The Yoga Path

Discussion in 'Yoga' started by Krisha Mitra Das, Nov 21, 2020.

  1. Krisha Mitra Das

    Krisha Mitra Das Ethical Vegan Yogini

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    I like to start off by saying the Yoga path is a philosophy. Yoga means union in Sanskrit, specifically a path of deeper union with the Divine/God.

    Yoga has been popularized as just poses, stretches or exercises; it's much more deep and complex, although the poses, called Asanas, are a very important part of Yoga. The Asanas usually accompanies Pranayama (breathing exercises). Both Asanas and Pranayama are in a category of Yoga called Hatha Yoga.

    The main reason for the Asanas is to get equipped and healthy mentally and physically for one's journey to the summit of whatever other Yoga one is doing. The Asana poses help the physical body to be able to be mentally healthy to endure the intensity of all the other Yogas in controlling of consciousness and mind, and reaching the higher psychic forces, called Siddhis, that doesn't happen in ordinary, everyday life. Once a person reach these heights--or to better phrase it--reach this closeness to God, they are known as Siddhas. Satgurus (not "gurus") are individuals who are Siddhas.

    But reaching that depth is extremely difficult. The deeply devout person who enters the path of Yoga with the goal of reaching its summits as just mentioned in the previous paragraph will give themselves up entirely to Yoga, give to Yoga all their time and all their energy, all their thoughts, feelings and motives. They must strive to harmonize themselves, to achieve an inner unity with the Divine....avoiding distractions, like strivings, moods, and desires, self-gratifications...Its focusing one's powers to serve one aim: Total union with God. Yoga demands all this, but Yoga also helps to attain it by showing the means by which it can be reached. Some of the ways are these four major types of Yoga in life to help a person along to reach the deepest union with God are:

    Bhakti Yoga: Worshiping the Divine--God--directly. One can worship God anywhere but most do this by going to their altar or anywhere and sit silently in meditation. Bhakti Yoga is the path of devotion, emotion, love, compassion, and service to God and others. All actions are done in the context of remembering the Divine, and seeing God in others. Also, chanting mantras is an essential part of Bhakti Yoga.

    Jnana Yoga: Studying God or studying oneself inward. It's a time of quiet reflection. Jnana Yoga is the path of knowledge, wisdom, introspection and contemplation. It involves deep exploration of the nature our being by systematically exploring and setting aside false identities. It's realizing who we really are, and only: Soul. Soul is the part of us that is God, similar to everyone being like a raindrop to eventually go back to union with God ("Ocean").

    Karma Yoga: The path of action, service to others, and remembering the levels of our being while fulfilling our actions in the world. It helps you to see yourself in others. When we help others, we are also serving God. Performing these actions are done selflessly--without thinking of success or reward of any kind (called Seva). It helps purify the heart and reduces the ego.

    Raja Yoga: The science of controlling body and mind. Raja Yoga is silent meditation, where bodily and mental energies are gradually transformed into spiritual, Godly energy. It directly deals with the encountering and transcending thoughts of the mind. Hatha Yoga is often included as part of Raja Yoga but many also see it as separate and complete.

    These four Yoga paths do not represent separate paths. Each path is closely related to the other.

    Related information:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siddhi

    https://us.humankinetics.com/blogs/excerpt/the-four-primary-types-of-yoga
     
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  2. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    So both Bhakti and Raja Yoga are silent meditation?

    Which path does the chanting belong to? Or is it part of all four?
     
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  3. Krisha Mitra Das

    Krisha Mitra Das Ethical Vegan Yogini

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    Most people who do those Yogas tend to do silent meditation or chanting (as well as the other things I mentioned), along with Jnana Yoga.

    Karma Yoga is the one most different from the rest, with less emphasis on meditation and chanting, as Karma is really about interacting with others in Seva service, seeing them as God--like Bhakti Yoga. Many people think of Bhakti as just going in a room by yourself, meditating...just you and God, but Bhakti is also about going out and seeing God in others and expressing that in deep love for them as if God was standing there.

    There's a story of a Yogi sage who when passing some prostitutes, bowed in great reverence because he didn't focus on their temporal, illusory human self, but he saw them as they really are--Soul--God in them.

    The Yogas all overlap into the others. It has been said that practicing Yoga in the deepest way, you will incorporate all the Yogas naturally.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
  4. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Meditation is obviously an important part of yoga practice. But meditation is not restricted to the Hindu yoga system? When people say 'yoga' they are often thinking of the Hindu yoga that includes the hatha yoga postures. However most other eastern religions and philosophies, including Buddhism, Sikhism and Taoism, also practice forms of 'chakra' meditation?
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
  5. Krisha Mitra Das

    Krisha Mitra Das Ethical Vegan Yogini

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    Yes, right. I don't know about chakra meditation. Doing chakras never worked for me. Even though Yoga is complex, I try to make it simple for me. In Yoga, if you just love--see others as God--that alone will allow one to get deep and close to God (although I do a lot more in Yoga actions than just love). Loving those who hate and despise you, as Jesus would say. Not loving their actions, but loving who they really are: Soul. As Yogis would call, Atman.
     
