminology as asanas) and breathing exercises (called pranayamas). Hatha yoga is considered to be one of the primary antecedents of modern physical therapy.
Laya Yoga is an ancient form of meditation, with concentration on energy centers or chakras (Cakras). Sage Gorakshnatha, an ancient sage of Nepal, and a disciple of Matsyendranath is the modern founder of Laya yoga tantrika. There are five main energy centers in the spine and two in the head. Laya yoga attempts to locate these energy centers and channelize them through meditation. Laya essentially means to dissolve all karmic patterns or conditioning and merge into the transcendental reality. It also means deep concentration and making an effort to obliterate the ego, thereby rising to a higher state of consciousness, called Turiya.
Laya yoga involves techniques of meditation that cause the energy or Prana to move in certain ways, to awaken the Kundalini, the coiled up energy at the base of the spine. Laya yoga channelizes the energy forces in the Kundalini instead of merely controlling the mind. It is important that the Kundalini is activated through performance of asanas, practice of pranayama and making a conscious effort to guide this awakened energy in the spine and allowing it to immerse in the crown chakra (Cakra/m).
Laya Yoga is also called Kundalini Yoga, because the raising of Kundalini energy to unite her with the supreme consciousness is the main objective, which is reached through deep meditation (dhyana). Includes the practice of postures (asanas) and breath control (pranayama) to energize the subtle channels (nadis), removing obstacles to samadhi or non-duality. Through the repetition of a mantra or seed sound, a higher state of deep concentration (dharana) can be reached at which the divine form inherent in the mantra becomes manifest. Part of Laya Yoga that deals with the sounds of the inner world is Nada Yoga.
Uro Yoga called Raja Yoga
Raja yoga aims for liberation through meditation. Raja yoga is meant for those people who are capable of intense concentration. A branch of yoga which places an even greater emphasis on meditation and knowledge is raja yoga. Known also under the name of classical yoga, raja is a more advanced discipline. Practitioners usually start with hatha yoga in order to prepare the body for this advanced training. Studies have shown that people attracted by this form of yoga are generally more introspective and more drawn to profound meditation. Various religious groups devote themselves to this yoga path, which is similar to a monastic or contemplative lifestyle.
In raja yoga, the main goal is a calm and spiritual, meditative state. There are eight principles that are followed strictly and in order in raja yoga and, though important, physical movement or poses is not the focus. The eight principles or stages alled ashtanga or dharma wheel are:
1. Ethical standards or yama – abstaining from violence, stealing, lust, greed;
2. Self-discipline or niyama – developing devotion, purity, studiousness, contentment, discipline;
3. Posture or asana – 84 classical postures and mudras;
4. Breath control or pranayama – controlling the breath;
5. Sensory withdrawal or pratyahara – yogic spiritual psychology and psychotherapy, going inward and withdrawing attention from the outside world;
6. Concentration, focus or dharana
7. Meditation, lights or dhyana
8. Liberation, the Highest Light Ecstasis or samadhi (samAdhi) – merging with the universal consciousness.
Ashtanga yoga is not seperate yoga tradition but it is name of 8 limbs of hatha and raja yoga commonly called „power yoga” because it is focused on a powerful flowing movement. The movements include pushups and lunges, which deals with strength and stamina. Ashtanga yoga is best for people who have a strong back, or have successfully overcome back injuries and are looking for more challenging practice. Athletic people such as runners, cyclists and gynmasts who wish to add more balance and concentration to their routines are also fans of Ashtanga yoga in the West.
Ashtanga Yoga – this is the type of Yoga that people practice on a regular basis and means „eight limbs” in Sanskrit. It’s a fast moving, intense style of Yoga practice and is based on a progressive set sequence of asanas (vinyasas), synchronized with the breath. Ashtanga Yoga can be quite physically demanding as you constantly move from one asana in the sequence to the next, so you’ll find that it will improve your stamina as well as your flexibility and strength.
