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Yoga and Its Practices-I for International Yoga Day 21st June

Yoga is the union!

Yoga is to become one with the rest!

Yoga is not an action. It is a state of being.

When you are not in the state of yoga, you are not stable. You are disturbed and unbalanced. You feel separated. You are in duality and biased in your approach.

Whenever you know that you are not comfortable it is a sign that you are now not in yoga. It is known as “Viyoga”.

“Ashtanga yoga”

There are eight approaches to bring this state of yoga. They are called the 8 limbs of yoga.

Each anga (limb) of yoga is complete in its approach.


  1. Yama
  2. Niyama
  3. Asana
  4. Pranayama
  5. Pratyahara
  6. Dhyana
  7. Dharana
  8. Samadhi

Most of the people are aware of Asanas as the Yoga sadhana. A few might have learnt Pranayama as yoga sadhana. Other angas are misconsidered as religious practices only. They are adapted in religious practices to get that state of yoga but they are beyond the religions which the human beings could envisage.

Yogic practices are all scientific with assured results involving sytematic study in its teaching and practices.

Let us move from the known to the unknown of yoga.


Asanas as yogic practice deal with physical postures that bring yoga state of consciousness. A physical balance will have an imact on the rest of our system and brings that state of balanced being. Surya namasakar as practiced is a set of yoga asanas which will have a general and overall impact on the balance of our wellbeing. They are not physical exercises which simply stimulate our system vigourously.

Yogasanas are to be performed in a cool, poised and steady way in rhythem to our breathing. There are three stages in an asana. One is the stage of stretching. Second is the stage of balancing in the extreme stretch. The third stage is releasing the stretch. All the three are to be done in steady and comfort. (“Sthira Sukha asana”)

Every stretch in a given asana is well designed and named realted to its shape. Each asana is specific in its three stages. Only an expert in it will be able to tell you precisely about its procedures and effects.


Prana is the life force in a living being. The flow of this prana energy decides our wellbeing. When this pranic flow is feeble, it is an unhealthy state. When the prana expands to all the cells of the body, it is health.

The process of expansion of prana to all the parts of the body is called Pranayama. The flow of prana is connected to and regulated by the breathing. Hence Pranayama process involves breathing techniques that alter at will the flow of prana to various parts.

The basic parts of pranayama are breathing in (“Pooraka”), Holding the air inside the lungs (“Kumbhaka”), Breathing out (“Rechaka”), Holding the breath out with empty lungs (“Shoonyaka” / “Bahir kumbhaka”).

Pranayama is a very sensitive process that needs an expert to guide. Any over doing will have adverse effects. The concept that many people think that we gain more by doing more of it is not workable here.

The first in the list of 8 limbs of yoga is “Yama”

The Five Yamas

Ahimsa (Non-Harming) “Ahimsa pratishthayam tat vaira-tyagah” …

  • It is called non-violence. There is no intention of hurting anyone including oneself. Everything is done in care and concern for all. All actions tht may cause intentional hurt are relinquished. We do not harm even if someone hurts us intentionally. Non-violence is, not allowing violence to happen.

Satya (Truthfulness) “Satya pratisthayam kriya phala ashrayatvam” …

  • It is not just speaking the trust, but also remembering what one has promised and act according to the promised word. A person who is observing “Sathya” follows it mentally, verbally and actually. (Trikarana). It means to declare what one is intended to do. Secondly do what one has declared without worying about the consequences.

Asteya (Non-Theft) “Asteya pratisthayam sarva ratna upasthanam” …

Taking things without the permission of their owner is called theft. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, one is not permitted to commit theft. It is a crime. Asteya is a strict practice of using things as if it belongs to others. If you are taking food, find out if others have the food and with their permission eat the food. Taking food leaving others to starvation is considered theft here.

Brahmacharya (Mindfulness of Higher Reality) …

Brahman is the origin of this whole creation and the universe. Being aware of that there is a power higher than everyone is to surrender to Brahman. Every action is to be related to the fact that it is all the grace of the creator. Brahmacharya is to lead the path of esthetical eality. It is to appreciate everything as the creation of God. It is to see the Divinity in every action. It is to realize that “It is not me” (Na- Aham) or Na- maha. It is the state of surrenderfulness to the Almighty.