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  6. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Perhaps not chakra meditation specifically -- channelling life energy upwards along the spine -- but they all practice some form of meditation?
     
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  7. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    The Yoga stretches and postures I do in my Yoga class are certainly doing my body a lot of good. My instructor studied in India, now I'm interested, where and with whom.
     
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  8. Miken

    Miken Active Member

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    Not actually yoga but perhaps a second or third cousin, in the long ago I did shikantaza zazen. Being in a very bad place at the time, it was recommended to me to try zen meditation. Shikantaza was the only kind I was physically capable of, part of why I was in a bad place.

    Someplace along the line, I noticed - realized is not the right word, no sudden flash of light, more like remembering something I always knew. Anyway I gradually noticed that I was simply who I was and that the world was full of people who were who they were, all the same in that way but all different in being themselves, and that the world in which we are is real. It, we, are not one because that denies the diverse richness, but not many either because that implies separateness. Both and neither. It does not matter which because 'Which?' is the wrong question. What matters is that this boat we are in is real and that we are all in the same boat. These are the things I noticed

    Did this come from the meditation? Or the many things I was reading? Or maybe a Martian zapped my brain? :) Or ... Who knows, who cares? Before I was in a bad place. After, not so bad. It is not all about me after all. (He says as he types a post all about him.)

    Why did I think of this? :shrug: Been thinking of lots of things and the arthritic fingers need exercise. :D Just consider it a butterfly that fluttered by.


    OK go back to yoga, everyone
     
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  9. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Lol.

    "If a man talks alone in a forest and his wife doesn't hear him, is he still wrong?"*

    But that's the thing: what is yoga and what isn't? All eastern religions and philosophies have meditation at the centre of their practice?

    Edit:
    *Zen koan: If a tree falls in a forest and nobody ever sees it, did it really fall?
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020
  10. Miken

    Miken Active Member

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    There are different paths to truth but it is the same truth. The path Krisha is preseniting is Yoga and this is her thread and I never meant to divert from that. What is Yoga? Ask Krisha although she is doing a good job of answering that already.

    As to your other question: Don't wives hear eveything?

    As to your other other question
    Edit:
    *Zen koan: If a tree falls in a forest and nobody ever sees it, did it really fall?

    WHAM!!!

    But back to Yoga please
     
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  11. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Oh no I don't think that's implied at all. Perhaps to rephrase it: what differentiates 'yoga' from other eastern meditation religions, all having meditation at the centre of the religion and practice?
     
  12. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Yes
     
  13. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    I met the great hatha yogi BKS Iyengar once. We interviewed him in Cape Town for Odyssey Magazine in the late 70s or early 80's. He was amazingly strong and physically healthy. He was the absolute master of hatha yoga.

    One of our writers, Simone, had her own yoga school in Cape Town. Iyengar agreed to come around and have a look at what she was doing, and he ended up making her cry; he was scathing towards her: "You call yourself a teacher, and you are showing people this? "
     
  14. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    FWIW, one of today's schools of Buddhism had intensive philosophical exchange with Yogic schools about a millennium ago. It's even called 'Yogacara'. It provides much of the philosophical underpinning of Mahayana Buddhism, including Zen. In that sense, your Zazen was indeed related to Yogic practice, @Miken

    Traditions don't exist in a vacuum. It is the exchange of ideas which is vitalizing them. Unchallenged, they would probably become stifled.

    In my opinion, as always.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020
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  15. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    The ancient Hindu Vedas and Upanishads predate Buddhism by millennia?
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020
  16. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    From memory, probably not 100% accurate: Early Budhist texts refer to only three Vedas (today we know four). The Upanishads are roughly contemporary with the early portions of Buddhist scripture, with dates of composition between 500 BCE and the first century CE. The Yogacara school of Buddhism arose around 500 CE, and was actively developing and in dialogue with Vedanta schools up until the disappearance of Buddhism in india, around 1200 CE.
     
  17. Krisha Mitra Das

    Krisha Mitra Das Ethical Vegan Yogini

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    Yes, they all do.
     
  18. Krisha Mitra Das

    Krisha Mitra Das Ethical Vegan Yogini

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    Maybe it's a branch of Buddhism? It doesn't sound like Yoga at all.
     
  19. Krisha Mitra Das

    Krisha Mitra Das Ethical Vegan Yogini

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    Prayer and meditation in Yoga. Prayer is talking to God. Meditation is hearing God's reply.
     
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  20. Krisha Mitra Das

    Krisha Mitra Das Ethical Vegan Yogini

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    A devout Yogi should be vegan as Ahimsa is the first Yama (tenet). I'm sure there are many differences, but I don't know a lot about other eastern religions. In Yoga, there are no rules of rituals like in Hinduism and other religions.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2020
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