Vinyasa is not another kind of Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga but it means breath synchronized movement and is another fast paced type of Hatha Yoga, with an emphasis on breathing like in Kalaripayat or Qigong (Chi Kung). A practice typically starts with sun salutations and moves on to more intense stretching. Throughout the practice each pose is balanced with a counter pose.
Three main steep or wheels in traditional Raja Yoga are: Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga!
Another popular branch is karma yoga, which operates under the principle that everything that happens to us in our life is a direct consequence of our past actions. As a result, karma yoga encourages practitioners to eliminate negativity and selfishness from their current lives, to avoid having to deal with future consequences. Karma yoga is practiced throughout one’s day, including at work. Activities undertaken with the goal of helping other people, such as volunteering at a soup kitchen, are associated with the karma yoga path.
The focus of karma yoga is on service and treatment of others. The basic idea is that our experiences today are a direct result of our past actions. Therefore, everything that those who practice karma yoga do today is in an effort to create a better future for themselves and those around them. They do this by eliminating the motivations of pessimism and egotism. This means living for others instead of ourselves. The most important part of real karma yoga is service for true Shree Guruh – Yoga Master.
Bhakti, love or commonly known as devotional yoga. Bhakti yoga focus on self surrender in the face of the divine, if you know what that means. Bhakti yoga promotes the ideal of devotion. The principle message of this yoga path is the presence of something divine in every form of creation. Hence, it is important to tolerate, accept and respect any form of life with which we come into contact. Bhakto Yoga is derived from Shivaism and Shaktism.
Bhakti means devotion to the Almighty, mostly in for of Krisha, Rama, Shiva or Devi. 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 protecting him from all the harms and evils. The devotee or bhakta is expected to make himself fit for receiving this divine grace. For this, he has to practice devotion and virtue. His ultimate goal should be to unite with this divine power and rest eternally in happiness and peace. The devotee surrenders all his motives and acts to the Divine Power. He renounces all responsibilities towards the good or bad consequences of all his actions and ascribes it to the will of the Supreme.
Devotion and faith play a vital role in this branch of yoga. The devotee or bhakta is supposed to be highly religious, should adopt a friendly stance towards all the other living beings including animals, read religious texts, concentrate on the symbol of the Divine, think and wish well for others etc. The beauty of this yoga lies in its simplicity. This has made it one of the most appealing of all the yoga types. Following this yoga develops the peace of mind in an individual. A peaceful individual will always think happy and prosperous thoughts and will thus lead a happy life.
Those who practice jnana yoga are most concerned with the development of the mind. They are scholars interested in the philosophy behind yoga and they their yoga practice focuses on studying and understanding ancient and traditional texts. This is thought to be one of the most intense yoga disciplines as the learning is intense and difficult.
This branch of yoga is directed mainly to scholars and wisdom people like anient Rishis. It involves development of the intellect (budhi) through the study of yoga tradition, scripts and texts. It is also known to be the yoga of the heart and wisdom. Although it is described as the most difficult of all yoga practices, jnana yoga is also considered of the most direct and rewarding paths.
Jnana means the knowledge, true knowledge. This part of yoga is the yoga for the intelligent and selected „wisdom” people. This yoga is the ultimate goal of all the other varieties of yoga means karma, bhakti, mantra and hatha. This yoga teaches you to look at the world as it is without any ignorance and bias. You can achieve this state by practicing rigorous mental discipline and virtue. This yoga with Jnana is also called Raja Yoga or the king of all the yogas, since it is of the highest variety and rules over all the other varieties. This is the Yoga that Patanjali has described in his Yoga Sutras.
This yoga is made up of eight parts of which five are external and the other three are internal. Two of its parts, viz yama and niyama deal with types of behaviour that the student of yoga should avoid like lying, cheating, stealing etc. and those behaviours that he should cultivate like cleanliness, non-collection etc. Asanas and Pranayama are the next two parts of this yoga. Asanas are the physical movements that help in developing the suppleness of the body and thus cure any diseases. You can control your breath by using pranayama which increases the capacity of the lungs to take in air and thus increases the vitality of the body. The next part Pratyahara denotes the withdrawal of the sense organs from objects of enjoyment. The remaining three parts deal with intense mental concentration.
