Bhakti Yoga, Bhakti Yoga Stages, Bhakti Yoga Poses:
Bhakti Yoga is just not a state of emotional being. It goes far beyond it. It’s a conditioning of the mind and true realization of the existence of God. Bhakti Yoga is the preparatory stage to the Karma Yoga.
There are various stages of Bhakti Yoga, which are very hard to attain, yet once achieved can be an out-of-the- world experience.
Vandana – This is a phase of complete submission to God through deep and profound spirituality techniques.
Sravana – This stage deals with hearing various stories and folklores of various Gods and their greatness.
Kirtana – This step deals with reciting various hymns and religious songs trying to please and praise the almighty.
Archana – This means worshipping the Lord through a picture or image, which can be both physical and mental but the focus has to be in pleasing the lord by immersing yourself in complete prayer and reverence.
Smarana – This part of Bhakti elaborates remembering God and making his presence felt all around you, so much so that you forget your own bodily presence.
Padasevana – At this phase, one has to service humanity to attain the true spirit of devotion to God.
Dasya – Becoming literally a servant of God, that is what Dasya stage is all about. You are no more yourself but a devoted servant to God chanting his glory, virtues, values and beliefs.
Sakhya – This stage elaborates on making God your friend with whom you can confess and confer your problems and troubles of life.
Atmanivedana – The last part of Bhakti Yoga deals with giving yourself to God, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Nothing exists around you other than God.
Bhakti is the marg where one believes the other. Bhakti Yoga is nothing but making one to suit himself in a spiritual life by living according to the guidelines given by wise people who realized the supreme consciousness. Bhakti Yoga emphasizes on the love and devotion to the Almighty. The people who perform this type of Yoga concentrate on the existence of the Almighty. They learn to show love, compassion to the creatures co-existing with them, apart from keenly worshipping the Lord. Bhakti Yoga can be practiced in a number of ways, such as praising the God by singing, chanting slogans, reading religious books, listening to the prayers and by watching religious movies. When children follow the guidelines of their parents, teachers and elders blindly is the Bhakti Yoga. Bhakti Yoga, as the name suggests, is the spiritual practice of loving devotion or ‘Bhakti’ to the Almighty. It lays emphasis on the love and devotion of a devotee to the God. Highly religious though, Bhakti Yoga should be adopted by every human being, living in this world of infidelity and rage, because it helps one to develop a positive attitude towards life. An individual performing this Yoga concentrates on the existence of the Almighty. It develops the peace of mind of the person. With a peaceful mind, it becomes possible for the person to live contented. One expresses the emotion of compassion and love for the other creatures co-existing with him. Hence, Bhakti yoga is beneficial to lead a healthy and peaceful life.
There are no fixed ways to perform Bhakti Yoga. It varies from person to person. It involves anything that talks about God. Some may resort to religious books, religious movies that emphasize the power and existence of God. Others may simply chant the name of the Almighty and think about the God all through the day. Singing prayers is another way to practice this Yoga. Meditation also finds place in Bhakti Yoga. In order to surrender themselves to the God and thus develop a close relationship with Him, some people go on pilgrimage, which is another way to perform Bhakti yoga.
The beauty of Bhakti Yoga lies in its simplicity. There is no need to master any particular technique, which has made Bhakti yoga as one of the most appealing types of Yoga. While practicing this type of Yoga, the individual seems to do the things positively.
An important thing to consider, when a person is interested in following the path of Bhakti Yoga, is that one should be emotionally bonded with the object of the faith in the Almighty. In most of the cases, people suppress their emotions, which often reflect in the form of physical and mental ailments.
- 1. Bhakti Yoga brings you near to the Almighty God.
- 2. It banishes all the unpleasant emotions of hatred, lust, anger, greed.
- 3. It purifies the heart with the only thought of love and devotion to the God.
- 4. Bhakti yoga is beneficial for them, who want to release their suppressed emotions.
- 5. Bhakti Yoga brings the purification of inner self.
- 6. People practicing Bhakti Yoga are able to enhance the quality of their life.
- 7. When an individual practises Bhakti Yoga, it proves beneficial for him or the people around him in the long run.
- 8. When one resorts to Bhakti Yoga, the environment is charged with pure energy.
- 9. Bhakti Yoga gives them the confidence that the Almighty will always be there to protect them, when they face any kind of adversity in life.
- 10. Bhakti yoga fulfils the lacking in one’s life by submitting himself to the direction of others.
Karma means action or duty. Karma Yoga is the dedication towards all the actions – karma and their fruits to the Almighty. This type of Yoga purifies one’s heart, and helps attain the knowledge of one’s own self. The aim of a Karma Yogic is to provide selfless service to the poor and the needy, without expecting money, fame, power, respect and honour in return of the service.
There Are Three Principles Of Karma Yoga.
3. Cause & Effect theory
Awareness: Human goal is to attain peace and prosperity throughout his life. To attain this one should have the awareness of self-consciousness that one should follow the path of righteousness only. One should be aware of his thoughts and deeds and their results. One should not be carried away by the force of his habit or the environment. One should learn from his past experiences, realise the result and circumstances, expand all his potential according to the limit and method. One can live a complete clarity in mind in such a way and avoid the pains.
It is very much necessary for us to express our gratitude for whomsoever we enjoyed any kind of pleasure physically or mentally in our lives. Appreciating the source of help and offering help is called gratitude. We must be thankful to the Almighty for our life. We should be thankful to our parents who take a lot of pain in raising us. We should be showing our wholesome gratitude to the entire society.
Cause & Effect:
This theory says that every action has a reaction. One’s good deeds will give good result leading to happy, peaceful and prosperous life, whereas one’s bad deeds will give bad results leading to pain and sorrows.
