Yoga defined in scriptures is symbolic and often words are misunderstood and meaning distorted in the absence of right words in other languages. Yoga is defined in many ways as yoga leads man to experience transcendental consciousness and transcendental consciousness is beyond mind which mind cannot really explain and can only point out to that reality and truth. In addition, mind can point out in many ways the process, meaning and method but a still remains far away, from what is truth, reality and bliss which yoga seeks. However, simple definitions can be given for clear understanding in daily life.
1. Yoga is harmony of mind, emotion and body
When a person is in stress, his mind, body and emotion all acts differently without any coordination to one another. Mind seeks what body does not like, emotion goes for what mind or body resists and body likes what is disliked by mind and emotion. This disharmony or ask of coordination is one of the main reasons of stress and conflicts and problems in daily life. Mind cannot bring about this harmony in life as it tries harmony as an idea not as a reality by dropping something and adding something into life, personality and action. This mind is of the nature of division and divides everything then looks what has gone wrong. The emotion when guided by animal instincts can never approach harmony. The body when conditioned by mechanical habits, routines and cannot reflect upon what mind seeks from it and result is disintegration.
When you practice yoga, harmony comes by discovering, experiencing a new consciousness within that is beyond mind. This consciousness is of the nature of delight, peace, harmony and bliss. When this consciousness descends down into mind, body; it purifies this body and mind; it eliminates all discords between body and mind. This results into peace, harmony. Yoga not only brings inner harmony but also outer harmony with nature, with people with society and with the external world.
How harmony of body, mind and emotion comes because of yoga practices. When you practice yoga, you awaken the inner consciousness or spiritual consciousness within. This spiritual consciousness within transmits all what it has in terms of peace, light, delight, knowledge, bliss to body, mind and body and transforms all lower nature and its discords like dualities, conflicts, stress, anxiety, emotional disturbances. This spiritual consciousness has the capacity to act upon body, mien and emotion and also pours down all its attributes. In addition, the result is harmony.
2. Health, Happiness and harmony are three results of yoga
I always ask a person whosoever comes to me practicing yoga. And the question is,” why you want to practice yoga?”
“I want health.” Replied a person.
“ Do you know what is health.”
“ Physical fitness.”
I asked,” but you are already healthy at physical level. Are you not healthy or suffering from any disease? And if not then why you want health.”
“ No! Guru, I am not suffering from any disease, I want to practice to see what happens.”
In addition, the I found no particular reason or correct reason to practice yoga.
When yoga talks of health, it is not confined to physical health. It is not restricted to some physical exercises that stretches the body, increase blood circulation, stamina etc. yoga considers health at five levels of body of at five bodies.
There are five bodies with all of us according to us. They are Annamaya Kosha or Gross Boy of matter, Pranamaya Kosha or gross body of energy, Manomaya Kosha or mental body, Jnanamaya Kosha or knowledge body and Anandmaya Kosha or bliss body. The first Annamaya Kosha is the outermost and Anandmaya Kosha is the innermost body. Every person has five bodies. Harmony, perfect interaction and functioning of all theses five bodies’ means health in yoga.
When you are in stress, it starts from mind or Manomaya Kosha and enters into gross body or Annamaya Kosha with the help of Pranamaya Kosha. So third body when in stress also brings stress in the gross for first body and second body of energy. That is why you experience fatigue, tiredness, and loss of energy at the level of body when you have stress in mind. You experience conflicts in your mind is due to third or Manomaya Kosha. However, when this stress continues, Annamaya Kosha and Anandmaya Kosha – the other two innermost bodies do not transfer their powers that results into feeling of boredom, sorrow and tension.
Health comes when all five bodies work in integration and harmony with one another and gross or first body alone cannot bring health. Health is defined in yoga and ancient scriptures of India as a state of well being at physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social levels.
In addition, when you practice yoga, you must experience
- Relaxation of mind and body
- Experience of happiness and freshness
- Lightness in the body and mind
- Increased awareness and attention with less fluctuations and distractions in the mind
- Decrease in anger, hatred, anxiety, and ill will against others.
However, these experiences are only the beginning as you continue to practice yoga, you discover a new consciousness full of peace, bliss, knowledge, truth and many more. At last you experience self-realization. The state of self-realization in terms of health, happiness and harmony means a state of contentment, higher level of awareness, bliss, and peace.
Always remember yoga Guru changes your vision not the world in which you live. This means he makes you aware of inner consciousness or real self. He takes you to the journey of inner self where lies the truth, peace, happiness and health and harmony. He guides and never imposes; suggests but never dictates; inspires you but never frustrates you in the path of yoga.
3. Transformation of brain, mind and body is yoga.
What is change and what is transformation? Change means it may or may not be permanent but transformation also means change but permanent change. When you put milk to convert into yogurt, it can never be changed again into milk. This is transformation. In addition, when you freeze water it converts into water. This is also change but temporary change as you can again convert ice into water.
