When we consider the ancient spiritual science of Yoga, the science of uniting (yoga is a verb) we learn the process of being without expectations nor attachments through applying the eight departments of this ancient science. It is the intention behind one’s actions that determine the success of meditation, the ability to bend forward or stretch up high.
This is why the intentions behind actions are so important in the practice of Yoga. It is the intention that unites, not the actions nor the abilities.
Most are unable to dive deep enough into meditation because of the immense noise of a busy mind and a very confused mental process.
Following, are the eight branches of Yoga traditionally followed for effective, long-lasting transformation and a blessed moment of meditation.
1. Purification (Yamas)
2. Spiritual teachings (Niyamas)
3. Asanas (Hatha Postures)
4. Pranayama (Breath)
5. Ego and Desires (Control of the senses ~ Pratyahara)
8. Samadhi ~ a state of constant bliss
Much emphasis is placed upon the practice of meditation without any of the other branches put into practice. Learning to breathe, learning how to stretch properly and learning how to eat correctly are paramount in connection with deep meditation. One must also experience the intention behind all the practices to effectively transform the mind, the body and develop the practice of uniting with spirit. Once one can see that intention is creating the ease, it suddenly learns how to master the emotions and still the mind. Intention with practice of all eight departments of yoga is the transformational portal.
Let’s review each of the steps of yoga from a casual perspective.
Purification is used when we need rest and must take time to nurture our body to heal. Purification practices such as fasting, moments of silence, nutritional supplement programs, massage, spinal adjustments, etc are all expressions of purification. Many practice this branch of Yoga without realizing they are participating in an ancient, spiritual, transformational process.
Spiritual teachings include things such as astrology, a spiritual guru, an author that has appeal, music, poetry, I Ching, feng shui, etc. Spiritual teachings at this level are thought streams from spiritual masters that bring an expansion to one’s mind.
Asanas are the postures that most people refer to as “yoga”. The postures are one small part of the practice of Yoga, as you can see. Asana’s have a powerful connection to the seven chakras in the physical body system that directly correlate to the seven major glands, hence, the importance of stretching in certain ways. Through a daily practice of stretching the glands, vital juices are secreted into the blood system increasing vitality and strengthening the immune system, an important component to the process of greater awareness.
Pranayama is the art of breathing. You can tell a lot about a person in the way that they breathe. If one is anxious, fearful, or greedy, then the breathing is shallow and high in the chest. Short breaths with deep sighs are indications of sadness or depression. In Pranayama, one is taught the method of controlling breath. If one has control over their breath, then they have control over their thoughts, their emotional nature and ultimately, their reality. There is a big impact on the entire being when one learns to breath naturally, automatically, deeply and slowly, consciously.
Pratyahara is the key for working with the ego and desires, which are the demons, nightmares and karma. Most of humanity lives attached to their moods, their desires, their preferences, their attachments to people, judgments, jealousy, victimhood, competition, comparing and challenges with low self-esteem all perceived through the senses, distorted by blocked emotions. It takes a long time to work through this branch of yoga. It helps if you have a guru and continuously practice completion.
Concentration requires one to completely come to the present moment. It is the ability to sit with a calm mind and feel completely peaceful inside. At this stage, one is detached from all outward motivations, such as desire, greed, fear and lust. This space of awareness goes beyond time and space. Life flows effortlessly and magically from this place of quiet concentration as it leads the way, clearly and confidently with magical serendipity.
Meditation arrives as we have learn to release control and surrender to a higher, Divine force while continuously practicing the art of completion.
Bliss / Ecstasy / Samadhi is an equanimous state in how one relates slightly colored with a quality of bliss.
Ahhhhhh, the golden path of Yoga.
There is nothing more powerful than the spiritual teachings of Yoga.