The three virtues that play a very important role in Karma Yoga are as follow:
Karma Yoga comprises of the Devine and virtuous way of living life. Karma yoga is a divine life pattern in which the deeds are done with the awareness of its result. Virtuous life is doing always good deeds.
The righteous component of the Karma Yoga should be as follow.
- 1. Respecting the Mother, Father, Guru, Head of the Govt and the Almighty.
- 2. Realising the divinity itself present in within and one’s inner self.
- 3. Being in awareness always and not harming anyone ether physically or mentally.
- 4. Leading a virtuous life by morality, duty and charity.
- 5. Following the restricted method in the Food consumption, work and sleep.
- 6. Performing the duties religiously towards Family, relatives, society and the world.
- 7. Rendering services to the society by giving the services for attaining the spiritual knowledge and peace.
- 8. Spending at least 1% income on others.
- 9. Respecting women and elders with gratitude.
- 10. Practising meditation to attain purification of the soul.
Karma Yoga is the consecration of all the actions and their outcomes to the Almighty. Known as the Yoga of action. The ultimate aim of Karma Yoga is to provide selfless service to humanity, without any ego. People performing Karma Yoga serve the needy, without urging to bear fruit for all their actions. It is one of the most popular types of Yoga, which cannot be done without dedication, determination and altruism. Karma takes the shape of Karma Yoga, when the practitioner acts as an instrument in the hands of the Almighty, as a participant in the cosmic activity of Nature and does the service without the expectation of fruits. The one who believes that he is only the instrument and that the Lord is working unselfishly, through him. One surrenders all the actions and one’s fruits to the Lord. One attains the knowledge of the Self.
A person aspiring to follow the divine path of Karma Yoga doesn’t have to possess materialistic wealth. All the person needs is a peaceful mind, body and a selfless attitude, to serve humanity. The person following the path of Karma Yoga, known as Karma Yogi, should be free from lust, greed, egoism and anger. His/her heart should be filled with the thought of serving the poor and the helpless people, selflessly. Even if the person has any traces of these ‘doshas’. One should try to eliminate them immediately. One should not desire for name, fame or money in return of the service. A jealous person can never be a Karma Yogi. One should be humble, free from meanness, miserliness, harshness, hatred and jealousy. One should be a soft-spoken person and should never use any harsh words. The person, who expects respect and honour from others, cannot serve people selflessly. Moreover, a Karma Yogi should be fearless. One should be amiable and social. One should never differentiate people in terms of their caste, creed, colour and gender. The Karma Yogi should have the feeling of love, compassion and mercy and should have perfect adaptability and tolerance. Karma Yoga purifies the heart. It releases the Karma Yogi from the ties of the kindred and indulges one into activities of selfless social service. Bad qualities of egoism, jealously, superiority and hatred are completely removed from the mind of the person, when one follows the path of Karma Yoga. One attains the knowledge of the Self and realizes the concept of ‘one in all’ and ‘all in one’.
- 1. Karma Yoga purifies your heart.
- 2. It makes negative feelings like ego, hatred, and jealousy disappear.
- 3. It will help you forgo selfishness.
- 4. Karma Yoga will make your service oriented and feel one with everybody.
- 5. It will make you aware of yourself and feel bliss.
- 6. It will develop your inner spiritual strength and power.
- 7. It will inculcate good qualities like love, humility, and tolerance.
- 8. This path will make you look at life in a broader and more liberal manner.
- 9. The sense of separateness from the Almighty gets obliterated.
- 10. Selfishness is completely removed.
- 11. One develops a tolerant and broadminded outlook to life.
- 12. Karma Yoga purifies the heart, for the reception of the Divine Light and attainment of the knowledge of one’s own self.
- 13. Karma Yoga ultimately helps the person released from the bonds of Karma.
Raj yoga is also very important part of human life. Raj yoga comprises introspection practices, physical exercises, explanation of virtues and philosophical elucidation. Raj yoga deals with meditation. Realising the noble cause and greatness of human birth, knowing and merging with the super conscious power, bringing the senses under control, adopting the virtues, morality, duty and charity, living and letting others also live with peace and harmony form Raj Yoga. Raj yoga is also called as Ashtanga yoga or eight-limbed Yoga. Raj Yoga is the preparatory stage of Jnana or Gyana Yoga.
The eight limbs which are the component of Raj Yoga are as follow.
Yama: Yama is the first limb of Ashtanga Yoga and comprises of the behavioural norms that need to be followed, to attain tranquillity of the mind. It mainly comprises of directives such as Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (celibacy) and Aparigraha (non-covetousness). These are essential for eradicating the element of fear and anger from the body.
Niyama: Niyama controls the emotional aspect of a person, with the help of mental exercises to train the mind. Its directives involve Shaucha (internal and external purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (austerity), Svadhyaya (study of religious books and repetitions of Mantras) and Ishvarapranidhana (self-surrender to God, and His worship).
Asana: Asana or posture is a means to attain integration of mind and body, by means of physical activity. Contrary to the popular belief, asanas are not exercise, but activities which help to transmit the positive energies to the crown chakra. Apart from providing numerous physical health benefits, the various asanas aim to bring unison of the mind and the body with the spirit.
Pranayama Just as the name suggests, (prana, which means life energy and Yama, which signifies control), pranayama is a way by which one can attain life force energy control, through breathing. The main goal of pranayama heads towards the awakening of the kundalini shakti at the muladhara chakra. It is through breathing regulation that one can attain control over the life energies.