Patanjali maintained that practicing these eight parts of yoga faithfully and intensely will, over a period of time, erase all the impurities of the body and mind and thus attain knowledge that will liberate the person from bondage and ignorance. This yoga is called Ashtanga Yoga since it is made of eight parts. It is also called as Dhyana yoga due to its stress on mental concentration. Hence, whenever there is any mention of yoga, it is usually implied that the person is talking about Jnana Yoga.
Kriya Yoga, as taught by Lahiri Mahasaya, is traditionally learned via the Guru-disciple relationship and is siplified Raja Yoga method or true level of Raja Yoga above Karma, Bhakto and Jnana steeps. He recounted that after his initiation into Kriya Yoga, „Babaji instructed me in the ancient rigid rules which govern the transmission of the yogic art from Guru to disciple.” Kriya Yoga finds mention in the ancient spiritual texts of Patanjali Yogasutras „Tapah svadhyayeshvara pranidhani kriyayogah” (Second Pada; Sloka 1). It was later revived by Yogiraj Sri Shyamacharan Lahiri in the 19th century. Subsequently Paramhansa Yogananda in his Autobiography of a Yogi (1946) reported the same for his style of Yoga. The system consists of a number of levels of Pranayama based on techniques that are intended to rapidly accelerate spiritual development. Yogananda attributes Kriya Yoga to his lineage of gurus, deriving it via Yukteswar Giri and Lahiri Mahasaya from Mahavatar Babaji (fl. 1860s). The latter is reported to have introduced the concept as essentially identical to the Raja Yoga of Patanjali and the concept of Yoga as described in the Bhagavadgita.
How to find the right Yoga Teacher for You
In order to find a quality yoga instructor, you need to know what to look for. Since there is no universal certification program for yoga teachers, not all of them are created equal as you can see by the following example. Find out how many years the teacher has been practicing yoga and how long he has been teaching. Ask about how many hours of training he has received. Although there is no universal yoga teacher certification, many quality studios require that their instructors complete a minimum number of training hours before they are allowed to teach. If the instructor has 200 or more hours of teachers training, there is a chance that he has solid skills to work with.
In order for you to get the most out of yoga, you have to feel comfortable with the instructor or teacher. Yoga is intensely personal so it is critical that you like and trust the teacher. A good instructor will make the class a secure and peaceful experience for students. A yoga class encourages you to practice barefoot and breathe deeply. It is very difficult to get the most from your yoga instruction if you are worried about contracting a disease from an unclean studio. A good yoga teacher does not impose her/his personal christian, ateistic or westerns beliefs on students. Yoga is not a modern setarian religion but Yoga is real vedic spiritual heritage for all humanity. You should be able to practice any religion, or none at all, and still feel comfortable in the yoga class. You also should not be required to restritivly eat or act a certain way to be considered acceptable to the teacher.
Yoga promotes freedom and spiritual life alled sanatana dharma, so you should not be held bondage to someone else’s beliefs like chrostian sects. You should be free to live whichever yoga way is right for you. Quality yoga instruction can be very important for you in your yoga journey. By keeping these ideas in mind when you search for a yoga teacher, you are very likely to find the one that is just right for you. But remember that yoga based on Yama and Niyama direct guidenlines and you have to understand Yama and Niyama and start to live as Yogi or Yogini!
Yoga is a lifestyle change that includes a safe diet; exercise, adjusting posture, breathing, and a whole lot more. Most of the Yoga practitioners, I know, consume more water, eat more moderately, and take more care of their bodies, in comparison to the many who don’t want to leave the couch. In summary, the benefits of Yoga practice have always existed, through steady and safe practice under good instructor, teacher or guruh. Seek out a safe teacher and go from there. Never push yourself to the point of strain. Moderation is key, so it is wise to avoid extremes. The real benefit of steady Yoga practice is training for longevity. Long-term practice will yield optimum health benefits in mind (manas), body (kaya), and spirit (atman).