Yoga transforms the brain. Brain has deposits of all your past impressions, conflicts, dualities, problems and worries, brain further is full of deposits of instincts that becomes active in daily life and you experience hatred, anger, jealousy and many other negative traits. When you practice yoga, brain transforms into peace, harmony and love. It is always full of love, beauty, creativity, energy, delight and many other positive traits. This is the first transformation you can experience after practicing yoga.
There is right hemisphere and left hemisphere of brain. The right brain is analytical, logical, liner and always acts in sequence, while left-brain is intuitive, synthetic, integrative and full of creative attributes and qualities. You always or at 90% acts through right brain, thinks, contemplates, rationalize everything and the result is stress, depression, and fatigue and tiredness etc. but when you act through left brain, it brings creativity, energy, harmony, happiness, integration etc.
When you practice yoga, it brings changes in your nervous system and brain so that you start working harmoniously with left and right brain. Modern scene says that after practice of yoga, man experience calmness, peace, and harmony due to dominant working of parasympathetic system. In addition, when you continue practicing yoga, your nature changes to more calmness, quiet, peace and happiness.
Yoga transforms mind as well. This transformation of mind means, you start working through intuition, inspiration and revelations at all time of your life. Less the work of rational mind, less the stress you have in life as reasoning always divides life into many parts. Reasoning is always good for material world. Say for example, you want to go to some place far away, you plan how, you go, which transportation to use-to-use, time it will take to reach there and many more questions like this. But when you want to know what is love, honesty, integrity and beauty and many more things from this reasoning mind, you gets cheated and frustrated as reasoning mind can not answer theses questions. When you practice yoga, a stage comes, your mind is transformed means your mind pours down higher consciousness that is full of intuition, inspi8ration and revelations and all these tells you to follow the path what is right, peaceful and harmonious.
And what about transformation of body. The transformation of body means change of rezones this body offers in many life situations. Body becomes stiff, sick, and resist when you are in stress; enter into climate and environment where chances of getting infection are very high. There body after transformation can face these situations and conditions with easy as it increases power of immunity, resistance power, vitality, vigor etc.
Yoga is transformation of brain, mind and body. Hatha Yoga practices of Pranayama and Asana and meditations along with other practices brings this transformation. This transformation also means that you always live, move and act in higher consciousness than this mind and rational consciousness. This state of mind is free from distractions, anxiety, stress, problems and miseries.
So, whenever you practice yoga always aware of these changes and if such changes do not take place, ask your Guru or teacher.
If a teacher does not offer any explanation, it is always better to change the teacher and go to another so that you can learn yoga rightly.
4. Yoga is accelerating the process of evolution of human race.
Swami Vivekananda says, “ yoga is a process of evolving one’s life, mind into ones lifetime, into few days or few hours of earthly existence.”
What is evolution? Modern science says human race has evolved from monkey and monkey from still lower animals. Who is evolving all of us? It is known in yoga as Prakriti or nature or universal consciousness. This Prakriti is the force of consciousness and consciousness is the ultimate reality. This Prakriti is evolving all time to reach to pure consciousness. The destination after evolution is the pure consciousness. This consciousness is all pervading.
Human frame has evolved fully ass this human frame of body cannot have any sixth organ. The nervous system is fully evolved in this boy. This body already has new brain, which made us. Then what is the purpose of this evolution? This process of evolution is still going on and evolving the mind. Mind is not fully evolved even today. If you look may be 100 years ago, the mind was not evolved as t today. You look around and you will find that even small kids are more intelligent than what we were at the same age. This is what evolution does. This mind is evolving all time. When you practice yoga, your mind evolves faster and consciously. Evolving mind consciously means you know it is evolving and faster means much faster than what nature does. What happens when this mind evolves, you will enter into peace, harmony, and perfection. However, yoga does not end here as it goes further and evolves after the mind. What is after and beyond mind? It is pure consciousness full of truth, peace, harmony, bliss and total awareness.
Yoga hastens the process of evolution and takes you to the end of journey for which you are and have come on earth. You become spiritual fully awakened and attain perfection.
When you achieve this state of evolution- you move, live and act in joy, peace, free from stress also known ass self realization and salvation. This state can be achieved even if you are with this body or after death of the body as well.
This self-realization doe not brings spiritual consciousness but also success in every filed that you undertake.
5. Yoga is union of the two polarities within the body for perfection
Perfection means you live move and act with perfection and never have any problem miseries and sorrows. This perfection comes when you have right observation, right perception and right action in life at every moment in life.
Yoga says this inside this boy there is another energy body known as Pranayama Kosha exactly like this outer gross body or physical body has two divisions. These two divisions are two poles of energy- positive and negative or sun (hot flow or energy) and moon _ cold flow of energy).
