What Should Everyone Know About Yoga? – Ashtanga Yoga
After years of meditation practices, some people condemn that they couldn’t find any significant progress in it. They confess that they couldn’t experience any greater benefits as noted in the popular author’s texts.
When people say such things, I remember those words of Swami Vivekananda
“The Yama and Niyama, as we see, are moral trainings; without these as the basis no practice of Yoga will succeed. As these two become established, the Yogi will begin to realize the fruits of his practice; without these it will never bear fruit. A Yogi must not think of injuring anyone, by thought, word, or deed. Mercy shall not be for men alone, but shall go beyond, and embrace the whole world.”
It becomes obvious that these people fail to consider a few of the principles of Ashtanga yoga. It’s the real cause for their hindrance.
Nowadays, we can see many people expertizing in an element of yoga – ‘asana’ and jump to the mind control techniques without aware of the principles of yama and niyamas. Their effort doesn’t pay off.
There won’t be any progress in their practices because yoga is inseparable from all these elements. It’s incomplete without any of its limbs.
Yoga is really a step-by-step process and success in mastering the mind is seriously considering all the stages. The time taken in mastering depends upon one’s maturity of mind.
There are few centers in the world initiating the aspirants to the advanced levels of yoga. The aspirants were introduced to Shaktipat Diksha without teaching them the basic principles of yoga philosophy.
Literally, such practices are ineffective. It’s effective only for the deserved ones.
I have been in advanced yoga practices for more than 13 years. There were few people initiated at that time. After these many years, there are no considerable changes in their life.
Few more have initiated before and after and still many are on this path. Yet, majorities are in the baseline. One thing I can guarantee that those who took it seriously had a healthy mind and body better than the common people.
There are a couple of physical and mental benefits. Yet they are incapable of going beyond a particular stage.
As Osho said, “Spiritual development takes its own time.”
It’s indeed depending upon one’s maturity of mind. Everything begins with the mind and ends in the mind.
In ancient days, such advanced techniques were taught only for those who are efficient or when they acquire a certain level of maturity of mind. No doubt, their practices reach their fruition.
What is Yoga Really?
Classical yoga what we call ashtanga yoga shows the real nature of yoga. It’s the science of leading life with totality.
Our life is a constraint. We are having lots of restrictions in life. We are doing our duties helplessly. We have been meant to do such and such things in life.
Our life moves through the unending miseries and happiness; pain and pleasure denoting the influence of unknown force behind every step. Here, you have no control. Thus, makes the sense of less freedom. The ultimate aim of yoga practice is to ensure complete freedom.
To achieve this, the mind has to be controlled. The mind doesn’t settle down easily. The techniques mentioned in yoga are to ease mind control.
It’s not the virtue of the moral conduct of life. Yet, it’s the psychological nature of the mind to settle down only when a person upholds such attitudes and behaviors in his life.
These 8 limbs of Ashtanga yoga are the general principles that are mandatory for success in yoga even if the aspirant chooses different techniques according to their choice.
It is the principle of cultivating good conduct in life such as non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, energy moderation, and non-possessiveness.
It is observance and maintenance of such good conduct through practical steps such as purity, contentment, right effort, self-study, and dedication to the highest.
The role of asana is to strengthen the body. Only the body that can sustain the flow of spiritual energy is fit for yoga.
According to the yoga texts, there are 84 main yoga postures that make the person fit despite body type. Of these sukasana, padmasana, bhadrasana, and simhasana are the most important four asanas.
Later, Siddha plays a prominent role where the other asanas are the aid for the beginners. It is not obligatory to master all the hard and flexible yoga possess. Such possess are to overcome particular body ailments.
It is a simple yet complicated technique. It involves only three significant steps exhalation, inhalation, and retention.
In one method the time-frequency of inhalation and exhalation is equal and retention is twice that.
In another method, the time-frequency of inhalation is twice that of exhalation and retention is twice that of inhalation. It is in the ratio of 1:2:4, a powerful method.
The principles of pranayama are not philosophy. It is a valid science. It says that the mind is an aspect of prana; it’s interconnected. The secret key to unleashing the power of the mind is possible through the concise practice of breathing techniques.
When prana has balanced – The mind gets controlled, or vice versa. Kundalini’s awakening takes place in this state. (Read also After Kundalini Awakening, What Happens)
The partial kundalini awakening by means of shaktipat doesn’t mean that the mind is under control. For them, it’s possible for the mind to regulate the prana energy.
It is indeed possible to control prana using the mind yet difficult for some people. The other is the viable option that suits anyone.
The aspirant has to practice it daily, slowly and gradually without hurting them.
When one reaches this state it is easy to regulate the mind flowing towards the external objects. This state of mind is suitable for meditation.
Now, if you recite any mantra you can perceive its power. Here, you can realize the tantric power.
This is the state where you can direct the mind towards anything.
It is the method of focusing the mind in the locus for meditation. The yoga texts say of focusing on Sahasrara or heart in the latter stage. Focusing on other various chakras such as the third eye is for beginners.
Meditate with the ‘I am He’ thought, which is the flame within your heart. This will end in I-I thought. (Read also 5 States of Mind and Concentration in Pathanjali Yoga)
Eventually, I-I thought itself dissolves in the self. This is the state of eternal bliss. The state where there is no turn back to the subjective state of mind, the state of constant meditation on the self. This is the state we can see in the prominent gurus such as Ramana Maharishi, Ramakrishna, etc.
This is the all-knowing superconscious state, the consciousness that transcends the limits of body and mind.
The yoga texts state that the meditation on the self is superior to any other form of meditation. So, try to train your mind to meditate on the self.