Techniques of Yoga
Yoga is done both at the physical and non-physical levels. Physical level yoga is the first level to reach at the stage of non-physical level of yoga. The physical stages are briefly described below.
There is no precise English language translation of the most of terms associated with yoga. As languages evolve progressively, new terminologies may evolve in future. Until then, let us understand Hath Yoga as Hath yoga. It involves six different techniques to cleanse our body. These techniques are called Shut karmas (six ways or actions).
These shut Karmas are:
a) NETI : - it is a process of cleansing or purifying our nasal passage including lungs.
b) DHAUTI: - it is a process of internal cleansing. In this process, a person is gradually made to swallow a piece of sterlised cloth (muslin) soaked in warm water whose dimensions are 7.5cm X 5m. It is then slowly taken out of his body. It completely cleanses our stomach except large intestine.
c) Basti: - It is a technique for washing and tonning the ractom.
d) Trataka: - it is a technique of amazing concentrations on one object. When practiced over a period of time, it leads to unbelievable power of concentration. It is of great significance during the student life.
e) Nouli: - It is a unique method of messaging and strengthening the organs in our abdominal region
f) Kapal Bhathi: - It is a breathing technique which activates the frontal region of our brain. It removes stress instantly and energises brain to positive thinking.
yoga is described in Patanjali yoga darshan. Ashtanga yoga is the eight fold path to attain command over one’s mind. It leads to liberation and true freedom where one identifies one’s self with the supreme force of universe. It comes through the intervening period of Samadhi. These are also called eight (ashta) limbs or the steps. Of these five are external steps (Bahir-anga) and remaining three are internalised steps (Antaranga). Together, these eight steps lead us to ultimate state of spiritualism. These steps are described briefly one by one:
a) Yama (Moral restrictions): - Its sets us on the path of ‘must doing’ and certain ‘non-doings’. The followings are ingredients of Yama - Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (renouncing even the desire for sex). Aparigraha (giving away the surplus).
b) Niyama ( principles of self conduct) : - Niyamas are a set of principles which a person must observe in order to raise his or her level of consciousness. These are: Shaucha (purity), Santosha (contentment), tapas (Austerity), Svadhya (self study), Ishvara Pranindhana (surrender to God).
c) Asana (practice of the postures):- For most people, Yoga means, the asana. But a fact of the matter is that asana are just a miniscule part of all pervasive yoga. But with the help of asana, a great degree of body comforts and streamlining happens.
d) Pranayama: - It is a wonderful technique of breathing process. It relaxes and instantly burns all toxins in our body. After Pranayam, a person immediately feels relaxed, peaceful and joyous. It feels that body has lost a huge quantum of weight.
e) Pratyahara: - Normally our senses are to feel only outwards. Pratyahara help our senses to draw us inward and hence withdraw us from external world.
f) Dharana: - In this process, a person is trained to fix one’s mind on one object or thought process.
g) Dhyana: - It constitutes the next higher state of meditation to that of Dharna. In this state mind stays fixed on one spot naturally in a spontaneous way.
h) Samadhi: - Samadhi constitutes the next evolutionary state of Dhyana. In this state, a person tends to forget even himself or herself. Only a particular object or spot becomes the focus. This state is called the Sumprajat Samadhi. In the final stage, (Asamprajat samadhi), even the object disappears. Here exists one’s real self, the purest state of consciousness.
Gyan Yoga (The Path of Knowledge)
Lord Krishna has described three ways by which we can attain Him. One of them is, Gyan Yoga, that is, with the help of knowledge. It requires travelling both outside and inside of us. The elements of outside travelling are: Vivek (wisdom), Vairagya (detachment), Sham (defying feelings of heart), and Mumukshutava (curiosity). Inward travelling requires: Shravan (ability to listen), Manan (analysis), nididhyasana and Samadhi (already described).
Bhakti Yoga (The Path of Devotion)
Gyan Yoga is difficult to attain. But Bhava (emotions) are common possession of all human beings. Love for God, desire to achieve him, listening to songs of his praise, shedding tears when we are with Him or without Him, prayers and being slave to Him are the ingredients which move us on the path of Bhakti yoga. In Shrimad Bhagvat Gita, Lord Krishna told Arjuna that Bhakti yoga is the easiest way of attaining Me. He said,” Those who come to Me through Bhakti yoga, are dearest to Me. I become slave to such people”.
Karma Yoga (The path of selfless service)
According to Krishna, in Shrimad Bhagwad Gita, all the Karmas (actions) free from the expectation of fruits are the one’s through which I can be achieved and attained. All of us are free to perform Karmas (actions) but are slave to their results (favorable or unfavorable outcome of actions) because the result of our actions is prerogative of God alone.
Japa Yoga (The path of repetition of any mantra or name of God)
When we take the name of God, initially there are three entities – the person, the mantra or name of God and God. As we practice it, mantra or name of God disappears, only the person and God remain. As we go deep into it, even the person dissolves and god alone remains.