Yoga means "joined together." The word comes from the ancient Sanskrit root word yug, which means "to unify."
A yogi is one who consciously unifies body, mind, emotions, and spirit so that they work together very well.
is Not a Religion
The 8 main yogas are:-
Bhakti yoga, or devotional yoga, is the most natural path for those who are dominantly seeking emotional fulfillment and well being. The "bhakta" usually practices meditation by visualizing, thinking and feeling that the Lord is sitting or standing before him. The bhakta pours out his heart’s love, adoration, and shares his deepest thoughts and concerns with the Lord until a continual flow of awareness moves between devotee and his or her beloved Lord.
Karma means to do. Karma refers to the universal principle of cause and effect. For every effect there’s a cause,and the devotee realizes that he,in his present life situation,is experiencing the effects of a number of causes which he has entertained and enacted. He recognizes that for a finer, more fulfilling life he has to change his thoughts and feelings and so express himself through his actions that new causes supplant old habits and attitudes.Karma Yoga Meditation
Karma yoga meditation is:
Jnana means wisdom or discernment. Jnana yoga is the path of wisdom and jnana meditation is many-faceted.The main purpose of jnana meditationis to withdraw the mind and emotions from perceiving life and oneself in a deluded way so that one may behold and live in attunement with Reality, or Spirit.One principal way that the "jnani," the yogi of discernment, meditates is to patiently release or put aside all thoughts and feelings until the luminous glow of the soul dawns in the mind and heart and is allowed to do a work of transformation and enlightenment within the rapt meditator. One way this is accomplished is through the technique called neti-neti.
Whenever a thought or feeling which is not the goal of the meditation — that is, which is not the soul, the inner self — occurs to the mind, the meditator simply says, "Not this, not this," and dismisses the thought, image, concept, sound, or sense distraction.
Any thought, any feeling, is discarded — patiently discarded — again and again if necessary, until the mind is clear and the soul is revealed.
Raja means royal or kingly. Raja yoga meditation is generally based on directing one’s life force to bring the mind and emotions so into balance that the attention may be easily focused on the object of meditation, or the Lord directly.Generally, life force is directed to move up and down the spine until it is balanced and the mind and emotions are serenely content. Then awareness is generally directed to move forward into a point in the center of the lower forehead. This meditation point, which is about half an inch above where the eyebrows meet, is called ajna, or the third eye.When the energy is balanced throughout the brain and body and easily moving forward in the area of the third eye, your mind becomes very calm. While your mind is not passive, it is free of meaningless thoughts, worries, and the bric-a-brac of the subconscious mind. This state usually gives you a very pleasant sense of well being and your mind seems filled with a velvety darkness
And then the light in your forehead blazes brighter than the sun! But, you find it is soothing to look into the awesome light, soothing to behold it. This is the brilliance of your inner light, your essence, revealing itself to you.Raja yoga, particularly, requires a teacher because it is easy to strain yourself, and it’s also easy to delude yourself into high level hallucinations rather than actual experiences of your higher consciousness.However, the genuine raja yogi lives in bliss, with his, or her, will surrendered to God. A raja yogi realizes the profound truth of the Biblical passage: If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be filled with light.
Mantras (or mantrams) are words, phrases, or syllables which are
chanted thoughtfully and
with growing attention
Mantra yoga meditation involves chanting a word or phrase until the mind and emotions are transcended and the superconscious is clearly revealed and experienced.Since the mind wanders so much, the music of a mantra easily rescues the mind and brings it back to the object of one’s meditation.Both the rhythm of it and the meaning of it combine to guide the mind safely back to the point of meditation — the higher consciousness or the specific spiritual focus.A Background on Mantrams
Typical mantrams are: Aum, meaning Spirit, the Word of God, which creates, preserves, and transforms; or the Tibetan Buddhist mantram
Aum Mani Padme Hum
which usually is translated as "Om the jewel is in the Lotus Hum;" or the Hindu mantram
Asato Ma Sat Gamayo
which means "Lead me from the unreal to the Real
There are thousands of
mantrams which are mainly from the ancient Sanskrit language.
Possibly, in time, mantrams will be in English as well as Sanskrit.
What such a development would require is a number of great
meditators of modern day to be so attuned to the Lord and so at ease
within the realms of higher consciousness that these new mantrams
can easily be revealed to them.Mantram
At this point of effortless mental chanting the mantram can do two things:
Through Mantra Yoga
In order to be sure a mantram is right for you, seek a mantram only from a Guru or Master who is qualified to teach and initiate you.