There are many challenges faced by those who are seeking authentic Yoga as the path to Enlightenment or Self-realization that it is intended to be. As with many endeavors in life, progress begins with understanding. Understanding the current situation within the modern Yoga community will help tremendously in sharpening one’s ability to recognize the difference between modern adaptations and authentic Yoga of the ancients. Once seeing the difference between the adaptations and the authentic, it then requires the determination to be in a minority, to not just get caught up in the flow of the latest fad. That determination, followed by action will lead the authentic student of authentic Yoga to an authentic path. It is said that when the student is ready, the teacher will come. It is also said that the ideal teacher will come for each student, depending on the aspirations the seeker holds in the heart.
Yoga and the Breath
Your yoga practice and the way you breathe are intertwined. You won’t fully experience the benefits of yoga without first learning how to breathe properly. Different types of yoga practice call for different types of breathing, so it is important to note from the beginning that there is no one right way to breathe in yoga. If, in your yoga practice, your goal is total relaxation then your breathing should reflect that. This means long deep breaths meant to slow your heart rate and allow you to fully relax into the yoga pose. Here are a few tips:
The diaphragm is where the breath originates in yoga and in everyday life. When you breathe in, your stomach puffs slightly because your diaphragm is filling with air. When you breathe out, your stomach flattens as your diaphragm empties itself of air. When you breathe, be sure that your stomach is moving, that you aren?t restricting this movement in any way. It’s important to relax every muscle in your chest, your face, your neck, your shoulders ? even your jaw ? in order to benefit from a relaxing breath in yoga. One way to do this is to clench the body part in question and then let go entirely. You may not even realize that your muscles are locked until you try to contract them.
Keep your breaths smooth and easy during your yoga practice. Everyone breathes at their own natural rate, but becoming conscious of your breath does not mean controlling it in any way. Notice your breath and relax into your own natural rhythm. Breathing faster, in and out, is a natural reaction to stress or excitement. It stands to reason then, that relaxing breath in yoga should accentuate the exhalation. Breathe in naturally and make sure that your exhalation is longer than your inhalation and fully empty your diaphragm and lungs of air. Pausing between breaths will allow you to relax even further in yoga. No need to rush through your relaxation. When you breathe, feel the oxygen in the lungs and visualize it reaching every extremity, every toe and finger. Let your whole body enjoy the relaxing breath in your yoga practice. When you learn how to breathe, you will find that it comes naturally in your yoga practice and in time, will continue in your everyday life.
Yoga Meditation – leads to gaining Enlightenment
Every process of true Yoga, neigh meditation that frees us from the clutches of attachment, bondage or Moha, whatever we may call it. Is the right process on the path of gaining Enlightenment. We need to understand that it is the path of yoga which shall lead us to gaining Enlightenment within this life. The word yoga has been derived from the Hindi root yog and which in Hindi means synthesizing two things. In Hindi or Sanskrit two plus two equal four and the effort of our soul (the atman within) to merge with the super soul (the Paramatman, the Almighty God) is truly known as yoga.
Yoga in other words is the effort of every soul (Jivatman) to merge with the Almighty God, Brahman, at the earliest. And for this to be achieved we need to follow a routine of yogic exercises and also meditate (perform yoga) on the Almighty God (Brahman). This process of meditation can be best understood once we are able to understand the meaning of Meditation, Dhyana. Meditation in Sanskrit means yoga. Never otherwise or vice versa! Performing Yoga (Meditation) is the process which enables us to cut across the shackles of the senses and the mind and to be able to come free of the senses and the mind one needs to perform yoga (meditation) in a manner that the dross within our soul (atman) reduces at a faster pace.