Pratyahara Once the above four limbs have been achieved, Pratyahara aims to attain the withdrawal of the senses of perception from their objects. It should not be linked to be the same as that of concentration or meditation. Instead, it aims to bring the awareness to reside deep within oneself, free from the senses and external world.
Dharana Dharana focuses on concentration and one-pointedness of the mind. For attaining an ideal concentration level, one needs to follow the factors such as retention of breath, Brahmacharya, Sattvic (pure) food, seclusion, silence, Satsang (being in the company of a guru), and not mixing much with people. Concentration on Trikuti (the space between the two eyebrows) would help to control the mind.
Dhyana Dhyana focuses on the importance of meditation. The basic of this limb is to involve oneself in quiet activity that will help one leads to Samadhi. Social exclusion, less talk, no demands, no violence and limited eating and sleeping all contribute to Dhyana.
Samadhi Samadhi can be described as enlightenment. To attain Samadhi, one needs to remove obstacles which come as Avidya (ignorance), Asmita (egoism), Raga-Dvesha (likes and dislikes), Abhinivesha (clinging to mundane life).
Raj Yoga is the best way for the complete and holistic healing of one’s mind and soul. This type of Yoga helps a person to alleviate himself/herself from the emotional and mental conflicts. Raj Yoga helps the person to be in harmony with the co-existing creatures and the environment. An important branch of Yoga, Raja Yoga is a one stop solution for complete and holistic healing.
- 1. Raja Yoga possesses the positive power of influencing the life of human beings.
- 2. Raj yoga helps harmonizing with all spheres the physiological system.
- 3. Raj yoga also makes the physical, mental and emotional balance in human being.
- 4. It also transforms intellectual, occupational, social and spiritual well being of a person.
- 5. Raja Yoga helps to alleviate oneself from all emotional and mental conflicts.
- 6. Raj yoga promotes long lasting peace and satisfaction in one’s life.
- 7. A very important benefit of Raj Yoga is that it heals a person from the inside.
- 8. Raj Yoga brings harmony with other human beings and environment, at large.
- 9. It helps the mind from the slavery of the senses.
Jnana or Gyana means wisdom or knowledge. It is a popular belief that Jnana Yoga is based on the Hindu philosophy of non-dualism. Contrary to the assumption, the holistic path of Yoga also finds its place in many branches of Buddhism, including Zen, Islamic Sufism and some branches of Christianity that follow the Gospel of Thomas. This is the longest and richest form of yoga practice.
Jnana yoga is considered the most difficult of the four main paths of Yoga, requiring great strength of will and intellect. In Jnana yoga, the mind is used to inquire into its own nature and to transcend the mind’s identification with its thoughts and ego. The fundamental goal of Jnana yoga is to become liberated from the illusionary world of Maya – “the thoughts and perceptions” and to achieve union of the inner Self “Atman” with the oneness of all life “Brahman” the Almighty. This is achieved by steadfastly practicing of the introspection, reflection and conscious illumination that are defined in the Four Pillars of Knowledge. It is the Yoga of true knowledge. Jnana Yoga aims to detach the person practising it, from all the temporary things of the life. The one who practise it attains tranquillity, control over the mind, sense, faith, ability for concentration and the endurance to withstand the play of the nature. By practising Jnana Yoga, the individual stays single-minded in all situations and attains self-control.
The holistic path of Jnana Yoga was described as a straight, but steep course, by Sadananad in his Vedanta-Sara, a 15th century text. Jnana Yoga preaches that there are four means of salvation.
According to Jnana Yoga, one should be able to detach oneself from everything that is temporary, after following the holistic path. It also aims to attain tranquillity, the control of the mind and the senses, endurance, faith and the ability for perfect concentration. Jnana Yoga emphasizes on the use of mind to surpass or discern the mind. It aims to explore knowledge. There are the Eight Limbs of Yoga in Jnana Yoga. The person, who follows this holistic path, attains self-discipline, hears the truth and reflects upon it. There is an urge in the person to attain freedom from whatever is temporary.
The ‘liberation’ is attainted through knowledge, rather than following rituals and ceremonies. However, not everyone is knowledgeable. Knowledge is limited to the special few people, who are prepared for sound examination and clear judgment of the nature of consciousness. This knowledge is attained only if the person goes through conclusions of the seers by reading scriptures, accumulated through millions of years. The knowledge, thus accumulated, is examined by the individual in the light of his own intelligence and then comes to his own realization. After going through this rigorous process of Jnana Yoga, the person seeking the knowledge ultimately gains insight, the ability to discriminate what is true, and what is untrue.
The benefits of Jnana Yoga are manifold. The person, who follows this holistic path of Jnana Yoga, attains tranquillity, which is the art of remaining calm even in the face of adversity. Self-control in one’s own self is attained by following Jnana Yoga. Another benefit of following this holistic path is cessation, or keeping one’s self abstained from the actions that are irrelevant to the maintenance of the body and the pursuit of inner-enlightenment. After a significant period, the person even attains endurance. He/she is remains unruffled by the play of the opposites in Nature, such as heat and cold, pleasure and pain, praise and censure. Apart from this, the person remains single-minded in all the situations. He/she also becomes able to increase his/her concentration power.
- 1. Jnana Yoga promotes a healthier, happier life.
- 2. Jnana Yoga addresses the problem of un-mindfulness.
- 3. Jnana Yoga helps in improving the focus and distraction.
- 4. Jnana Yoga is a successful tool for mindfulness and concentration.
- 5. Jnana Yoga incessantly strives to know and understand the difference between the real and unreal, the permanent and the temporary.
