Introduction to Yoga


What is Yoga?
Yoga is a spiritual and ascetic discipline, which includes breath control, simple meditation and the practice of specific bodily postures that can confer spiritual upliftment, mental relaxation and health benefits. These practices aim to help the practitioner gain better control over his / her mind and body. With proper control of the mind and body, practitioners will experience oneness with the inner Being. The practitioner then experiences the state of bliss.

As stated in Patanjali Yoga, "Yoga is the complete control of the operation of the mind".


There are four main pathways of Yoga practice namely:
1) Karma Yoga - (Action)
2) Bhakti Yoga - (Devotion)
3) Jnana Yoga - (Wisdom)
4) Dhyana Yoga - (Meditation)

All paths ultimately lead the practitioner to the same destination - the union with the Self. This is only possible when the duality of the mind has been dissolved.


Karma Yoga
The Master says that there is nothing in this Universe that is void of action. Our very existence is in fact, based on action. People have the misconception that action is only limited to the activities of the body. The Master however clarifies that the term "karma" also applies to mental action. Our thought processes are also an action that will influence the rest of the activities in the Universe. It is therefore important that practitioners maintain pure and lovely thoughts, which will in turn influence the body to carry out purposeful actions that help not only oneself, but other beings as well.


Bhakti Yoga
Bhakti Yoga is the practice of attaining Self-realisation through devotion. The Master teaches that devotion to the Supreme Being is the faith one has in the Self. Many who tread on this path practice Bhakti Yoga through prayers, worship and rituals.


Jnana Yoga
Jnana is spiritual wisdom. It is through perfecting Jnana Yoga that the practitioner is freed from ignorance. Not only must the practitioner read and understand the spiritual literature, he/she must also put what he/she has learnt into practice. Knowing that the world is just an illusion of the mind, one will not be buoyed by his/her circumstances. With constant practice, the aspirant will one day be able to master his/her mind and will therefore be known as a "Jnani" (the Self-realised soul).


Dhyana Yoga
The practice of Dhyana Yoga is meditation. According to the Master, Dhyana is nothing but the experience of the state of Being. To practice Dhyana is to turn within. The practitioner shuts off the activities of the senses that deludes him/her from the Being he/she really is - God.

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