Yoga is the most ancient system for physical, mental and spiritual well-being in the world. The Sanskrit meaning of the word is union of the individual self with the Supreme Self (Original Cause) in a loving, harmonious relationship. The aim of the different yoga processes or schools is to ultimately help the individual achieve complete harmony. The different systems of yoga have techniques and practices ranging from physical postures (asanas), to the deepest stages of meditation, all aimed toward helping a person achieve optimum physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
A brief introduction to some of the main yoga systems follows:
Is a preliminary physical system of exercises, beginning with postures or asana that aims to bring about harmony between the physical body and the breath. Asanas and pranayama clear the subtle energy channels enabling the practitioner to increasingly experience the life force within their body.
A yoga system practiced in past ages consisting of eight parts, including sitting postures, breathing exercises, silent meditation and ethical guidelines of Yama and Niyama.
It is the cultivation of transcendental knowledge. The aim of jnana yoga is to bring about realization of one’s spiritual essence, and therefore harmony (through understanding) between the individual Atma and his mind, body, and the world. It is also meant to help the Atma realize that he is part and parcel of the Supreme Atma and therefore needs to wed himself to, or get in harmony with the Supreme Atma.
Karma yoga is Yoga in action – work done in a spirit of selfless loving service. It is the path of real happiness and freedom. Karma yoga means serving the Whole rather than just living for oneself. Living a life of karma yoga means to see oneself as a servant, not master; as a caretaker of others and our environment, not an exploiter. It is meant to purify one’s heart so that one’s natural spiritual love for the Supreme Atma will blossom.
The apex of yoga and the ultimate goal of life is to achieve pure bhakti, or spiritual love. Such love for the Supreme Soul results in a state of harmony between the individual Atma and the Supreme Atma. The process of yoga can be seen as a ladder, with the starting rung of the ladder being yoga asanas and postures and the top of the ladder being karma and bhakti yoga. Although yoga’s physical exercises and breathing techniques are not essential to the yoga way of life, they are extremely valuable in helping achieve optimum physical, mental and spiritual well-being. An individual can simultaneously apply all of these processes in their life in a holistic, integrated fashion. The aim of all these yoga practices is meant to help an individual achieve a life of harmony.
The potential health benefits of yoga include:
Whether you are a student, a taxi driver or a busy mum, meditation will help you to deal with life’s challenges in a positive way. Meditation can lower your levels of stress and therefore have a positive effect on your body and mind.
But the benefits of meditation go much deeper than relieving stress. Through the practice of meditation a person can overcome anxiety and depression and experience an actual inner spiritual fulfillment or happiness. The secret to gaining the benefits is to practice it regularly. By starting your day with 15 minutes of meditation, you will find that your whole day flows more smoothly.
The timeless art of meditation has been practiced by saints and sages since ancient times to bring about the joyful state of self-realization. In this consciousness a person is free from temporary worries, anxieties and concerns and is immersed in a higher spiritual happiness and inner peacefulness.
Yoga philosophy speaks about the Original Cause or Source of everyone and everything. Mantras are spiritual sound vibration springing from the Original cause that has the effect of reconnecting us with that source we have all come from.
Mantras have no material origin they are eternal and transcendental. They can be found in the Vedas or ancient yoga texts and have been passed down by the self-realized sages in the yoga lineages since time immemorial
The word "mantra" is a Sanskrit word that has two parts; "Man" means mind, “Tra” to draw away from. In the practice of mantra meditation the mind and heart are drawn away from the material dimension with all of its hassles, stresses, worries, etc, that continue to burden us. In meditation you’re focusing your mind on the mantra and gradually the mind develops an attraction or a taste for the mantra, for the spiritual dimension itself, and finds comfort in it and relaxation in it and rest in it. So the mind gradually experiences restfulness or peacefulness in the mantra.
Meditation is a path of self discovery it is inseparable from the yoga system. The culmination and definition of yoga—is perfect spiritual love. Our purpose is to pass on the various yoga/meditation practices to help individuals move toward the transcendent (i.e., to achieve their optimum physical, mental, spiritual well-being).
The wisdom of the yoga texts teaches that our actual identity is we are eternal spirit souls, part and parcel of the Supreme Soul. Meditation helps purify our consciousness so we come to understand our real spiritual identity.
Our approach to the teaching of yoga is a very holistic and integrated one. This holistic approach reflects the extensive background of our teachers. The purpose is to pass on the various yoga/meditation practices to help individuals move toward the transcendent (i.e., to achieve their optimum physical, mental, spiritual well-being).