- 6. Jnana Yoga works beyond body, mind and breathe and brings awareness in every stage of the human existence, starting from the individual soul, which is considered as pure awareness, to the intellect, mind, breath and body.
- 7. Jnana Yoga is not limited to practicing on the mat. It is the process of applying the yoga philosophy to the daily life.
- 8. Jnana Yoga decreases the automatic patterns of consciousness and its latent impressions, bringing complete awareness to our daily life.
- 9. Jnana Yoga is considered as the ultimate tool of liberation; a liberation from the condition of nature and its limitations.
- 10. Jnana Yoga produces infinite possibilities once the conditions of nature and the patterns of consciousness are broken.
- 11. The inner science of Jnana Yoga brings infinite possibilities setting you free from the conditions you have accumulated in this life and the ones you have brought from other lives.
It is widely accepted that the human body has 72,000 Nadis. But there is a big debate on this too. Shiva Samhita states that there are 3,50,000 nadis arising from the navel centre. Whereas Hatha Yoga Pradipika and Goraksha Samhita state about 72,000 nadis and each one of them further leading to another 72,000nadis. A nadi is a pathway or channel of subtle energy. It cannot be seen upon dissection of the human body. In yoga and the health science of Ayurveda, it is thought that keeping the nadis in balance and free of blockages promotes the flow of prana, which increases physical and mental health.
In Kundalini yoga there are three main nadis called as Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. The Ida and Pingala symbolize the basic duality of existence. The three principal nadis are the sushumna, ida and pingala. While the sushumna is the central channel, the ida (left) and pingala (right) nadis start and end on opposite sides of sushumna. Once the vitality of the pingala nadi and creativity of the ida nadi are in balance, prana is free to travel along the sushumna nadi, from the root chakra to the crown chakra.
Ida spirals up the left side of the spine ending at the left nostril. Lunar energy is aligned with Ida. Ida is cool, comforting, introverted, feminine, governs the intellect.
Pingala is a mirror image of Ida, ending up at the right nostril. Solar energy is aligned with Pingala. Pingala is warm, challenging, extroverted, masculine, in control of vital processes like digestion.
The name for this nadi comes from the Sanskrit prefix su, meaning “good” or “virtuous,” and mna, meaning “to think.” It is often translated as “joyful mind” or “most gracious.” Sushumna nadi is also called Brahmanadi, or the channel of the Absolute (Brahman). Some refer to it as the Saraswati (wisdom) or shanti (peace) nadi. Sushumna nadi is the path to enlightenment. Sushumna nadi is the primary of the three main nadis (channels of energy) in the body. As the central nadi, sushumna runs straight up the length of the spinal cord and through each of the chakras. As the prana travels up the sushumna nadi, it energizes all of the chakras along the way and stimulates dormant segments of the mind that are responsible for higher thought and feeling. Sushumna is, therefore, known as the pathway to salvation or enlightenment.
A major focus of Hatha yoga is balancing the nadis and allow the free flow of the life-force energy. The nadis can be balanced by practising are pranayama – the breathing exercises and meditation. For example, nadi shodhana pranayama, or “alternate nostril breathing,” is believed to balance the ida and pingala nadis and opens the energy paths of the sushumna nadi.
The Hatha has ‘ha’ means Sun, and ‘tha’ means Moon. Hatha means to balance the Sun and Moon energies in the body. This is Hatha Yoga. Hatha yoga is the science of harmonizing Pingala and Ida; or the solar and lunar energies within us so as to prod our higher consciousness to life. It is the science of activating the third, central nadi– Sushumna – which is the path to enlightenment. Hatha also means being adamant, making an effort.
Hatha yoga begins with exertion making you tired and saying I cannot do anymore.” “Yoga? Oh no not again!” But you stay determined. You just do it. Every time you raise the bar just a tad, step out of your comfort zone a little further.
Actually one would work with the body first by diligently doing yoga asanas and then the breath. One would practise pranayama like Nadi Shodhan and then would move on to the mind with meditation. Nadi shodhan Pranayama is a powerful way to balance the Ida and Pingala. While meditation gives you access to higher possibilities. Mental clarity, inner peace and contentment will be well within your reach
In its true classical sense, Hatha yoga is practised to bridge the gap between the body and mind. It helps reaching the higher states of consciousness. When one sits for meditation, in order to meditate effectively, one needs to sit comfortably with spine erect and unsupported for long periods. This requires a strong back, a flexible groin and well-toned legs. Knees, ankles and feet need to be healthy. Hatha yoga prepares the body for all this and ensures that meditation is a blissful experience – not a painful one.
Make sure to check out which nostril is more active. If it is the left nostril, Ida is more dominant. When asanas are done with the standing poses, back bends, twists and inversions. If the right nostril is more switched on, Pingala is more energized. Seated postures and forward bends will cool you down.
Hatha yoga also balances the three gunas or qualities inherent in one as follow.