To be able to rightly perform Yoga (Meditation) we need to concentrate on the basic belief of life and that is the basic building block of the total Cosmos is an atom, Anu. A cluster of atoms grouped together are called as molecules and a cluster of molecules is what the whole complex Cosmos comprises of. Truly speaking the whole Cosmos, Brahmanda, is built up of clusters of atoms and molecules and there is nothing solid in the whole Cosmos. Everything in the Cosmos has a gaseous formation a form of energy called prana. As we have seen in the Star Wars or Star Trek serial during the deportation of human beings from one place to another they get transformed into pure energy for a temporal phase.
In yogic exercises the Shavasana (shavAsana) pose carries the most importance for one on the path of gaining Enlightenment. It is this process of Shavasana in which one can lie down in the death pose and concentrate on the process of breathing. While lying down in the Shavasana pose as we gradually realize the ultimate truth of life that it is not the body which is inhaling the requisite essentiality (the pure air) but it is our soul (the real self within) the body which needs the pure oxygen the body tends to lose its meaning. We become more and more aware of the real truth within us and that truth is our soul (atman) which resides within our body.
Meditation has been practiced throughout the world for thousands, of years. It is generally accepted that the practice originated within the Eastern religions, more particularly within Vedic Brahminism from Himalayas. The chief aim of meditation is to allow the individual to discover a place of inner peace and quiescence. It is a form of personal and spiritual development that acts to free one’s mind from the trappings of the physical plain of existence. In many cases, the act of meditation is an effort to reacquaint oneself with the higher powers. The motivation behind the act of meditation differs from person to person, but it would appear that meditation is performed in a way similar to prayer in western religions. The notion of becoming closer to one’s God plays a significant role in most forms of meditation.
In modern times, there has been a significant change in the way individual’s approach meditation. Meditation has always been intimately connected to the principles of religion and spirituality. In the west, one gets the sense that practitioners of meditation have little connection to the major organized religions. Meditation, in a sense, has supplanted religion as a way to stay connected with the higher powers. While meditation has become extremely popular outside of the hierarchy of the church and faith, it is generally accepted that it still exists within the realm of spirituality and ethics. One common thread between modern practitioners of meditation would appear to be the notion of living an ethical lifestyle. In essence, this refers to the ability of the individual to exemplify their internal, spiritual insights in their external, material life.
Meditation has shown to have incredible benefits for committed practitioners. Many people have reported improved concentration, self-discipline, and awareness as a consequence their meditative practices. It has also been known to induce a sense of calm, inner peace and harmony. From a health and fitness perspective, meditation has the ability to relieve stress, and to assist with proper cardiovascular and respiratory function. Meditation may be not be for everyone but for elder, advanced and inteligent souls. But for those individuals that are motivated to make some positive changes in their lives, Meditation may be the key to unlocking the potential within. Do not be eager to dismiss the claims made above. Do some research, and talk to your friends and family. There is a good chance that somebody you know has benefited from meditative practice.
Foto: Shiva Yogeshvara
The only Yoga Founder, Giver and Owner
All Yoga is Shiva Yoga
Shiva Yoga is a living path of inner transformation to enlightenment and kaivalyam (liberation and freedom). Stemming from the Vedas, Shiva yoga addresses our perpetual questions of our origin, destiny, purpose, the purpose of the cosmos, love and faith. This is not particular form of yoga (or union) but it is Yoga and is devoted to Lord Shiva – the truly Founder of all Yoga. Shiva yoga explains Shiva as manifestation of the three primary gods, Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra but Shiva as the Heart of Yoga. Shiva is in the Rudra or Hara form the destroyer of ignorance and suffering. Everything in creation is always changing and making way for something more. This is the energy of Shiva.
Through Shiva Yoga or simply Yoga, the student comes to realize that within the constant changes, it is the “always” factor that holds the key. It is that constant that is and explains the universe, God and our role in life. The practice of spiritual discipline is called Sadhana (sAdhana). Shiva Yoga offers special techniques, used as aids and guideposts to help the student on his path. This sadhana involves meditation, breathing techniques, yoga techniques, chanting, studying, devotional service (seva) and contemplation to name a few.
