The Paths of Yoga - Unity in Diversity

By Filomena Aversa

Yogic philosophy

Photo below left © : Filomena Aversa practiscing at Uluru

The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word 'yuj' meaning to yoke, join or unite.

It is a philosophical science of self - realization and transformation, independently guiding one into recognizing his fullest potential and purpose in life (Essence of spirit).

yoga on the rock

The origin of yoga pre-dates Indian Hindu and Buddhist religions and in that context, Yoga is not a religion.

In Yogic philosophy we have three bodies; the Physical, Subtle (astral) and Causal (spirit), which is the path to the integration of self or "self realization".

By acknowledging and integrating the individual aspects of ourselves from the physical, mental and emotional we can achieve a contented, balanced and above all useful life.

Traditionally the knowledge of yoga (investigation into the nature of the inner and outer realities of existence) was handed down orally from teacher (guru) to student.

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Six main Indian systems (Darshanas)

There are however, six main Indian philosophical systems (Darshanas) or classical points of view that integrate ordinary perception with experiencing the essence or spirit of life's values.

The six systems are:

Byron beach looking north

It was on Sri Patanjali Maharishi's "Yoga Sutras", that Yoga today has laid its foundation.  An integrated and concise text based on the above philosophical systems, it was written over 2000 years ago.

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Yoga System of Patanjali ~ Ashtanga Yoga

The Vedanta (non-dualistic) system and Sankhya (*dualistic) system, are especially linked with the Yoga System of Patanjali.

Known as Patanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga is still one of the timeless and most effective classical yoga texts to expound the obstacles to inner freedom, ignorance, false perception and why we suffer.

Through the "eight limbs" one can attain the goal of perfection, and expand the knowledge of ones microcosmic connection to the wisdom of the greater macrocosmic matrix of life.

Thus the unfoldment of the various paths of yoga came about.

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Paths of Yoga

Path to Akasha

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Chakras

The spiral junctions of Ida & Pingala Nadis form concentrated vortices of energy called chakras. It is through the devotional mind that relinquishment of ego and purification takes place within each chakra.

This ultimately awakens the coiled serpent, Kundalini at the base of the spine, to move through Shushmna Nadi and thus merges the creative Shakti life force with Shiva (divine godhead)Tallow Beach Byron Bay.

Karma Yoga - A discipline in the understanding of ones character through performing actions, not determined by expectations, unselfishly for the welfare of others and the fulfilment of Dharma (lifes purpose).

Laya Yoga - a system of experiential state of absorbtion based on the Kundalini Kriya Yoga.

Raja Yoga - strives for the divine within through mind control, and is linked with Patanjalis Eight limbs of Yoga, and embodies the spirit of an integral yoga system.

Yoga Chikitsa - highly specialised science in yoga therapy.

Through these Traditional branches and systems of yoga, new modern day branches have creatively diversified to hand down the wisdom and lineage of the guru through their own personal experience of practice (sadhana).

In this way Yoga becomes an ongoing spontaneous experience of life, traditionally evolving but not fixed.

Today some of the popular schools of Yoga - Iyengar, Ashtanga, Satyananda, Integral and Shadow, derive their teachings from these branches and in keeping with tradition, contribute to the greater good of society.

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References and Readings

*Dualism: The doctrine that reality consists of two basic opposing elements, often taken to be mind and matter (or mind and body), or good and evil.

 

The Five Koshas - Pancha Kosha

Excerpt ...

Doorway to the interior

"In Yoga philosophy the Five Koshas are defined as energy sheaths which function at different levels of vibration and frequency according to the vitality and awareness of our body, mind and spirit.

The sheaths have also been coined as ‘shadows’ and until perceived by oneself the light of intelligence remains hidden from our consciousness."

Read the full article by Filomena, "The Web of Body, Mind and Spirit - The Five Koshas - Pancha Kosha - (Five Sheaths of Energy)", here - 90kb PDF will open in a new window.

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