Yoga

YOGA

The key to relaxation is awareness, being a keen observer of all that is going on both inside and around us — this is the inner science, often also called meditation. Rishikesh Yogashram offers daily holistic yoga and meditation classes for all guests where one can learn simple meditation techniques designed for the contemporary over-charged mind as well as yoga to relieve the stress-impacted body. One-to-one guidance for your yogic journey will be available by our Teachers upon personal request. Our center offers a Yoga Teacher Training program annually in which students are encouraged to practice all aspects of the diverse tradition of yoga: Satkarma, Asana, Pranayama, Vedic Mantra, Kirtan, and Meditation. Students are also encouraged to contemplate various traditions in yoga philosophy: Vedanta, Tantra, Samkhya and Classical Yoga. Yoga and meditation retreats will also be hosted by other international teachers who bring their groups to this idyllic land in complete autonomy of organization and teaching. Healers and teachers of any spiritual discipline are invited to organize workshops with a holistic approach. The property is also a sanctuary for writers and artists of all kinds who seek solace and heightened creative energy to express their potential without any disturbance. All visitors have the opportunity in acquiring yogic tools and learning new life skills to take home. These life skills will assist them in remaining relaxed, even in the busiest of work day environments.

 

What is Yoga ?

Yoga means union. Etymologically, it is connected to the English word, yoke. Yoga means union with God, or, union of the little, ego-self with the divine Self, the infinite Spirit.

Most people in the West, and also many in India, confuse yoga with Hatha Yoga, the system of bodily postures. But yoga is primarily a spiritual discipline.

I don’t mean to belittle the yoga postures. Hatha Yoga is a wonderful system. The body, moreover, is a part of our human nature, and must be kept fit lest it obstruct our spiritual efforts. Devotees, however, who are bent on finding God give less importance to the yoga postures. Nor is it strictly necessary that they practice them.

Hatha Yoga is the physical branch of Raja Yoga, the true science of yoga. Raja Yoga is a system of meditation techniques that help to harmonize human consciousness with the divine consciousness.
Yoga is an art as well as a science. It is a science, because it offers practical methods for controlling body and mind, thereby making deep meditation possible. And it is an art, for unless it is practiced intuitively and sensitively it will yield only superficial results.

Yoga is not a system of beliefs. It takes into account the influence on each other of body and mind, and brings them into mutual harmony. So often, for instance, the mind cannot concentrate simply because of tension or illness in the body, which prevent the energy from flowing to the brain. So often, too, the energy in the body is weakened because the will is dispirited, or paralyzed by harmful emotions.

Yoga works primarily with the energy in the body, through the science of pranayama, or energy-control. Prana means also ‘breath.’ Yoga teaches how, through breath-control, to still the mind and attain higher states of awareness.

The higher teachings of yoga take one beyond techniques, and show the yogi, or yoga practitioner, how to direct his concentration in such a way as not only to harmonize human with divine consciousness, but to merge his consciousness in the Infinite.

Yoga is a very ancient science; it is thousands of years old. The perceptions derived from its practice form the backbone of the greatness of India, which for centuries has been legendary. The truths espoused in the yoga teachings, however, are not limited to India, nor to those who consciously practice yoga techniques. Many saints of other religions also, including many Christian saints, have discovered aspects of the spiritual path that are intrinsic to the teachings of yoga.

A number of them were what Indians, too, would accept as great yogis.

They had raised their energy from body-attachment to soul-identity.

They had discovered the secret of directing the heart’s feeling upward in devotion to the brain, instead of letting it spill outward in restless emotions.

They had discovered the portal of divine vision at the point between the eyebrows, through which the soul passes to merge in Christ Consciousness.

They had discovered the secrets of breathlessness, and how in breathlessness the soul can soar to the spiritual heights.

They had discovered the state which some of them called mystical marriage, where the soul merges with God and becomes one with Him.

Yoga completes the biblical teaching on how one should love God: with heart, mind, soul-and strength. For strength means energy. The ordinary person’s energy is locked in his body. The lack of availability of that energy to his will prevents him from loving the Lord one-pointedly with any of the three other aspects of his nature: heart, mind, or soul. Only when the energy can be withdrawn from the body and directed upward in deep meditation is true inner communion possible.

From PARAMHANSA YOGANANDA “The essence of self realization”

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