While you need a teacher to help you learn any form of meditation well, you particularly need the aid of a teacher to learn laya yoga meditation. There are five main energy centers in your spine and two in your head. The laya yoga meditator knows exactly how to locate these centers through the kind training of a teacher. When these centers are found, they function very much like doorways to different realms of higher consciousness.Through laya yoga meditation, for example, you sense the heart center which is located inside the spine, directly back of the heart. From this point you can expand your awareness and enter into a realm of great, sky blue light (sometimes other colors as well) and discover how easily and readily you can love. Through laya yoga meditation in the heart center you overcome selfishness and self-centeredness. You become able to deal with your fears and worries because of the tremendous strength and insight you gain from the "heart expansion."Laya Yoga Centers
The five centers correspond roughly to the main areas of the spine.
One is located in the area of the tailbone. The second center is in the area of the sacrum. The third is located in the spinal cord, back of the navel. Then the heart center, which we have mentioned. The throat center is found inside the spine at the base of the neck, directly back of your collar button.
The first head center is the point
half an inch above where your eyebrows meet in your forehead —
it’s called the third eye. The second head center is at the crown
of your head. Technically, this area is not a center at all, but is
considered the main source of spiritual light and energy which is
expressed throughout the body.
On the other hand, most people live on only three levels of consciousness — the material, sensual, and egoic — without ever opening the seven centers which bring higher consciousness. Laya yoga, with a qualified teacher, is an extremely worthwhile endeavor.
The word tantra literally means "expansion." A tantra yogi concentrates on expanding all levels of his or her consciousness to unveil and realize the Supreme Reality. Tantra focuses on the dynamic aspect of divinity called Shakti, or "the Cosmic Mother
The tantric devotee strives to attune with the spiritual dynamic energy in order to transform personal limitations and release subconscious blockages
True tantra yoga is a pure path, but it has been abused by some self-proclaimed adherents. Tantra yoga is not concerned with sexuality, but with the creative force and transmuting this energy into higher channels. Sometimes self-styled teachers have misconstrued the symbolism of tantra yoga into sex practices for men and women.
Rather, the goal of tantra yoga is to awaken and harmonize the male and female aspects within each person in order to spiritually awaken and realize the whole universe as an expression of the Cosmic Mother, the divine life force, or Spirit.Tantra Yoga Meditation
Tantra yoga meditation is often practiced this way: A tantra devotee sits calmly and purifies mind and heart of wayward thoughts and desires. The devotee then senses the life force within his or her being and gradually, through imagination and feeling, directs the life force to rise up the spine, from the tailbone into the neck and then into the forehead.
When considerable life force is gathered in the forehead, the tantra yogi, through practice, directs that the life force move out from the forehead and form a body of light and energy three to six feet before him or her. The body of light in front of the devotee is encouraged to become dense and expand until it is as large as a human form.
The tantric yogi then directs love
and devotion toward the dynamic body of light which is a profound
representation of his or her soul and essence. Usually, after
fifteen to thirty minutes of this meditation, the yogi invites the
light and energy to slowly return into his forehead and down through
the body to the base of the spine.
Hatha yoga, in the twentieth century, is mainly practiced for health and vitality.
It’s a marvelous means of exercising, stretching, and freeing the body so it can be a healthy, long-lived, and vital instrument of the mind and soul. In addition, hatha yogis can become extremely clear-minded and can concentrate well. However, a few yogis do practice hatha yoga as their main method for spiritual realization. Their clear minds and pure, healthy bodies enable them to meditate easilyHatha Yoga Balance
Normally the hatha yogi
with the calm mind focuses awareness at the ajna center half an inch
above where the eyebrows join and directs awareness to move through
that center into a super-conscious state. The individual life, the
finite life, meets and fuses temporarily, at first, with the
Kundalini yoga is
sometimes considered a distinct yoga although it generally involves
a combination of:raja,hatha,tantra,laya and mantra yogas
Classically, kriya yoga is a blend of raja, jnana, and bhakti practices. The word kriya means "to do, to make an effort," or "to transform."
One of the main ways that kriya is practiced is a daily program of self-discipline of mind and body, introspection, and devotion to God.Another way that kriya yoga is practiced in the world today is in directing life force to move up and down the spine, transforming the meditator’s state of being until spiritual realization occurs. This technique is usually conveyed privately through initiation from a Guru or longtime practitioner of this method
Both forms of kriya are deeply related and very ancient — well over five thousand years old and probably much older. Several million people practice both forms of kriya yoga throughout the world today.