1. Tamas, the quality of inertia and delusion.
2. Rajas the quality of activity and selfishness will be tempered.
3. Sattva, the quality of harmony and goodness will prevail.
The word haṭha literally means “force” and thus alludes to a system of physical techniques. Hatha Yoga was founded by Yogi Swatmarama in the 15th century in India. This type of Yoga is all about the combination of two extremes – ‘ha’ (the Sun, regarded as the positive current) and ‘tha’ (the Moon, regarded as the negative current). It involves the performance of physical postures (Asanas), breathing exercises (Pranayama), meditation, mudras and purification procedures known as ‘Shatkriyas’ Introduced by Yogi Swatmarama in the 15th century in India, Hatha Yoga is one of the prominent types of Yoga. Hatha Yoga is the origin of many other styles of Yoga, including Power Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Kundalini Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga. The word ‘hatha’, derived from Sanskrit, means the combination of the opposites – ha (meaning Sun) and tha (meaning Moon). It unites the positive (Sun) and negative (Moon) currents in the system. It is mainly concentrated on the third (Asana) and fourth (Pranayama) in the Eight Limbs of Yoga. It aims to attain a balance between the body and mind, through the physical postures of Asanas, purification procedures (Shatkriyas), poses (Mudras), yogic breathing (Pranayama) and meditation. Apart from the physical postures, Pranayama also form an important part of Hatha Yoga. Yogis in the ancient times believed that the control to one’s mind could be unlocked by controlling one’s breath. Hence, the practice of Hatha Yoga can help you identify your hidden physical and mental strengths. Meditation is another part of Hatha Yoga, which rewards the practitioner with some non-physical benefits such as the increase in his/her concentration power. By the regular practice of Hatha Yoga, one can ensure overall physical and mental health. The branch of Yoga helps the person to reduce the risk of various kinds of physical and mental ailments. The individual tends to feel more relaxed during stressful situations, after performing Hatha Yoga. Apart from toning the internal organs, the physical postures of Hatha Yoga help prevent diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and arthritis. Muscular-skeletal problems such as scoliosis can be prevented by doing Hatha Yoga. The physical postures also improve blood circulation, immune system and stimulate endocrine glands. On the other hand, Pranayama help prevent breathing problems like asthma and bronchitis. Hatha yoga is beneficial for people of all ages. Children, adults and elderly people can enjoy the benefits of Hatha Yoga, alike. The Asanas and Pranayama are gentle, but highly effective forms of exercises. Patience, calmness and determination can help you garner the benefits of Hatha Yoga, effectively. It is the best bet to lead a life free of anxiety, stress and tension. If you are in search of inner-enlightenment, Hatha Yoga is the answer for you. The relaxation exercises will help in opening up the energy channels, thereby allowing the free flow of spiritual energy within you.
- 1. It pacifies the mind through relaxation and meditation techniques.
- 2. During Hatha Yoga, Asanas are performed to improve the overall health.
- 3. The regular practice of Asanas grants the practitioner with the improvement in one’s overall health.
- 4. The postures make the body feel relaxed for long time after they are performed.
- 5. The muscle flexibility and bone strength are improved, by performing Asanas.
- 6. Hatha yoga boosts overall health.
- 7. Hatha yoga tones the spine and improves flexibility.
- 8. Hatha yoga strengthens the muscles.
- 9. Hatha yoga helps relieving the stress.
- 10. Hatha yoga helps with focus and concentration.
- 11. Hatha yoga enhances the balance in the human body.
- 12. It improves the blood circulation and balances the flow of energy.
- 13. It Increases the immunity in the human body.
Kundalini Yoga is an ancient form of Yoga, which creates a communication between the mind and the body by making use of a set of technique that involve the mind, senses and body. The power of this yoga comes from the Kundalini a Sanskrit word for “coiled serpent”, an enormous reserve of untapped potential within each of us, located around the sacrum or “sacred bone” at the base of the spine. The life force, lying dormant in the seven chakras in the body, is regarded as a coiled up serpent and Kundalini is the untapped energy (prana), ‘coiled’ at the base of the spine that can be drawn up through the body, by awakening each of the seven chakras.
Kundalini yoga is an uplifting blend of spiritual and physical practices. Kundalini Yoga incorporates movement, dynamic breathing techniques, meditation, and the chanting of mantras, such as Sat Nam, meaning “truth is my identity.”
Kundalini Yoga aims at drawing the untapped energy (Kundalini), coiled at the base of the spine, by using a set of technique that uses the person’s mind, senses and body. Apart from the physical postures – Asanas, the person performs meditation, chants mantras in order to awaken each of the seven chakras of the body. The Asanas are coordinated with the hold of breath control.
Kundalini Yoga focuses on the practitioner’s psycho-spiritual growth and the body’s potential for maturation. The enlightenment of the seven chakras of the body occurs, when the untapped energy (Kundalini) reaches the Crown Chakra. The type of Yoga is often represented as a snake, coiled at the base of the spine. Hence, the role of spine and the endocrine system are given special consideration by this type of Yoga. Kundalini Yoga also pays special attention to the breath and the movement of the person performing it.
Kundalini Yoga consists of Asanas that are performed in conjunction with a specific breath, which intensifies the effects of the particular poses. The purpose of such a control of breath is to freed the energy in the lower part of the body and allow it to move freely, in the upward direction within the body. The sequences of Kundalini, known as kriyas, consist of repetitive movements, done by holding a pose, while breathing in a specific way. The entire thing is done in a rapid pace, so that the person gets the full benefit of Kundalini Yoga.
Apart from the kriyas, Kundalini Yoga also involves the performance of meditation as well as the chanting of mantras. Pranayama and mudras are also practised, while performing the Kundalini Yoga. All these focus on a specific area of the body. Since all these are included in it, Kundalini Yoga is considered physically intense. According to the Yoga gurus, the stretching exercises included in Kundalini Yoga are not merely gymnastic exercises. In fact, the bodily postures, expressive movements and utterances are beneficial for the health in a number of ways.
Kundalini Yoga is sometimes referred to as ‘The Yoga of Awareness’. This is due to the different methods of breath control, the chanting of mantras, mental focus and various types of Asanas specially with cross-legged position, with the spine positioned straight together awaken the Kundalini within the body.
- 1. By using proven techniques to gradually awaken this benign serpent and safely deploy its amazing beneficial powers in one’s life.
- 2. This practice helps building physical vitality and increasing consciousness.