Have you ever thought of why you have two nostrils in the body when even one nostril can do the work? You require two ears to find the depth of sound and distance of sound coming to your ears.
You need two eyes to know the distance of any object you see. Nevertheless, why two nostrils. Because you have two different types of energies. One flows from right nostril and other flows from left nostril. You might have noticed that at particular time, only one nostril is active i.e. pen nostril flows or you are able to breathe freely through only one nostril at one time. This is because of the effect of one type of energy at that time. You may notice even now while reading this books that only one nostril flows at a time. The right flow of nostril is hot, left flow is cold, and union of harmony of two becomes yoga. Why when the two nostrils start flowing equally at the same time this flow is known as middle flow of susumna flow in which your inner consciousness is awakened and you are possible in a state of meditation.
Why this union is required? There are many reasons given for this question. One is union brings harmony. Union awakens the inner consciousness or spiritual consciousness. Union transforms your mind. Union brings peace, love and brings you face to face with truth.
There are many ways to unite these two flows but one important way is known as Hatha Yoga. Most people understand Hatha yoga means all physical practices of yoga and meditation are different form this yoga. However, Hatha in Hatha Yoga is made of two words- HA means sun or hot flow of energy and THA means cold flow of energy and union of the two is Hatha Yoga. This process of union of the two flows takes place by changing the biochemistry of the body. In addition, these biochemical changes take place when you practice sat karma or cleansing practices, physical yoga or Asana. But practice physical yoga like any physical exercise will not bring any result as I have seen people practicing this physical yoga even for 15 years but without any result or rather they suffer form many diseases, they have not been able bring about any change in their attitude. This is because they are practicing physical yoga like any physical exercise concentration upon stretching, muscular development and increasing blood circulation. These results can come when you practice any physical practice even jogging, running, or walking. Nevertheless, practice physical yoga is to be done with awareness of inner consciousness o that mind and emotions can lasso is affected. There requires a proper attitude, right manner and few other tips for practicing physical yoga so that your mind can also be evolved, your energies ca also be harmonized and your attitude can also be changed.
Physical yoga has many positions that do not have any type of stretching in the body still very important and very effective much more than any physical practice or exercise.
This is because, these few postures change the inner chemistry of boy, brings about a transformation in mind and life. There is one asana known as Padma Asana that requires a little or no effort in developing it. If you practice this asana regularly for fifteen minutes and go on increasing the duration every week from 15 minutes to one hour, two hours and three hours. When you can practice this asana for more than an hour, you will many changes in your mind, attitude, behavior and body. This can take place even when there is no stretching in the body at all. The reason being that this asana can bring harmony and union of two energies together and bring about a transformation. Even self-realization comes by longer practice of this asana. This Padma asana is known as one of the most important and best asana in Hatha Yoga. There is another reason is this asana makes your body like a pyramid and what ever ism kept in pyramid for years together never decays. In addition, when you practice this posture or asana, it delays decaying process, harmonizes the energy within, awaken the spiritual consciousness and can take you into deeper meditation even without making any effort for meditation.
6. Material and spiritual world are one and only one in yoga.
There is spiritual world of pure consciousness. Consciousness is the ultimate reality and this consciousness created everything of the universe and universe itself. The best thing of this consciousness is that it creates and enters into what it creates. After entering into every creation, it starts working of evolving by his force known as consciousness force or Prakriti as it is explained earlier.
Spiritual consciousness is unmanifest material world and material world is manifest spiritual consciousness. You see the seed and explain seed is potential tree and tree is manifest seed. Similarly, spiritual consciousness is like a seed in every being and in everything of this universe. That is why yoga lays stress that body is the temple of divine, you should know how to enter into this temple and open the door to divinity. Many people open the door from the desires, sex and cravings and meet with all kinds of problems and worries. In addition, others open the door from above and succeed in entering into divine kingdom. Yoga is a science that helps you to recognize the door that opens to divinity and transform the lower nature.
You know you need an isolated place for both meditation and sex. Sex as such is done in an isolated place and so the meditation practice requires an isolated place. The isolated place, motive, and desire make the difference. The desire to practice meditation takes you divinity. It is the choice or free will of a person that goes for spiritual development is all yoga matters and needs.
Like a lamp or light is used for both stealing and reading. Similarly this body with material world can also be used either for spiritual progress or for cravings, fulfillment of ones desires and self centered aspirations. The self-realization is very much in the same world in which we all live and move. Yoga calls for contemplation of what we do everyday in our lives and encourage us to follow the path and action that may lead to the discovery of self within leading to self-realization. Why this self-realization has been so important in yoga? It is because self-realization alone can bring true happiness, peace, delight and knowledge in life. Only the self-realization can bring an end to all miseries, problems, and afflictions.
