EIGHT STEPS TO YOGA
- 1. YAMA
- 2. NIYAMA
- 3. ASANA
- 4. PRANAYAMA
- 5. PRATYAHARA
- 6. DHARANA
- 7. DYHANA
- 8. SAMADHI
YAMA means RESTRAINTS
a. Ahimsa – Non-violence or Non-injury. You should not hurt others by thoughts, word or deed.
b. Satya – Truthfulness. Do not tell lies. Maintain your promises.
c. Asteya – Non-stealing
d. Kshama – Patience
e. Arjava – Honesty honesty is the best policy
f. Daya – Compassion
NIYAMA means PRACTICES
a. Contentment you should always be happy.
b. Charity donate to poor and help sick.
c. Cleanliness purification of the body and mind.
d. Austerity the practice of controlling the body and the mind.
e. Recitation the study of religious books and scriptures for spiritual development and chanting of holy words and mantras.
YAMA and NIYAMA are foundation of RAJA YOGA. Daily practise Yama and Niyama.
ASANA means POSTURE
You should choose a suitable comfortable posture for your concentration and meditation. Posture makes your body steady and comfortable for long hours of meditation.
There are PADMASANA, SIDDHASANA and SUKHASANA.
PRANAYAMA means breath control. It consists of three stages namely exhalation, inhalation and retention of breath.
The exhalation is called Resahak.
The inhalation is called Puraka.
The retention is called Kumbaka.
When the breath is controlled, mind is under control and thoughts or images could not rise in the mind. The mind becomes calm and pure and body is relaxed. So by controlling the breath a person experiences both mental tranquility and physical relaxation.
PRATYAHARA can be defined as the withdrawal of the sense organs from the external objects and divert them towards the object of concentration and meditation.
DHARANA means concentration. One concentration is said to be performed when a person can concentrate on any object with closed eyes in the region of TRUKUTI or with open eyes in a comfortable posture for twelve seconds.
The continuation of twelve concentrations or twelve Dharanas on any object or on the appearance of your Deity or Guru with closed eyes in Trukuti is called Dhyana or MEDITATION. You chant mantras while meditating. Twelve concentrations equal 144 seconds. (2 minutes and 24 seconds).
There are two types of meditation :
a. SUGUNA Meditation Meditation on god or Goddess or Guru with form.
b. NIRGUNA Meditation Meditation without any form.
Meditation acts a bridge to establish a connection between the individual soul (Jivatma) and the supreme soul (Paramathma). MEDITATION derived from the latin word “Meditari” which means ” to heal”. Meditation means act of healing. Meditation is the flow of continuous thought on one idea to get one pointedness of mind
Concentration, Meditation and Samadhi are Internal Sadhanas
OBSTACLES TO MEDITATION
Physical And Mental Illness
SINGING DEVOTIONAL SONGS / CHANTING MANTRAS DURING MEDITATION
There are three types of singing of holy songs or chanting of mantras (repetition of mantras) namely VERBAL, SEMI-VERBAL and MENTAL.
Verbal – Singing of songs or repetition of mantras several times so that other devotees and disciples can hear is called Verbal.
Semi Verbal – In this type, others cannot hear what you are singing or chanting. Movements of lips are seen.
Mental – Close the eyes and fix the mind at Trikuti (Trikuti is the space or point between the two eyebrows). Gazing at Trikuti is called Bhrumadhya Drishti. Then sing devotional songs or repeat mantras several times mentally is called Mental.This is the best type.
A Raja Yogi practises the following daily in the morning and evening. A Raja Yogi slowly ascends the yogic ladder along the eight steps namely Yama., Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara,Dharana, Dhyana or Meditation and finally Samadhi. He purifies himself by the practice of Yama and Niyama. He practises Pranayama to purify his nadis (Nadi purification) and mind and Pratyahara, Dharana and Dhyana. Finally he attains Samadhi.
SAMADHI is superconscious state of tranquility whereby the “1” consciousness is merged in supreme consciousness and divine light is illuminated. It is difficult to express in words the experiences in samadhi. Twelve Dhyana or meditation is called one Samadhi.
When the deepest concentration on the supreme being disappears by itself within, there arises Nirvikalpa Samadhi in which all latent impressions of feelings are eliminated.
i. The pulse and heartbeat are slopped.
ii. Breathing is arrested.
iii. The body will be warm.
iv. All the five senses are under control.
v. No imaginations or thoughts waves arising from the mind.