Shiva Yoga uses a mantra in meditation as a vehicle for Shaktipat (the descent of grace). This spiritual energy is transferred from the guru to the disciple and enlivens the Kundalini, (the dormant spiritual energy of self-realization). This process is spontaneous when the student experiences his mantra in a pure form. Shiva yoga explains that Shiva plays the role of paving the way through eliminating the impurities and obstacles of the body and mind.
For this reason, Shiva – the Yoga Founder and Giver – is seen as the perfection of austerity, penance and meditation. In this state of pure consciousness, the student is saturated with the awareness of consciousness and comes to understand that matter is not separate from consciousness but rather it is all one. The Vedas say that there is only one Truth, but the wise call it by many names. In the case of Shiva yoga, it is the blueprint for spiritual life. The universe is described as luminous and everything is divine. The wind and rain, the sun and sky, light and darkness, all of nature is that one God.
Finally, Shivayoga Pradipika, a valuable Yoga manual, speaks of Shivayoga as having four aspects – Shiva Bhakti, Shiva Jnana, Shiva Vrata and Shiva Dhyana. Shivayoga in one sense is integral, for it integrates Bhaktiyoga, Jnanayoga, Karmayoga and Dhyanayoga all in one. Shivayoga Pradipika defines Linga as the connecting and co-ordinating link between Shiva and Shakti or as the unifying principle of truth and will. This concept of Linga is significant and valuable. Shiva is the Sat aspect of reality while Shakti is its Chit aspect. Shiva (God) and Shakti (Goddess) are the transcendent and immanent, static and dynamic, personal and impersonal aspect of reality. There seems to be an apparent opposition between the two. There is no opposition because Sat and Chit become one in Ananda. That is why reality is spoken of as Sacchidananda. The one saving feature of Shivayoga is this that it has endeavoured to resolve this apparent opposition not by taking the aspects one after the other but by ascending to a height of spiritual intuition where the two are melted and merged into a perfect whole.
There are twelve streams of traditional proper Yoga school entroduced through the Founder of Yoga. There are from easiest to the most hard to practice for human beings order:
1. Mantra Yoga called Vini Yoga – sound, recitation, singing and prayers method;
2. Hatha Yoga – balance mothod;
3. Bhakti Yoga – sarifice method;
4. Laya Yoga – dissolving method, called Kundalini Yoga, Siddha Yoga or Chakra Yoga;
5. Kriya Yoga – inner work method;
6. Lakshya Yoga – goog life and prosperity method;
7. Jnana Yoga – wisdom and knowledge
8. Uro Yoga – light method called Raja Yoga with three steeps: Karmayoga, Bhaktiyoga and Jnanayoga.
9. Vasana Yoga – animal yanas of devas method;
10. Para Yoga – higher method, higher unifying;
11. Amanaska Yoga – above mind and thought yoga;
12. Sahaja Yoga – natural enlighment or birth as realised inkarnation of deva.
There is to so called Maha Yoga, the Great Yoga, based on Mantra, Hatha, Laya and Raja Yoga as used through Shiva Yogeshvara – the Yoga Founder. The Maha Yoga is introductionary Yoga system for beginners and is called lassial Yoga. Such Yoga Methods like Para, Amanaska and Sahaja Yoga are not commonly thought because only realised, enlighment masters, siddhas and avataras are able to pratice it. Even Uro or Raja Yoga is not easy because starts from Padmasana position… Hatha Yoga is Yoga toward Padmasana, and Raja Yoga starts when sadhaka, praticer, may perform all Lotus Asanas and is able to meditate for longer time in Padmasana position – even to one yama time means three hours or more! And the most important point is that there is no yoga styles from different teachers names! It is confusion when someone use name for yoga styles like Bikram or Iyengar. Only Shiva Yoga for the Founder is exeption from this restricted rule.