- 3. One’s life will be transformed into better health, happiness and harmony.
- 4. One will enjoy an elevation in consciousness, promotion of physical well-being.
- 5. It stimulates the higher centres by enhancing the intuition and mental clarity.
- 6. There will be an enormous expansion of awareness.
- 7. One will feel more relaxed and at ease with oneself than one has ever felt before.
- 8. It helps in breath control by its specific techniques.
- 9. Apart from increasing the breath control, it aids in improving the concentration of the practitioner.
- 10. By practising Kundalini Yoga, the infinite potential energy in the body is raises.
- 11. It helps psycho-spiritual growth and the body’s potential for maturation.
- 12. The enlightenment of the seven chakras of the body occurs with the help of the Kundalini Yoga.
The word mantra comes from the Sanskrit, language “mantrana”, meaning suggestion. Mantras are sacred, potent words, which yield tremendous results in the physical, mental and spiritual levels, when chanted with concentration and devotion.
Mantra yoga is an exact science where the mantras are signposts to the wandering mind, steering it to an ambient poise for meditation. Repetition of mantras completely engages the mind, offering a means of getting closer to the divinity within. Chanting of mantras produces positive vibrations, bringing benefits to the one who chants as well as the one who listen to those. Mantra Yoga, as the name suggests, makes use of mantras to attain a peace of mind and increase the concentration power. The mantras are chanted by the person in a thoughtful way, in order to attain certain goals. Mantra Yoga helps eliminate a number of disorders, including psychosomatic ailments and the problems of anxiety, stress and tension. It boosts the person’s self-confidence and make one feel close to the divinity.
Mantra yoga is the chanting of mantras – words, phrases or syllables – in an attentive and thoughtful way, to attain certain goals. It is a form of meditation, in which one chants the mantra till one transcends one’s mind and emotions. Here one is able to discover one’s super conscious. Research suggest that the mantras possess unique healing power when they are chanted in a particular way with the right pronunciation at a certain volume at a specific time, but the mantra should be discarded immediately after attaining the tranquillity. They are a powerful tool to achieve stillness.
There are certain things to be considered, when following the path of Mantra Yoga.
The first and foremost thing is the time, during which the mantras should be chanted. You should ensure that the mantra is recited only at the designated time.
The second thing is correct pronunciation.
Pronunciation is given immense priority, because not all the intended effect would come, if the mantras were not pronounced correctly.
The third thing is the place, where they are recited. You should chant the mantras at a peaceful atmosphere, free of any external noises.
The mantra can be chanted in three ways as follow:
- Baikhari: Mantras can be chanted in a loud manner, which is called ‘Baikhari’, This type of chanting is advantageous for removing unwanted thoughts from the mind and to make the meditation process easier.
- Upanshu: Mantras can be recited in a very low voice, audible only to the practitioner. This method of chanting is called ‘Upanshu’,
- Manasik’: Mantra can be recited only in mind neither loud nor too low. It is called ‘Manasik’, It is a subtle form of chanting mantras, the manasik method is used only by advanced practitioners.
- 1. Mantra Yoga is highly beneficial for improving the overall health and mental stability.
- 2. Mantras help the individual keep away from the drudgery of everyday life.
- 3. Mantras help to be away from the material world and keep focused towards the essentials of life.
- 4. By chanting the words in absolute concentration, one can control one’s wavering mind and increase the level of concentration.
- 5. It gives the peace of mind and helps in eliminating the psychosomatic disorders.
- 6. It helps to get rid of the nervous tension, stress, anxiety and sedimentary problems.
- 7. Mantra Yoga is the ultimate way to achieve peace and tranquillity.
- 8. It increases the feeling of security and boosts one’s self-confidence tremendously.
- 9. It eliminates negative behaviour and brings the optimistic approach in life.
- 10. It is an ultimate cure for various addictions, because it purifies you from within.
- 11. They garner knowledge about the universe and find the unison of body, mind and soul within one’s self.
Purna” means “complete,” and Purna Yoga distils and integrates the vast aspects of yoga into an invaluable set of tools for transformation and healing. It offers more than just exercise, because human is more than just a body.
The Four Petals of Purna Yoga as shown below.
- 1. Safety and Alignment-based Asana
- 2. Meditation
- 3. Applied Philosophy
- 4. Nutrition and Lifestyle
This means that all the aspects of yoga combinedly make Purna Yoga, which offers wisdom and techniques for the unison of the body, mind and soul. It emphasizes on the Karma of one’s everyday life. It involves meditation, pranayama and the performance of alignment-based asanas. Purna Yoga is an improvisation of the traditional systems of Yoga.
Purna Yoga or Integral Yoga is the art, wherein, people are taught to love and respect their own self by living from the heart. The word ‘Purna’ which means ‘Complete’, the Yoga aims at attaining a union of the body, mind and the spirit in a complete way. It was thought that the traditional Yoga system revolved more around salvation and next life, rather than the present one, whereas the Integral Yoga emphasises more on the importance of Karma in day-to-day lives. It is this united spirituality that proficiently combines self-transcendence with love, sympathy, and reverence for all living beings.
Purna Yoga gives Yoga a positive and dynamic form by introducing the three levels of integration- the integration of the inner, the integration of the human psyche with its external environment and the integration of the psyche with its ultimate spiritual Ground. It not just brings optimism and positive energies to the body alone but also to the world at large. It puts together the varied aspects of yoga, needed for transformation and healing.