Many people think that while leaving everything in this world, they can become a true yoga master or by torturing their body in the name of penance, they could reach or attain many powers. Neither a person who leaves everything in this universe nor a person who tries all means to torture this body can become a true yoga master. What yoga demands a conscious approach to drop all attachments with all material things in life so that mind could be directed to spiritual consciousness within. As long as mind is attached with anything of this material world, it can not experience and realize the spiritual consciousness as mind will continue to create divisions and conflicts within and ca keep the barrier or a distance between the real self and mind.
Dropping attachment through contemplation, understanding and awareness leads to progress and dropping attachment with force, for attaining some powers and for reputation does not lea the yoga practitioner any where near to goal in yoga.
Material world is also the spiritual world but in unmanifest form and spiritual world is also the material world in manifest form. They both are one and can be realized one only when the spiritual consciousness is awakened in deeper meditation.
7. Yoga is commerce between conscious and super conscious.
Modern psychology has understood deeply what is the relation between conscious and subconscious mind. The concept of Freud and Adler and Jung throws deeper light in to the workings of conscious and unconscious and subconscious mind, Infact they have revolutionized the understanding of mind and ego with reference to unconscious drives.
Yoga first accepts what is said and understood in modern psychology but goes further and says that there is higher consciousness above this conscious mind and unconscious or subconscious mind. This higher consciousness is also referred to as super consciousness. Modern psychology has not been able to understand clearly what is this super conscious and how it works in relation conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind. Few also refer, as unconscious mind is the super consciousness.
Yoga simply puts forward that as there is commerce between conscious and subconscious mind there is commerce between conscious and super conscious mind and layers of consciousness. Understanding consciously this relationship, allowing the superconsciosuness to manifest itself consciously, experiencing it and helping it to establish its domain over the conscious and unconscious mind is what is yoga in real sense.
Subconscious mind creates much of problems and miseries in the world. In addition, when this suprerconsciousness is understood and brought down consciously, it transforms all problems created by this unconscious mind. This transformation comes, as superconsciosuness is the supreme authority of this body, mind and life and is capable of guiding the life to happiness, bliss, peace, bliss and knowledge.
As all three layers are within human frame, so yoga is self-discovery of your essential nature. You discover layer by layer your own nature, problems, worries and at last reach to real self. There is nothing beyond this super conscious. All tools of yoga whether it is physical exercise or mental practices or meditation are all used to know, live and experience this super consciousness which is also known as real self.
8.Yoga is an integral and perfect education
Education is search of knowledge for perfection. Learning begins the moment one comes out of the womb of mother and continues until death. There are many references in ancient texts that learning even begins in the womb of mother after three months of pregnancy. There are many examples of historical person sin India who learnt and received knowledge in the womb of mother and used the same when they became mature.
Learning is inherent ability of human race that moulds his behavior, awakens ones potentials, perfect his attitudes and perception, sets standards of social, emotional, mental and intellectual life, brings changes in the outer and internal world.
Education means using instrument of human frame for reaching harmony, perfection, integration, and better and better response to the challenges in the world.
“Yoga is self conscious finding,” says one of the greatest yoga masters who revolutionized by integrating the modern psychology with ancient knowledge of yoga. Sri Aurobindo further says.” By Yoga, we mean ……… a methodized effort towards self perfection by the expression of potentialities latent in the being and a union of human individual with universal and transcendent existence we see partially expressed in man and in cosmos.”
Yoga is discovery of self-consciously. Any discovery leads to knowledge and yoga leads to knowledge of self. It means, yoga brings the knowledge of all layers of human frame and existence so that they can be harmonized, integrated for happy, healthy, creative life. Yoga further brings on surface consciously the true being that responds integrally to the outer challenges of life with reference to truth and only truth of the being.
Yoga is a learning of self in relation to outer world and in relation to transcendental world of highest consciousness so that even the field of unknown becomes united with the known so that every action taken leads to joy, happiness, perfection and integration.
Yoga is Infact education of the self and modern education is the education of external world. Yoga is education of self in relation to outer world and modern education is the education of the external world in relation to self.
Yoga is life long learning to all layers of your existence- emotions, mind, thoughts, desires, cravings, peace, light, bliss, self etc. yoga helps in eliminating what is not required in your life, transforming what rings conflicts, stress, anxiety and problems and miseries, purifying what has become impure during the process of living, awakening what is still not awakened or sleeping and evolving what is yet to be evolved for a better life, richer life and dynamic life.
Acharya Girish Jha took yoga and spirituality to its highest level by teaching it as the science of conscious evolution, a fact that attracted global attention. He taught over 60000 people world wide. As a Board Certified Professional Counselor, Acharya combines the wisdoms of Yoga, Science and Spirituality based on authentic texts, himalayan tradition, and consciousness approach aims at Health, Harmony & Happiness. http://www.shreyasyoga.com
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