Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Paths of Yoga by Andrea Tteja (Part I)


Andrea Tteja - www.infin8space.com
Ashtanga Yinyasa is the system of Yoga taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, India. This method involves synchronizing the breath with progressive series of postures—a process producing intense internal heat and a profuse, purifying sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs. The result is improved circulation, a light and strong body, and a calm mind.

The Bihar School of Yoga (Satyananda) was founded in 1964 by Paramahamsa Satyananda to impart yogic training to householders and sannyasins. The Yoga techniques are a synthesis of many approaches to personal development, based on traditional Vedantic, tantric and yogic teachings in conjunction with contemporary physical and mental health sciences. These techniques are taught by Bihar Yoga Bharati and through health management courses held in the old BSY Ashram. Bihar School of Yoga also guides Yoga projects and medical research in association with prestigious hospitals, organizations and establishments. Programs made by Bihar School of Yoga are used in the education and prison Government sectors, in hospitals, by the Defence Services, private and public sector industries such as Indian Oil Corporation, Coal India Limited, National Thermal Power Corporation, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, the Steel Authority of India, Hindustan Paper Corporation, Hindustan Copper Corporation, etc.


Dru Yoga: Based upon soft, flowing movements, controlled breathing and visualisation, it is both a graceful and potent form of stress relief. With its foundations set firmly in ancient yogic tradition, Dru Yoga is a style that has been passed down by generations. It works on both the body and the mind, rejuvenating the soul, strengthening core stability and building a heightened feeling of positively and empowerment. At its heart however, the aims of Dru Yoga remain simple; to help relieve the enormous stresses and pressures of modern-day living. And this simplicity is why we continue to believe in it so strongly.
Iyengar Yoga The use of props, designed by guruji, such as wooden gadgets, belts and ropes helps the practitioner achieve perfection in any posture.

Kripalu Yoga: Originally developed through the teachings of Amrit Desai, who was a student of Swami Kripalvanandaji (Swami Kripalu). Swami Kripalu was a highly respected Kundalini yoga master from the Gujarat province of India who had experienced spontaneous pranic (energetic) movement as a result of prolonged deep meditation. He later discovered that the spontaneous physical movements he experienced were actually classical Hatha yoga postures. Through his studies and personal experience, Swami Kripalu came to believe that asana, pranayama, and mudras (hand gestures) must be done in the context of classical raja yoga (as presented in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras), in order to still the mind.
Kripalu Yoga developed from one of the American ashram experiments of the 1960s, when Eastern spirituality was spreading to the West and the enticing promise of enlightenment drew young idealists and seekers to Indian gurus and masters. More than 40 years later, while the Kripalu ashram and the guru no longer exist, Kripalu Yoga continues to thrive as a practical, accessible, and contemporary approach to yoga.
Like most yoga styles and traditions, Kripalu Yoga uses classic asanas (though not a particular set or routine), pranayama (breathwork), development of a quiet mind, and the practice of relaxation. What defines Kripalu Yoga is its emphasis: following the flow of prana (life-force energy), practicing compassionate self-acceptance, developing witness consciousness (observing the activity of the mind without judgment), and taking what is learned “off the mat” and into daily life. “Kripalu Yoga teachers are trained to recognize that we are multidimensional beings, not just physical, and that creativity and spirituality are intricately linked.”

Sivananda Yoga: In an effort to simplify and clarify the complex philosophies and teachings of Yoga, Swami Vishnu-devananda summarized the wisdom of Yoga in 5 principles. These principles show the way to developing physical and mental health as well as spiritual growth. These 5 points or principles are:
Proper Exercise (Asanas)
Proper Breathing (Pranayama)
Proper Relaxation (Savasana)
Proper Diet (vegetarian)
Positive Thinking (Vedanta) and Meditation (Dhyana)
Traditionally, Yogis practice Surya Namaskar, the sun salutation, before the Asanas. Although there are many Asanas (8,400,000 according to the scriptures) the practice of the 12 basic postures brings out the essence and all major benefits of this wonderful system. These 12 Basic Postures are:
Headstand (Sirshasana)
Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana)
Plough (Halasana)
Fish (Matsyasana)
Forward bend (Paschimothanasana)
Cobra (Bhujangasana)
Locust (Shalabhasana)
Bow (Dhanurasana)
Spinal twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Crow pose (Kakasana) or Peacock pose (Mayurasana)
Standing forward bend (Pada Hasthasana)
Triangle (Trikonasana)
At the end of the session one must do a deeper, final relaxation.