Purna Yoga revolves around alignment-based asana, meditation and pranayama, along with nutrition and yogic living. According to the Integral Yoga the ultimate goal of life is complete self-integration. This self-integration involves other important elements like action, love, wisdom and peace. The yoga of love or devotion is perfectly right in affirming love as the fulfilment of life. It is the essential ingredient of salvation. It is important to note that Purna Yoga does not separate love from wisdom and selfless action. Love itself in its spiritual essence is an attribute of wisdom.
The main stages of Purna Yoga include aspiration for the Divine, surrender of the individual soul to the Universal Soul and rejection of all obstructions to the path of total transformation. Integral yoga says that knowledge is inseparable from love and action, but that action is not merely a means to self-purification resulting in salvation. The realization of the Divinity is the first step of Purna Yoga. This can be attained through constant practice of concentration, meditation or prayer. Once a person has attained the realization of the Divine, the next step would be to extend this realization beyond its proof and existence.
Now one realizes that the Divine is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. The third stage of Purna Yoga comprises of a true recognition with the ‘Transcendental Divine’. One realizes that the Divinity is not restricted within the being of a single individual and is neither within any other constituents of existence. The ultimate goal of a person is to reach the higher level of the consciousness, known as the ‘Supramental Consciousness’ to attain liberation of the soul. The super power is within.
If you are reaching out and trying to find a yoga teaching style that will help you discover your inner feeling of home within your body and spirit, you should take a look at Purna Yoga. This Yoga takes all the different ideas of yoga and presents them in a set of exercises, transformation and healing. Yoga teacher training will take you on a new adventure and bring you the tools to make your own practice stronger and be able to bring this experience to others in your community. Yoga is a tool which connects body-mind awareness and brings an appreciation of our bodies.
Everyone finds benefits from Purna yoga practice whether a physically weak person or an athlete. The key element of Purna Yoga is practicing with careful alignment of your body while you are holding the poses. As with any skill, to become successful in yoga it will require a lot of effort and practice. If one is looking for a way to regain health, stamina and vigour, feel younger and stronger, and need something that one can do and achieve success. Purna yoga practice is your best choice.
- 1. The correct alignment and the awareness will help one grow mentally, physically, and emotionally.
- 2. Purna Yoga helps one understand the ins and outs of a quality and fulfilling yoga practices.
- 3. Purna yoga focuses on one’s own spiritual connection and develops intuitions.
- 4. It makes one empowered to live from the heart instead of from the head.
- 5. It helps regain health, stamina and vigour, feel younger and stronger.
- 6. It discovers how to become more caring, happy, and heart-centered.
- 7. One can achieve success with the practise of the purna yoga.
- 8. Purna yoga makes one to live a purposeful life.
- 9. It takes care of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual
- 10. It makes one reach the higher level of the consciousness, known as the ‘Supramental Consciousness’ to attain liberation of the soul.
- 11. This yoga makes one realize the super power within.
Know More About Yoga
- 1. As with any new exercise one should be aware of the basic Do’s and Don’ts of practicing yoga for one’s own care.
- 2. As History shows us that the practice of yoga can improve one’s health and well-being. It can also be a great tool in elimination or reducing issues cause by many physical and mental ailments and disorders, still It should never be viewed as a substitution for medical treatment. Always consult your physician before beginning any type of exercise program.
- 3. One’s doctor is fully aware of any medical conditions and one’s medical history and is the most qualified to advise one on what one should be doing.
- 4. Most doctors are beginning to realize the beneficial connection between yoga and wellness. They are more aware of the advantages that the practice of yoga has to offer and are suggesting to some of their patients to research what style they feel is most suited to them. Many people look to yoga as a type of therapy to slowly build up strength and flexibility after an injury.
Note: Yoga comprises of some simple and effective body movements, which strengthen one’s back, tones the stomach muscles, and reallocate body weight. These body movements are known as asanas, or poses. The Asanas have evolved over centuries and work wonders in keeping the body healthy and the mind peaceful. If performed in a right manner, these Yoga poses or positions help to tone muscles, lubricate joints and massage the body. Not only this, the asanas also enhance body endurance and increase flexibility. These postures bring physical and mental stability, along with health and vigour; they exercise the nerves, glands, ligaments, and muscles.
To accomplish each yoga pose, one requires willpower, perseverance and daily practice. There are numberless poses and postures in Yoga. But before trying and performing any posture, you should keep certain things in mind.
- 1. one should know one’s body limits. If one’s body does not allow a particular Yoga posture, then do not push the body for it. Otherwise, it may get hurt in the process. The best thing to do is, learn from an experienced teacher. Or you can always refer to books learning Yoga poses or Yoga Asanas. Videos could be of great help. By daily practicing, you will improve on the poses or positions of Yoga. It is not something that you will gain in the very first class.
- 2. Every yoga position has its own benefits, sometimes specific physical and mental benefits. According to your needs, you can practice a particular Yoga pose.
- 3. Before starting a Yoga session, it is important to do some basic stretches to warm-up and to avoid strain.
Deriving its philosophy from the Indian metaphysical beliefs, Yoga aims to strike a balance between mind and body and attain self-enlightenment. One of the oldest physical discipline in existence, it makes the use of movement, breath, posture, relaxation and meditation to establish a healthy, lively and balanced approach to life. Yoga brings stability and relaxation to the mind and helps the individual to have a clear thinking. Apart from its cognitive benefits, Yoga serves as the best medium to enhance the beauty and the being of a person. However, performing Yoga requires a person to follow some specific guidelines, in order to achieve best results. There are various do’s and don’ts that a person needs to follow before, while and after performing Yoga. To know more about Yoga practicing guide, browse through the following lines.
- 1. The most appropriate time for practicing Yoga is in the morning, before breakfast. This is because it is the time, when our mind is calm, composed and fresh and the body movements can be performed, with considerable ease and vigour.