Normally, each one who practice any kind of Yoga is follower of the Founder, so is Shiva follower. If someone thinks that with him or her is another he or she may be crazy or confused or mentally disturbed… All Yoga leads to Shiva Yogeshvara – the truly Founder and Owner of all kinds of Yoga! Be ye not crazy, not confused, not mentally disturbed and be ye not creator of new yoga! Yoga is created and has its Owner and Founder – Shiva! Practice properly under right guidens. And remember that Mantra Yoga is the Mother means fundament of all Yogas and without mantras there is no yogas!
Names of false modern styles of Yoga
Many, if not most of so called the modern „styles” of Yoga have the surname of a currently living man in front of the word Yoga, as if that man, himself, has invented Yoga. This is not to say that these teachers are not competent or even superb in their physical abilities. They may do a very good job within the scope of their teachings. Several other modern systems have taken an ancient Sanskrit word or phrase that has a specific spiritual meaning, and then adapted that terminology to some set of postures or practices that were not part of the original intent of the Yoga Founder.
These modern teachers have then trademarked these ancient, traditional names, further misleading an unsuspecting public. This leaves the would-be students with the impression that the current day founder of this brand name system is somehow linked to the original teachings associated with that word or phrase. It further leads people to believe that the new teachers certified by that founder also have some expertise or familiarity with the traditional practice or level of attainment authentically associated with that word or phrase. In reality Shiva is the only treadmarker for Yoga.
If you were to turn the clock back a hundred years, maybe even fifty, twenty, or less, few, if any of these current styles, systems, or methods of Yoga even existed. Most of the founders of these modern, so-called Yoga styles were not even born. Therefore, these modern styles are very suspect when, at the same time, we say that Yoga is thousands of years old. This is not a mere call to go back in time to some theoretically more pristine era of Yoga. Here, it really has been a case of throwing away the baby with the bath water.
The nature of Yoga is even further confused in the public eye by the way the methods are promoted. Reviewing almost any list of the best known 10-12 modern Yoga „styles” like Power, Bikram, Vinayasa or Iyengar will quickly reveal that almost all of the modern Yoga styles have been invented in the last few decades. Very few Yoga teachers today will simply teach „Hatha Yoga,” the physical Yoga system of the past that actually had spiritual goals, let alone the true spiritual Yoga. Most of the modern „styles” of Yoga are false beause did not exist a few decades ago, while Yoga itself is thousands of years old and needs authority alled Shree Guruh and spiritual lineage from master to disiples.
As you can see, there are many types of yoga to choose from. It is a good idea to discuss the type of yoga practiced before engaging in any yoga class. In particular, learn which philosophy the teacher uses, so you’ll know if it will be a gentle, passive yoga, or a bone crunching form. Both you and the teacher – acharya will be glad you knew what you were getting into, before the class begins.
Unlike branches on a tree, the paths of yoga often intersect and overlap. Though it is difficult to hang from two or three tree branches at once, it is not difficult at all to practice more than one path of yoga. Try them all if you like and choose the ones that most appeal to you for the time. Always look for real Shree Guruh and corret your ideals about Yoga under Guruh guidens.
Many blinded and false yoga styles on the West have been derived from classical Hatha and Raja Yoga, and are designed to suit various preferences, mostly crasy. Most of the different yoga positions practiced fall into one of two categories: meditative or therapeutic. There are literally hundreds of yoga basic positions or yoga asanas but normally only 84 tipes of asanas do exist. All of the true yoga positions are designed to provide benefits for both the mind and the body.
Each of the five prayer positions have a corresponding yoga position, and the positions together help to activate all seven chakras or energy fields in the body. The different yoga types and positions focus on different chakras or energy forces and nadis. The numerous positions that are part of yoga were originally designed to prepare the body for meditation and samadhi. Asanas have to form divine body for human beings and this aim have to be observe.
Asanas – mostly emphasis in hatha yoga, the actual poses or positions of yoga, may seem difficult or complicated to the novice. However keep in mind that all the basic positions of yoga are designed to help develop both strength and flexibility. Many yoga positions involve deep stretching and, as such, could help the repetitive trauma disorders tendonitis, tennis elbow, and carpal tunnel syndrome. A basic knowledge of yoga postures and philosophy is helpful, but not essential. If you cannot be comfortable in your meditation and yoga positions, then you will be unsuccessful.
