Literally ‘yoga’ means joining of two or more things together. Since the ideals of yoga are the highest, here it means joining of Atma (self) with Paramatma (Supreme). Thus it is a journey back to the roots, to the source of evolution or to the supreme. Like in our earthly lives, we work in our offices during daytime and return to our dwelling in the evening, same way we come from the source at birth, go through various evolutionary processes and again return to the source. This path of return is YOGA.
It has various classifications like Hatha, Ashtang or Raj yog, Janana yoga, Vedic, Karma yoga, Laya yoga, Kriya yoga etc. Hatha yoga is a method by which we build a disease free body for developing a peaceful mind. Unless, the medium is healthy, mind cannot be stable. Through various asan, mudra and pranayama, we make our body disease free, stable, youthful, a perfect carrier to carry an enlightened spirit. According to Hatha yoga, ‘ Shareeram Adyam Khalu Dharma sadhanam’, meaning that if body can be kept perfectly hale and hearty, the mind would be as a natural consequences, sound, concentrated and elevated. A hathayogi knows his body thoroughly, understands its constitution, functions and needs. According to him no human is bad as all are part of that Supreme. It is only due to some defective functioning of muscles, or nerves or glands, human nature gets distorted. Glands are nourished by blood and blood is formed from food we eat. Satvic food will create satvic qualities, rajsic will brings out rajsic propensities and tamsic food will reflect tamsic attributes. Hence a balanced diet is a must for healthy state of both body and mind. Our ancient rishis have aptly said, Jaisa Ann, Vaisa mann. As is the food, so shall be the mind.
The surface of water naturally breaks into ripples, sun gives sunlight unasked, the absolute energy starts in the boom of absolute consciousness. The absolute bliss, the pure consciousness, the great intelligence, the Purusha submitted to and entangled with its Shakti, the Prakriti, to create a play of many. Thus from ONENESS, came out DUALITY. Prakriti cannot remain without Purusha, hence when Purusha withdraws, Prakriti also withdraws. All the play of maya stops and vilaya takes place, complete annihilation and even then only ONE remains, which again is that great intelligence only. Hence, we can say that in all the different forms we see all around, the common factors is THAT alone. Thus there is only one supreme energy, which connects all of us into, one country, one continent, one planet one milky way, all the planetary system and whole of brahmand. This is aptly described in the concept of ‘Vasudev Kutumbkam’. All can live in peace and harmony together, despite all the differences. There will be no greed, no wars, no calamity but perfect peace, pure joy will prevail.
According to Raja yoga mind is more subtle than our body and vital energy. If it can be controlled, then pran will be controlled. It stresses the need to control mind through a eight step process. This method was laid out by great saint Patanjali, who was considered to be an avatar of Shesha. It stresses the need of full suspension of mental activity. When all the thoughts and mental activity subsides, what ever is left behind is pure supreme truth, our true self. The eight steps are Yama, Niyam, Asan, Pranayam, Pratyahaar, Dharna , Dhyan and Samadhi. In the final stage of Samadhi, the meditator becomes one with the object of meditation. Duality vanishes and oneness prevails where there is eternal bliss. This is called Kaivalya.
Janana yoga is the method of sharpening the mental discrimination to come to the understanding that he alone is real and pervades everything.
Vedic yoga is symbolized by fire. Whatever is put inside fire, it becomes tat alone. Thus, when we put everything in to that super conscious, we also become that. If, we can surrender to that super divinity then we also be divine Thus surrendering of all the ego to parampurusha is the way of Vedics.
Karm yoga is the method of being engaged in self less duty. But how can one perform without dragging in one’s ego. Thus it is possible only when we consider all to a part of our own self. Then alone real karma yoga takes place.
By the process of laya yoga, mind gets annihilated in to that reality through a different process. Kundlini yoga is a form of laya yoga. One moves through practice of various chakras, matrikas, different naads, lace of Shakti and to a state of Unmani.
Kriya yoga is the method of separating breath, pran and mind. Certain techniques are devised for understanding the subtle differences, experiencing them in ones own body, develop a higher understanding of it. This is totally practical method with least theory. It was first taught in this modern world by Mahavataar baba to Lahiri Mahashaya, on the peak of Dronagiri mountain, in the present Uttranchal.
Thus as we go through this chapter in our Corporate Wellness book, we will have an insight into the details of Hatha yoga and Rajyoga practices with some knowledge of others systems too.
Before going in for yoga, one firmly believes that one should undertake various cleansing techniques as devised by our ancient yogis. Doing thus, further practices become easier to perform and experience.