- 2. To get started, you need to have the urge and confidence in yourself.
- 3. To practice Yoga, the place chose must be calm, quiet, ventilated, dust free, moisture free and also distraction free.
- 4. Before you start practicing Yoga, it is very important for you to clear your bowels and bladder as well as clean your nostrils and throat of all mucus. You must also drink a glass of lukewarm water.
- 5. Yoga clothing should be loose and as comfortable as possible. Form-fitting cotton/Lycra pants and shirts are the best.
- 6. Like all other work outs, you must begin with easy poses, thereafter you can advance to the tough ones. Be methodical and systematic.
- 7. Remember, to start with your movements should be light and if you feel fatigue in between you must discontinue.
- 8. Yoga must energize and not cause weariness and depression.
- 9. You must take breaks in between, if a particular step or exercise proves tiring.
- 10. For a person performing Yoga, the diet should be a balanced and you should eat after an interval of 4 hours.
- 11. While performing Yoga, your breathing should be long and deep. You must remember to keep your mouth close and inhale and exhale, only through the nose.
- 12. The quantity of food should be such that it satisfies your appetite. The ratio composition of meals should be – grains and cereals 30% of the calorific value, vegetables and roots 25%, fruits and honey 20% and nuts 5% whereas dairy products should be 20%. Water consumption should be the highest with minimum of 60% to 70%
- 13. Over eating and fasting should be avoided. At the same time, you must try to avoid stale food.
- 14. You should always keep a Yoga mat, made of some comfortable materials. For lying postures better to use a mat.
- 15. Remember, while doing yoga, you should not get a feeling of pain or discomfort. If you do, you are not doing it in the right manner or you need to adjust your pose to suit you better.
- 16. Beginner, should not be trying the tough asanas. Remember, you need to always begin with the easy postures and then, proceed to the difficult ones. You should follow the graded steps of Yoga.
Yoga in the west is becoming very popular day by day. Yoga is basically a primeval Indian art. It is a precious resource of knowledge, endurance, spirituality and fitness. Yoga aims to bring a ‘union or merger’ of one’s soul and body for perfect repose, peace and self-enlightenment. It is meant for the enlightenment of spiritual intelligence and achievement of physical fitness. Yoga basically has its origin from the ‘Patanjali Shastra’. It is completely based on the metaphysical thinking of Indian culture. Sages and Saints from various parts of India have been practicing this wonderful art since centuries.
Yoga has now become a very popular activity in the west from last few decades. Very famous Hollywood artists confess their love and passion for this art. The art of yoga boosted up the concept of Indian mysticism in west which also included the wonders of yoga. The Yoga was formally introduced in the west through Sanskrit to English or Hindi to English translations of Indian epics.
Progress of Yoga in West
Modern Yoga gained momentum in the west after late 1800’s after the famous disciples of Swami Vivekananda and other great gurus travelled to west and came in contact of the people of west who also inclined towards this art. Germans were the first people to explore the beauty of the Sanskrit language and Vedic mystery. Scholars like Max Mull immensely contributed in making Indian philosophy popular in west. With time several yoga masters went to west from India and brought popularity to this art in the west. Hatha Yoga then became the most popular form of Yoga in the west.
Yoga Postures :
|Sanskrit Name||English Name|
|Adho Mukha Svanasana||Downward-Facing Dog|
|Adho Mukha Vrksasana||Handstand (Downward-Facing Tree)|
|Ajali Mudra||Salutation Seal|
|Ardha Chandrasana||Half Moon Posture|
|Ardha Matsyendrasana||Half Spinal Twist|
|Baddha Konasana||Bound Angle|
|Balasana or Garbhasana||Child’s Pose|
|Chaturanga Dandasana||Four-Limbed Staff Pose|
|Eka Pada Rajakapotasana||One-Legged King Pigeon Pose|
|Hanumanasana||Monkey (named after Lord Hanuman) Pose|
|Janusirsasana||Head-to-Knee Forward Bend|
|Matsyendrasana||Lord of the Fishes Pose|
|Natarajasana||Lord of the Dance Pose|
|Padahastasana||Standing Forward Bend|
|Paripurnanavasana||Full Boat Posture|
|Parivrttaparsvakonasana||Revolved Side Angle|
|Parivrttatrikonasana||Revolved Triangle Pose|
|Pascimottanasana||Seated Forward Bend|
|Prasaritapadottanasana||Intense Spread Leg Stretch|
|Pavana Mukta-Asana||Wind-releasing Posture|
|Shavasana / Mrtasana||Corpse Pose|
|Sethubandasana||Bridge, Half Wheel Pose|
|Siddhasana / Muk-tasana /Guptasana||Perfect Pose|
|Sirsasana||Head Stand Pose|
|Suptabaddhakonasana||Reclining Bound Angle Pose|
|Suptapadangusthasana||Reclining Big Toe Pose|
|Suptavirasana||Reclining Sun Salutation Pose|
|Tadasana / Samasthiti||Mountain Pose|
|Upavistakonasana||Open Angle Pose|
|Urdhvadhanurasana||Upward Bow, Backbend, or Wheel Pose|
|Urdhvamukhasvanasana||Upward-Facing Dog Pose|
|Uttanakurmasana||Upside-Down Tortoise Pose|
|Uttanasana||Standing Forward Bend Pose|
|Utthitahastapadangusthasana||Raised Hand to Big Toe Pose|
|Utthitaparsvakonasana||Extended Side Angle Pose|
|Utthitatrikonasana||Extended Triangle Posture|
|Vasisthasana||Side Plank Pose|