The Structure of Yoga



Healthy Yoga


Therapeutic Yoga

Yoga For Weight Loss


Yoga For Kids


Yoga For Old Age


Pranayama and Meditation

What isYoga?

"Yoga is a system of living with sense and science, of the realization of ultimate values and altruistic missions of life. Yoga evolves a harmonious order in mind, matter and man. Yoga is an absolute departure from basic animal tendencies. Yoga is a state of aloofness from the artificialities of life and relationship. Yoga is the culture of tommorrow!" Paramahansa Swami Satyananda Saraswati

The Word ‘yoga’ has been derived from the Sanskrit word ‘yuja’. It means to link or joint tougher.
Yoga is designed to balance the Physical, Mental and Spiritual aspects of the individual. As the body, mind and soul approach equilibrium, the human organism becomes increasingly aware of its self-indentify and relationship to the external world.


Health is the essential parameters for spiritual progress in yoga; hence the basic steps in yoga practices aim at disease free sound health. Health is defined as social, physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. Yoga alone deals with all these four aspects of health.

 

PATHS OF YOGA
There are many different paths of Yoga. The various paths of yoga lead to the same point or source. All the paths of Yoga incorporate the same aim: Physical Health, Mental Peace and Higher Awareness.
                             

Actually, it is best to practice all the paths of yoga to a certain extent, with an emphasis on the path that is in keeping with the predominant aspect of your personality. It is this path that should be followed with the most zeal, for it will be in accordance with your nature.


HATHA YOGA
The word Hatha is composed of two syllables, namely ‘Ha’ and ‘Tha’. Ha means the ‘moon’ and Tha means the ‘sun’. Yoga means communion. Thus hatha yoga means the harmony between the sun and moon aspects of being. The right nostril is connected with the sun aspect; the left is associated with the moon aspect. The two nostrils have a deeper association with the flow of prana within our being. It is this flow of prana that ultimately influences the mental and physical functions. This ensures a balanced personality- neither too much introversion nor too much extroversion. The balance of these two is essential and basic aim of hatha yoga. Not only this, but balance leads to perfect physical and mental health.

Health is the fundamental aim of hatha yoga. Some people think that good health is epitomized by rippling muscles, but this is not necessarily true, health can be defined as a combination of the following: resistance to infection, absence of disease, both mental and physical endurance, flexibility of mind and body, mental peace, perfect coordination and condition of all organs, muscles and nerves in the body and their control by the brain and spinal nerve centers, together with a perfectly functioning pranic body. Hatha Yoga aims to bring about this state of health.


Hatha yoga is particularly popular with many people, for they can see tangible benefits from its practice. It is very easy to see improvement in physical health and to feel emotionally and mentally more calm than usual, and hatha yoga leads to these benefits in a reasonably short period of regular practice. The basic aim of hatha yoga is to build a firm, strong, healthy body, because without this asset one’s activities and aspirations are severely curtailed.

Hatha Yoga treats the body as an instrument to be kept in the best possible condition. If a musician wants to play a beautiful musical composition, it is essential that his instrument is in perfect condition. He would not dream of playing his masterpiece on a broken, battered violin. It is the same with the path to higher awareness. The essential prerequisite is a well-tuned body and mind.

Hatha yoga involves awareness in many of its practices and as such is a means to meditation in itself.

 "Those people who practice only physical exercises (in hatha yoga) without mental and spiritual aspiration will fail to achieve the best results". by Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

KARMA YOGA
This is the yoga of action, the system of attaining awareness through activity. It is performance of our daily work with constant awareness and at the same time without any expectation of reward. It is this living in the present which enables far more effective, efficient and powerful actions. By totally absorbing the self in the work at hand we tend to reduce the power of the ego. This is the essence of karma yoga, and results in less emotional and mental upsets in life. It helps to make the mind more calm and peaceful under any circumstances and more receptive to the practices of Yoga.
BHAKTI YOGA
This is the yoga of devotion. It is the channeling of emotions into devotion, directed towards a guru, deity or suitable object. In this way the emotions are given an outlet, instead of suppressing them or disintegrating them in different directions. The Bhakti absorbs himself completely in his object of devotion, losing his individuality or ego. Emotional and mental problems disappear, concentration increases and the path to higher awareness and self-realization is opened.
GYANA YOGA
This is the path of enquiry. Gyana yoga is the path towards illuminative knowledge, and this is a logical-neither logical nor illogical. It transcends them both.
In this path one enquires about the essence of existence and one’s true nature. Effort, concentration and total absorption in the enquiry are prerequisites for success in this path. Without this attributes, illumination will not take place. By illumination we do not mean stereotyped answers, but intuitive answers which cannot be spoken about. If one can talk about an illumination it usually has not occurred.
RAJA YOGA
Raja yoga progressively attempts to transcend the outer environment of the physical body, and direct the awareness to the inner environment.
PATANJALI YOGA
Patanjali yoga is often identified with raja yoga directly, for they are regarded as synonymous. The system of Patanjali yoga consists of 8 steps or limbs which the aspirant must progressively master on the path to self-realization.

  1. Yamas(self-restraints)
  2. Niyamas(self-observances)
  3. Asanas(postures)
  4. Pranayama(regulation of prana through breath control)
  5. Pratyahara(disassociation of consciousness with the outside environment)
  6. Dharana(concentration)
  7. Dhyana(meditation)
  8. Samadhi(identification with pure consciousness)

KUNDALINI YOGA
Kundalini Yoga is a system of yoga concerned with the awakening of the pranic or psychic centers known as chakras which exists within all of us. These chakras are centers of bioplasmic energy and are directly related to different levels of awareness. In the body there are numerous chakras, but Kundalini yoga concerns itself with six main ones which are located throughout the length of the spine. It aims to awaken these chakras and thereby induce higher states of consciousness.

MANTRA YOGA
Mantra Yoga is the yoga of sound. The ancient yogic is experimented with different combinations of sounds and found that they could induce extraordinary changes within the mind-different sounds producing different effects. They called these special sounds mantras and they were handed down from generation to generation.
Mantra yoga utilizes the power of sound as a method of inducing introspection and subtle mental changes, and to evoke mental and psychic manifestations. A particular mantra is usually repeated over and over again either verbally or mentally, producing mental tranquility, concentration and awareness of the inner processes of the mind. It is a powerful method of allowing meditational states to flower.
Mantra yoga is also known as Japa yoga.

DHYANA YOGA
Dhyana yoga is most often classified as a separate path of yoga. However, the word Dhyana means meditation. So is a sense this type of yoga can refer to the aims and higher stages of all forms of yoga.

KRIYA YOGA
Kriya yoga is the yogic path of movement and awareness. The aim is to bring about awareness of the processes of the inner environment of man.

TANTRA YOGA
By Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Tantra is a practical system. It is called a sadhana shastra, which means that it is a practice  oriented scripture. Its purpose is to give each and every individual spiritual illumination by any means that is suitable and available. It consists of a vast number of different practices to suit all types of people, combined with the highest concepts realized by tantric sages throughout the ages in states of deep meditation. It is because of this combination that we have such high regard for tantra.
 We want you to consider tantra with an open mind. Do not blindly accept its ideas. Merely assimilate them. You must prove for yourself if they are really valid through your own personal experience and realization. The thing to remember is that tantra is more of a science than anything else. It does not ask you to believe anything on face value. It is a test and see system. Only when you have the experience can you believe what you hear. The essence of tantra is personal experience through practice.
Tantra is in the widest sense a universal system. It has been and still is a way of life for various diverse groups of people throughout the world. Though there may be local differences, the basic premise is fundamentally the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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