Aparigraha (Non-Possessiveness)

  • We think we get things by working for it. We claim them to have been earned by us. They can be our property, education, positions and fame attached to them. Even though you own them like your beauty and intelligence, you do not possess them exclusively for yourself. You realize that they are gifted to you to share with all. They belong to the ones who make the best use of it. Non-possessiveness is not allowing things to deteriorate or misused by others.All these five Yamas are more misinterpreted than applied in life.
  • Mahatma Gandhi is the true example of following Yamas. With these five yamas applied on his life, he could fight against the British forces and got independence to our country.

Five Niyamas – internal practices of observance

  1. Shaucha (Cleanliness):

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness” is the proverb. It is not just physical cleanliness of the body. It is the cleanliness of the surroundings and the environment. A Yogic practitioner always keeps everything clean. It supports his yogic life.

If you clean the surroundings and then take bath, you feel much more fresh and and active which is the true state of yoga. The easiest and the best practice is to do the “Swaccha bharath”. Let the children learn to keep their belongings and the surroundings clean as a part of yoga.

  1. Samtosha (Fulfillment):

When we start feeling that we have enough, then we get fulfillment. This state of fulfillment is the emotional quotient of the person. When it is high, that person is in the path of yoga – equanimity. We get fulfilled when we consume food to the brim of out neck. This is not that fulfillment is here in eating. It is explained by observing the yamas. It is to observe that we have enough to live a satisfactory life and being thankful for it.

  1. Tapas (asceticism):

Tapa is the intense desire to achieve something. We naturally desire to have pleasure form the worldly things. To divert form those mundane possssions, one must have a deep intense desire to experience yoga, the union with the Almighty. It is not struggling hard to achieve something but not giving up your intense desire for the sake of comfort. It is a state that one feels comfortable even in the most difficult situations as one is in uinion with the highest Self (Parmatma). Every act of Tapas will lead one to stand firm in dignity and honour to the Supreme being.

  1. Svadhyaya (self-study):

Learning is the highest aspect of all the living things on earth. The moment we stop learning, we are tending to be extinct. The enthusiasm and interest one has towards learning is the measure one’s liveliness. Yoga is to experience that joyous living. People as they grow they tend to think tht they know it all and so there is no need to learn further. Then someone motivational has to enthuse them. People are dependent on others for their study. When we start learning out or our own self interest and personal zeal, the true learning tkes place. The guru will come in search of such a desciple or a sadhaka. Every educational process should lead to “Svadhyaya”, the self-study with self-motivated and self- inspired.

  1. Ishvara Pranidhana(devotion):

All that we do is dedicated to the Divine Lord who is leading us. When this dedication becomes our way of living, then we are practicing “Ishvara Pranidhana” meaning devoted to God. People try to claim other’s achievemnts as their own. This practice of yoga is to submit all the achievements to the grace of God. It is to disown all claims in favour of the creator. Giving credits to a person including one’s own guru is also not valid. It is all the grace of God that even when your Guru could guide you. It is about impersonifying the results of Yoga to the Ultimate reality called God.

Since we discussed about Asana and Pranayama earlier, we are moving to the next limb of yoga.

Pratyahara (Special Nourishment)

“Prati”- is a prefix similar to “Re” in English. Organize to reorganize: Orient to reorient; Union to reunion. It is something that happens very specially, once again with a purpose. Ahara is food or nourishment. It reaches to us through our sense organs. We nourish food that is pleasant to our senses. If our senses are not functioning well, we do not relish the food consumed. It becomes mere feeding. When all our indriyas or senses are in joy, the inputs are recieved with delight. This practice of enchanting the senses is called Pratyahara. It is to let the senses celebrate from within and then start relishing the external inputs reaching the physical organs. The process is observed easily when the nourishment in any of the forms like, food through mouth, music through ears, fragrance through nose, visuslas through eyes and feeling through the skin are offered to the Divinity present in each one of us. It is something like, you are feeding the God in you. This Prathyahara processes are offered to nourish the divinity present in eachone of us. This is Pratyahara.

There are six yogic practices that make this Pratyahara offering everyone with youth and vibrant health. This is what makes the Himalayan yogis live forever even without eating food. Theses six practices can be discussed later and learnt in person.

