What is Yoga

 

The word yoga means "union" in Sanskrit, the language of ancient India where yoga originated. We can think of the union occurring between the mind, body and spirit. At the same time, this means the union of one’s inner self with the entire Universe.

 

What is commonly referred to as "yoga" can be more accurately described by the Sanskrit word ‘asana’, which refers to the practice of physical postures or poses.

 

Asana, according to Patanjali, is only one of the eight stages of yoga, the majority of which are more concerned with mental and spiritual well being than physical activity. In the West, however, the words asana and yoga are often confused.  Likewise, there is confusion in the West regarding Hatha Yoga.  Hatha Yoga means yoga of the Sun (Ha) and the Moon (Tha), that is, Hatha Yoga balances the left and the right sides of the inner energy system (or the left and right sympathetic nervous system according to the modern scientific understanding). So, in fact, it has nothing to do with stretching of physical exercise as many think in the West. 

 

“Without the practice of yoga, How could knowledge Set the atman (soul) free?” asks the Yogatatva Upanishad. Yoga: union with the ultimate. Carl G. Jung the eminent Swiss psychologist, described yoga as 'one of the greatest things the human mind has ever created.'  Yoga sutra consists of two words only: yogash chitta-critti-nirodah, which may be translated: “Yoga is the cessation of agitation of the consciousness.”

 

According to Patanjali, there are eight stages of Hatha Yoga, the most important one is Ishwara Prahnidhana, means the establishment of one’s true inner Self. In that state one is completely integrated within and without and lives in a state of permanent bliss and joy, which is the ultimate aim of yoga. This state is achieved through awakening of the inner spiritual energy called Kundalini, which was traditionally done by the Teacher (Guru) to a disciple after many years of intense and severe practices. Thus very few could achieve this awakening called as Self-Realization.

 

However, in the modern time, Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi – an Indian Guru found a new easy method of Kundalini awakening, which she called Sahaja Yoga. In this Portal, you will be able to learn about Sahaja Yoga in general, to attend a Sahaja Yoga online program and to learn about the benefits of Sahaja Yoga in various fields of life.

 
Patanjali

 

Patanjali was an Indian sage and yogi who lived supposedly around 200 B.C., although there are some indications that he lived much earlier – as far as 14000 years back. He systemized the practice of yoga in his treatise called Yoga Sutra. According to Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, there are 8 stages of yoga:

 

1. Yama: Five ethical guidelines regarding moral behavior towards others:

 

Ahimsa: Nonviolence
Satya: Truthfulness
Asteya: Nonstealing
Brahmacharya: Nonlust
Aparigraha: Noncovetesness

 

2. Niyama: Five ethical guidelines regarding moral behavior towards oneself:

 

Saucha: Cleanliness
Santosa: Contentment
Tapas: Sustained Practice
Svadhyaya: Self Study
Isvara pranidhana: Surrender to God

 

3. Asana: Practice of yoga postures.

 

4. Pranayama: Practice of breathing exercises.

 

5. Pratyahara: Withdrawal of the senses, meaning that the exterior world is not a distraction from the interior world within oneself.

 

6. Dharana: Concentration, meaning the ability to focus on something uninterrupted by external or internal distractions.

 

7. Dhyana: Meditation. Building upon Dharana, the concentration is no longer focused on a single thing but is all encompassing.

 

8. Samadhi: Bliss. Building upon Dhyana, the transcendence of the self through meditation. The merging of the self with the universe. Sometimes translated as enlightenment.