by Octavian Sarbatoare
Yoga is about consciousness. There is a wide variety of
techniques to enhance the conscious experience of a person. One
out of them is Yoga. Yoga as a practical and theoretical concept
evolved from the ancestral pagan believes on the socio-geographical
area having its core what is actually India. The significance of
the word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit root Yuj which means 'union'
between the someone's personal consciousness and the universal consciousness.
A multitude of techniques similar to those in Yoga are to be found
in other traditions all over the world. People employ Yoga practices
at certain stages in their lives.
The proper time to start practicing Yoga is the time of a personal
individual crisis. The restlessness, lack of satisfaction with life
overall are triggers to many questions of how to solve personal
problems. Any personal crisis could become the beginning of a personal
transformation and a divine chance to be able to evolve, i.e. to
enhance the awareness of life experience. By being more conscious
about life events people become impartial observers of what and
how things happen. A personal transformation is visible gradually.
This is expressed by a multitude of changes at personal level. Yoga
employs a succession of events to bring success on this spiritual
The first step, before starting the Yoga practices proper, is
the self-analysis, an impartial observation of own person. The observer
and the observed has to become the same person. Here, the essential
quality necessary to succeed is honesty. Honesty will allow anyone
to see with objectivity what is not pleasant about own person, either
the face, body form, habits, addictions and many others. Nobody
else can be more objective about a person's description but the
person him/herself. This being accomplished a resolution of improvement
has to be made.
The first area of self-improvement is that of the body, which
is the cause of many addictions. Addictions like drinking, smoking,
meat eating are typical. A lot of mental addictions have as their
basic source the body addictions. By identifying and targeting addiction,
this aim becomes a great personal battle to remove those body addictions.
Yoga as a process of conscious approach to life experience starts
with becoming aware about body addictions. Once people are honest
enough to admit those weaknesses and decide to do something about
them, this is a very good sign and a positive encouragement towards
opening new doors on the path of Yoga.
The practice of Yoga gradually produces an enhancement of sense
perception to have deeper experiences. These kinds of amplification
of the awareness of human senses have deep implications at mental
level. In Yoga, mind experiences, body experiences and sexual experiences
are interconnected, an action upon one will produce consequences
on the other two. In Yoga this is known as the interconnection between
Manas (mental energy), Prana (body energy) and Virya (sexual energy).
The above division allow the Yoga practices to be classified into
three areas of actions, either acting on Manas, Prana or Virya.
There are Yogic techniques acting on two of the above, even on all
The typical techniques to act on Manas are meditative experiences
of various kinds, either employing or not the Mantra (magical formula)
practices. Such Mantras are given by a Guru who follow a specific
tradition (Sapradaya). Mantras are linked to certain benefits, the
concept behind is as being the vibrational form of a Devata (deity).
By repetition with Mantras (Mantra Japa), this makes the mind to
come closer and closer to the source of the sound which is according
to Yoga the source (Bindu) of everything. All the meditation kind
of practices imply awareness of the mind when the practitioner is
somehow conscious of what is happening. The good signs of success
is when awareness is able to be maintained longer and longer.
Those typical techniques to act on Prana are physical postures
(Asanas) and breath exercises (Pranayama). Those techniques to act
on Virya are more related to the Maithuna Tantra concept and practices,
implying man-woman sexual interaction.
The action of optimisation starts with the body. The well-known
physical postures (Asanas) are of four kinds: extension, compression,
torsion and neutral as far as the action on the vertebral column
is concerned. Certain rules have to be followed when choosing the
order and succession of various postures. An Asana of extension
will be followed by one of compression and vice versa, an Asana
of torsion has to do the twist of the vertebral column both to to
left and right sides; a neutral Asana can be inserted between the
above complementary pairs. Examples: Sarvangasana (the posture of
all limbs) is an Asana of extension that could be followed by Matsyasana
(the posture of the fish), which is an Asana of compression. Vakrasana
(the posture of the limbs) is practiced on both left and right sides.
The multitude of Asanas could be learned from books or qualified
Yoga teachers, thus a personal program of Yoga training could be
created by anyone having the knowledge of the rules above.
Pranayama (breathing technique) is the next stage following the
Asanas practice according to Patanjali (see below). It is important
to know that various Pranayama techniques produce certain body and
mind effects. Sahita Pranayama for example produces heat into the
body. This heat makes digestion better, i.e. will amplify what is
called Jatharagni (the fire of digestion). Other Pranayama techniques
like Shitali will cool the body, etc. The practice of Pranayama
will allow the equilibrium to the body and mind biological systems,
so that the practitioner becomes full of vigour almost all the time.
Yoga overall is best known from the classical literature as having
eight stages. This classification however is just one of the many
methods of attaining that union (Yoga). However, another definition
of Yoga is to be the disunion between Purusha and Prakriti. Purusha
is the pole of consciousness, Prakriti is the pole of matter. When
the two poles start to dissociate within the mind of a practitioner
the conscious inclination towards the Purusha side makes somebody's
mind to gradually become one with Purusha and unite with that all
pervading consciousness. Basically all Yoga practices have as final
objective to produce the disunion between Purusha and Prakriti within
the mind of a Yoga aspirant.
Many other techniques related to various kinds of Yoga like Karma
Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Laya Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Jnana Yoga,
Kundalini Yoga, Swara Yoga, Nada Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Tantra Yoga,
etc., are being accessible for practice in tune with the personal
inclinations of someone who takes the results coming form specific
kinds of Yoga as personal goals, like efficiency of action for Karma
Yoga, divine devotion for Bhakti Yoga, etc. However the accomplishment
of Yoga, as union with the divine or disunion between Purusha and
Prakriti, no matter by which method has some commonalities.
The culmination of practices is the conscious explosion of the
mind. This is due to various Yoga techniques producing a gradual
purification of body and mind. The ascending of consciousness is
seen by Yoga as the step by step rise towards Lokas (planes of awareness).
The entire Chakra system (of Tantric origin) is in fact a gradual
ascendancy of consciousness as perception experience. A practitioner
has to overcome the five fires (Panchagni) i.e. greed (Lobha) in
Muladhara Chakra, desire (Kama) in Shvadhishthana Chakra, anger
(Krodha) in Manipura Chakra, attachment (Raga) in Anahata Chakra,
pride (Mada) in Vishuddha Chakra.
It is only after these steps that consciousness rises to Ajna
Chakra. By attaining this spiritual point, a practitioner is much
closer to the goal. Stepping further, the mind explodes in awareness
in Sahasrara Chakra i.e. there is a state of conscious experience
which the mind cannot handle peacefully. At this point of tumultuous
mental experience practitioner's Guru has to be closer and help
the aspirant to overcome this tremendous experience.
Yoga asserts that without Guru's help is very unusual somebody
to be able to handle the awakening. This experience of explosion
of the mind is equivalent with Kundalini Shakti awakening. Kundalini
who is Shakti as energy of creation within the human body has come
up the Sushumna Nadi to meet Shiva. Their unity is in fact the mind
of the practitioner united with the universal consciousness.
After the successful awakening the Yogi becomes a Siddha, a Jivanmukta,
a living liberated soul, in modern terminology a Homo Noeticus,
Homo Tantrika, Homo Universalis, a new kind of human being surpassing
in ability most of the other human beings. It will not be daring
to foresee a new king of humanity arising from the process of gradual
evolution based on Yoga.
Suggested Further Reading
Source: © 1999 and subsequent years Octavian Sarbatoare, Australia.
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