Dharana (Wearing)

We wear clothes over our body. Similarly we wear thoughts over our mind. We wear ego over our Self. Dharana is to wear. It is the yogic practice of filling the mind with one single thought. The thought can be an image or a Sound or a feeling.

When you imgine a form of God and fill that form in your mind unwavered with anyother thing, it is called “Dharana”. Similarly doing continously one chanting of a “Mantra” or a sacred sound, know as Japa is also a dharana. One may be filled with the feeling of love abundant is also a practice of Dharana.

Many people use it to achieve their goals or vision by these yogic practices. Whenever dharana is practiced, it results in creating the image that one holds. God will appear to them in the form they worshipped. Others who had not practiced may not be able to realize this and call it hallucination. In fact it is difficult to distinguish what is a hallucintion and what is not. What appears real to you may not be to others as they hold something else in their minds.

Yogic practice of Dharana is to have the freedom of holding whatever they truly wish and not influenced by the desires of oneself or that of the others. It is not of focussing on their desired Diety (Ishta devata). It is not trying to manifest your desires and ambitions in the pretext of power of intention.

Dhyana (Descriptive imagination)

It is a process of using your mental ability to describe in detail about what you have in your mind. It is the ability to picturize every detail with clarity about what actually one holds in the mind. This clarity lets one connected to the divine creation. God is formless Omnimpotent and Omniscient. It is impossible to perceive God through the senses. Hence we have every chance to discard the existance of God. All non-beleivers in God argue on this point saying that God is not real.

Yogic practice of Dhyana helps one to overcome the myth that what is not real does not exist. Things do exist as our experiences even though we may not have proof of it now. Yoga is to experience that which cannot be proven by the process of Dhyana. It is successfully applied in creating the babies of our vision in ISP courses offered by www.ravijisinfanityeduation.in.

One can design their baby and their life and everything that they desire for. It is a systematic approach to describe and design in the mind.

Sitting and thinking of something continuously is not dhyana. It is called para-dhyana or immeresed in some thought, not being aware of oneself.

Dhyana is a process done aware of oneself and chosen the desire voluntarily. It is systematic practice of utilizing the mind for constructive purpose.

Samadhi (Equanimous Intellect):

Intellect is the faculty that helps analyse and organize the information according to our personality or ego. It processes the information or data that is stored with the input commands and produce the results like the part CPU in the PCs. It always act according to the program that is installed by the operator. Its ability is mesured by the capacity of information that it can process in the shortest time possible. A very sharp intellect will analyse the information and present its results in seconds. For such sharp intellect we need to provide necessary environment to operte which is called “Samadhi”. Only in a true equanimity that the functioning of the intellect is effective.

The process of equanimising or debugging will help the functions of processing done by the intellect efficient. The yogic practice of Samadhi known as “Samadhi Abhyas” helps one to go into the deepeset states of silence and revitalize the whole system. It has curative effects over the mental stresses caused by wrong formatting against the other 7 limbs of yoga viz., yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana and dhyana.

The ultimate key is in Samadhi which is not explored by many yogic teachers. The teaching of silence is very intricate to the minds that simply chatter. Samadhi when practiced in groups has more effective results and the processes are very effortless. Even those whose intellects are completely imbalanced will be able to reorient to silence when they sit with the gathering of people practicing samadhi.
Any person who is well estblished in samadhi can easily influence the cluttering mind of others and bring them to silence. Every teacher of Yoga must necessarily experience this Samadhi before trying to teach the yogic practices to others. Otherwise the teachers will be transmitting their cluttering state through the teachings. Many yogic Masters went into very deep silence of Samadhi for years and sustained it for quite some time. When they lose their silence by interacting with the disturbed minds, they would retreat into forests and do their sadhana.

Nature is the ultimate Guru for the sadhaks who desire to go beyond the limitations of mind. All yogic discoveries came to the Masters when they went to forests and searched within. Nature gives the best environment conducive to experience Yoga – the union with God.

Go to nature and live naturally like all the creations of God. The realization is instant and get enlightened in the moment.

–   Ravisankar

Maha Acharya, Siddha Samadhi Yoga

Global President of NCN (Neighbourhood Community Network)

(Consultant to UN ECOSOC till May 2020) For more information about the author visit: www.ravijisinfanityeducation.in

Released for International Yoga day on 21st June 2018

Written By Sri Raviji

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