Unfortunately, many believe that yoga requires tremendous flexibility and the willingness to twist oneself into pretzel-like positions while chanting something unintelligible. But hatha yoga is a series of in and out breaths which move through a variety of physical positions. The physical part of yoga consists of a series of stretching and strength-building positions of varying difficulty. Although most yoga exercises are safe for nearly everyone, certain twist positions should not be done by pregnant women or people with back problems.
Muscles stretch better when they are warm so be sure to practice yoga in a comfortable environment. Remember to sink into yoga positions slowly and carefully to avoid injury. Don’t try to hold poses for too long of a time period. If you get used to practicing yoga positions everyday, it is expected that your bones and muscles will react accordingly.
It is recommended that practitioners include some form of yoga positions and preferably a yoga routine in daily life. When done properly yoga should increase the lubrication of the joints, ligaments and tendons. The well researched yoga positions exercise different tendons and ligaments of the body so focus on those difficult areas. There are a lot of yoga positions and poses that is built to enhance posture. The Yoga philosophy urges that the necessary inhibition of mental states is brought about by practice and conquest of desire. Through the practice of yoga an individual can gain information about physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well being.
Vinyasa is a Sanskrit word, which refers to breath and movement and Vinyas is asana series. For example each Yoga posture is matched by one breath. This is what you do when you perform Sun or Moon salutations, and these are also a form of Vinyasa Yoga. So, any sequences of postures that are synchronized, with your breath are classified as Vinyasa. There are many forms of Vinyasa and even the gentle ones are vigorous. The postures are not held in a fixed position for long and classes flow with rhythm, similar to music. The energy used in flowing from one movement, to the next, continues throughout a typical Vinyasa class in Hatha Yoga. This type of Yoga class will challenge aerobic endurance, enhance flexibility, and build overall strength. Most of the heat generated in a typical Vinyasa class is internal body heat. As a result of all this internal heat, you will most likely sweat. Therefore, bring a towel and a bottle of good quality water.
The yoga postures are often misconstrued as the definition of yoga or hatha yoga. Stretching is only a small part of the yoga philosophy. To be rid of sorrow and sin, one must, according to yoga philosophy, attain spiritual unification, the consciousness of two in one, or yoga. Each pose integrates the foundational principles of asana, anatomy, and yoga philosophy, and develops the transcendent inner experience. For an authentic appreciation of the Yoga philosophy of mind, it is essential that these ideas be fully explored.
If you’re just starting out or have never done any Yoga before, I recommend trying a few different westerns „types of yoga” to find out what you like best and to have more insight in different styles of leading class. Remember, there’s no rule that says you have to stick to one type of Yoga. May be You like Ashtanga Yoga best, but You also go to occasional Iyengar and Bikram Yoga classes for a bit of variety and for new experiences in this not so deep styles of Western yoga pratice.
These are only a few of the numerous yoga branches and paths. Whatever your needs, you can find a suitable yoga practice and, through it, find equilibrium and inner peace. I love yoga and encourage everyone I come in contact with to at least try it. I know it can be intimidating to look at a list of classes and not know where you fit in to the equation. Almost every studio offers beginner level classes, at the very least mixed-levels. A good yoga instructor or better acharya (AcArya) will make you feel comfortable and welcome. Do not be afraid to ask questions, and be sure to tell your instructor of any injuries or physical limitations you may have. Don’t ever feel embarrassed about your abilities or level of knowledge. We are all on a personal journey, and go down our path at a different pace. Yoga is not about competition with yourself or your neighbor. It is about personal growth and development whether physical, mental, or spiritual.
The authentic seeker of authentic Yoga will find an authentic Path.
Om Tat Sat
(Excerpts from Yoga Teachers Training Programs in Europe by Swami Lalitamohan Guru-Ji)