Viniyoga is not so much a name of a yoga, rather a methodology for developing personal practice, using asana, pranayama, meditation and chanting. Viniyoga respects the fact that as we grow, the methods we use in yoga must be modified and the very purpose of our practice changed. As children, our practice should support balanced growth and development of body and mind. As adults, our practice should protect health and promote the ability to be productive in the world. As seniors, our practice should help us maintain health and inspire the deeper quest for self-realization.T.K.V. Desikachar, and his father and teacher, T. Krishnamacharya, taught to respect totally each individual's physical, emotional and mental conditions and that we all have to work from where we are. The word Viniyoga suggests the ability to recognize these differences and to adapt the proper methods to each individual. Towards this end Krishnamacharya developed unique ways of working with breath, movement, sound, ritual and meditation. He taught principles through which these practices can be adapted and combined in different ways to address changing conditions on all levels of our body and mind. He brought clarity to the use of our body, breath, speech and mind through yoga to bring us into contact with our higher potentials. The Viniyoga lineage of Krishnamacharya is just becoming known in the West and these training programs are designed to bring forth more of this special teaching.

Types of Yoga

Nada Inner Sound
Kriya Ritual, Pranayama, Meditation
Bhakti Devotion
Karma Service
Jnana Wisdom/knowledge
Hatha Yoga of body
Tantra Sexual polarity
Kundalini Latent spiritual awareness
Raja Mind
Mantra Sound
Yantra Vision
Swara Nasal breathing

Hatha: The Physical Path to Yoga. Hatha yoga is mostly yoga that prepares the body for the spiritual path via physical and breathing exercises, and asceticism. Hatha yoga is the most superficial component of yoga, the one that is preoccupied merely with the means to the means. It prepares and conditions the body so that the mind can practice meditation more or less without obstacles.
Raja: The Meditative Path to Yoga. Compiled by the Sage Patanjali Maharishi in the Yoga Sutras, the Eight Limbs are a progressive series of steps or disciplines which purify the body and mind, ultimately leading the yogi to enlightenment. These 8 limbs are:
Yama Self control
Niyama Observance of duty
Asana Posture
Pranayama Breath control
Pratyahara Inhibition or withdrawal of senses
Dharana Concentration
Dhayana Meditation
Samhadi Absorption in the spirit



Yamas - The Yamas or restraints (Don'ts) are divided into five moral injuctions, aimed at destroying the lower nature. They should all be practiced and developed by the letter but also more importantly in the spirit. They should all be practiced in word, thought and deed.
Ahimsa or non-violence
Satyam or truthfulness
Brahmacharya or moderation in all things (control of all senses). Also refers to celibacy
Asteya or non-stealing
Aparigraha or non-covetousness
Niyamas - The Niyamas or observances (Do's) are also divided into five and complete the ethical precepts started with the Yama.. These qualities are:
Saucha or purity - this internal and external cleanliness.
Santosha or contentment
Tapas or austerity
Swadhyaya or study of the sacred texts
Ishwara Pranidhana which is constantly living with an awareness of the divine Presence (surrender to God's Will)
Asanas - Postures
Pranayama - regulation or control of the breath. Asanas and Pranayama form the sub-division of Raja Yoga known as Hatha-Yoga
Pratyahara - withdrawal of the senses in order to still the mind.
Dharana - concentration. The last 3 steps constitute the internal practice of Raja Yoga. When Dharana is achieved, it leads to the next step: Dhyana leads to the last step:
Samadhi - the super conscious state. In Samadhi non-duality or oneness is experienced. This is the deepest and highest state of consciousness where body and mind have been transcended and the Yogi is one with the Self or God.
Dhyana leads to the last step: Samadhi - the super conscious state. In Samadhi non-duality or oneness is experienced. This is the deepest and highest state of consciousness where body and mind have been transcended and the Yogi is one with the Self or God. Dhyana - meditation is that state of pure thought and absorption in the object of meditation. There is still duality in Dhyana. When mastered Dhyana leads to the last step: Samadhi - the super conscious state. In Samadhi non-duality or oneness is experienced. This is the deepest and highest state of consciousness where body and mind have been transcended and the Yogi is one with the Self or God.

Bhakti: The Devotional Path to Yoga. This path appeals particularly to those of an emotional nature. The Bhakti Yogi is motivated chiefly by the power of love and sees God as the embodiment of love. Through prayer, worship and ritual he surrenders himself to God, channeling and transmuting his emotions into unconditional love or devotion. Chanting or singing the praises of God form a substantial part of Bhakti Yoga.


Study and author: Andrea Tteja - Please go to Part II

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