The Yoga is one of the 6 classical schools recognized by the traditional hindu. It is unanimously accepted by the other 5 schools as a practical system for inner self-realization of being.
The Hinduism from where it comes from is a set of ancient beliefs or eternal laws (Santana dharma) that form a way of understanding life. Gnostics, atheists, polytheists, pantheists, deists and theistic enrich a vision of the plural and open-minded world; the closest thing to what in the Western world has been called perennial philosophy.
The term Perinnial Philosophy was first used by the Italian humanist, Agostino Stueco, in the sixteenth century and adapted and extended in the seventeenth century by a German Philosopher, mathematician and jurist called Gottfired Leibniz. In 1945 this term was popularized by an English writer living in United Stated, Aldous Huxley, through the publication of book also called Philosophy Perinnel.
The Perennial Philosophy suggests the existence of a universal set of truths and values common to all towns, cultures and mystic streams of all the times.
Currently, there are many schools with different approaches to yoga.
The first written definitions of the main hatha yoga techniques used today come from Hatha Yoga Pradipika (fourteenth century). Originally, asanas referred to a few seated postures of meditation. Later, in the seventeenth century, the Samhita Gheranda extends this concept and describes 32 positions.
Most positions we know of are no more than 150 years old, and have been specially designed for Westerners. Yoga in the XXI century has adapted to the global consumer market and has embraced patents and trademarks.
The relationship of trust and respect between a teacher and a student is the basis of all good teaching. In the past, not only the students chose their teachers but also the teachers chose their students. The good old days!
Yoga and Yogas
Yoga defines a stable mental state, a unified state of consciousness. We call subtle Yogas to the different paths that lead us gradually to this level of understanding.
The Integral Yoga defines the simultaneous practice of different paths of Yoga in the context of the evolution of human capabilities. The main paths that we are going to study are:
Hatha Yoga or yoga psychophysical. It is best known in the West for its therapeutic value. The postures, breathing techniques and relaxation balance the mental and physical aspects of the individual. Hatha yoga exercises suited our physical body and energy to enter practice gradually deeper concentration and meditation.
Raja Yoga or mental yoga gives us the tools to investigate consciously the unconscious processes of our psyche and the nature of mind. The positive effects of meditation practice and concentration techniques are many, profound and are now widely documented.
Tantra Yoga techniques take the sensory pathway as a way of knowledge and transcendence. Channel the creative potential of the basic polarity of existence to the unity of being. Looking for the awakening of dormant energy in the field to use as a "springboard" to expanded states of consciousness.
The Gnana Yoga or yoga of knowledge invites us to become aware of the mental categories through which we see the world and thus exposes us to the processes of human knowledge. Reflecting on the universal principles revealed by intuition transcends our limited world view.
Karma Yoga or yoga of selfless action we proposed to accept our role in the world and develop it without attachment or rejection. In this way we act beyond our own benefit and in relation to the greater good. The law of cause and effect determines the outcome of our actions, not so much what we do but how we do it.
Yoga Bhakti or devotional yoga facilitates ecstatic experience as a form of transcendence and knowledge of being. Usually associated with religious sentiment and culture of transcendent love. The poet who reveals and nurtures the worlds of soul through his art is a bhakti yogi. Who looks at all a reflection of what is a bhakti yogi subtle. Who comes and looks at the energy that sustains the different worlds, he reveals the meaning of life.
Also called Purna Yoga or Complete Yoga, is mainly associated with the lessons of one of the most brilliant Indian thinkers and poets of all times, Sri Aurobindo Ghose (1872-1950). He elaborates an Integral Yoga that synthesizes elements of Vedic speculative tradition, the tantric cosmovission and the Western thought. It considers the human being, not as a completed being but as a being in transition, the ongoing evolutionary process of nature.
In 1934, the indian pyscologist Indra Sen impressed by the integral vision of Aurobindo Ghose develops the concept of integral psychology as an academic discipline. The Bengali philosopher Haridas Chaudhuri gathers these ideas from the American Academy of Asian studies in San Francisco from which emerged later the Californian Institute of Integral Studies. In 1964 Haridas Chauduri published a fundamental book called Integral Yoga where he develops conciliating ideas between Western humanism and Eastern mysticism. In 1990, the Indologist George Feuerstein, considered as a living authority of yoga in the West, described this book as a synthesis of the main methods of meditations implemented in India and a clear example of the implementation of perennial wisdom in daily life.
In the West, the influences of his ideas have continued to spread throughout the twentieth century. From the well-known contemporary music composer Stockhausen to the prominent figure of integral and transpersonal psychology Ken Wilder, many have been the leading personalities who have been marked by the work of Aurobindo Ghose.
This stream of interpretation of the ancient and modern thought can also be seen through Frijof Capra who for the first time in 1975 exposed the parallels between modern physics and western mysticism. Among the scientific community there are now a days a lot of people who advocate an integrated vision of knowledge. Aubindo Ghose anticipated this stream.
There are various streams of Integral Yoga that don’t strictly follow the original approach of Sri Aurobindo. However, his readings inspire us to develop a multidisciplinary yoga that can be adapted to the different circumstances that we have to live.