What is Yoga?
What today is often called Yoga, is actually one small part of the Yoga world. Many think that Yoga is limited to some physical practices that help us stay fit, while Yoga basically encompasses a wide range of spiritual practices with one goal: to accelerate the evolutionary process of the soul!
Yoga is basically a Sanskrit word meaning “to yoke,” “to join” or “to unite.” It In esoteric sciences this union refers to the union of the incarnated soul with the higher soul. The incarnated soul is often called the individual self in general term, the Holy Spirit in Christianity, the Jivatma in Hindu tradition and the Personality in Theosophy terminology; the higher soul in this case is believed to be the divine, the universal spirit or the cosmic consciousness in general term, the I AM in Christianity, the Atma in Hindu tradition and the Ego in Theosophy terminology.
In fact human from the viewpoint of esoteric teachings, is defined as a soul with various vehicles including physical, emotional and mental bodies. He resembles an inverted tree with its roots upward, rooted to the higher soul and ultimately to God, which is evident in teachings and practices of Kaballah and Hinduism and also in art crafts of Indonesia and Persia.
According to Grand Master Choa Kok Sui, this union can happen in several stages.
The first stage is when one realizes that he is the soul occupying various bodies; a spiritual being of divine light, love and power. This realization is however still in the intellectual level. The first stage happens when one realizes that he is not his physical body, not his emotions, nor his thoughts; the emotions and the thoughts are only products of the soul.
The second stage in this case happens when one experiences himself as the soul, during meditation or any other spiritual practice, not being able to feel his physical body. The spiritual practitioner may have an out-of-body experience where the soul uses the other subtle bodies and is able to travel faster than the speed of light. He further might experience the nature of the soul as a being of light, traveling in all directions.
In the third stage the yogi, as the incarnated soul, may have the experience of being united with the higher soul. He may further experience oneness with other souls, including other human souls, animals, nature and etc.
Last stage is the experience of oneness with God, where the spiritual practitioner experiences oneness with God and oneness with all. Such soul can be literally called a God-realized person.
The degree of realization or union highly depends on the size of the spiritual connection between the incarnated soul and the higher soul which is often called the Spiritual Cord or Antahkarana. The thicker the size of this connection, the more control the higher soul gains over the mind and the emotions. The weaknesses and unwholesome actions and behaviors are basically the result of less soul connection; when the higher soul loses control over the incarnated soul and its vehicles.
‘The quality of the development of the Soul is reflected in the “vehicle”… Integrity or wholeness is based on connectedness with the Higher Soul. The word “whole” means to be complete… Soul Energy makes the body whole.’
Grand Master Choa Kok Sui
Therefore, one of the very basic requirements for Yoga or union is having a wholesome character, which is often taught as character building. One cannot achieve oneness while being still enslaved by lower thoughts and emotions.
There are many branches of Yoga that introduce different means to make the oneness possible including Hatha Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga and Tantra Yoga. Arhatic Yoga is another method of achieving oneness developed by Grand Master Choa Kok Sui which is in fact a synthesis of different Yogas suitable for people with various backgrounds who want to pursue spirituality and at the same time living a normal life.
- Grand Master Choa Kok Sui. (2005). Achieving Oneness with the Higher Soul. Philippines: Institute for Inner Studies Publishing Foundation, Inc.
- Grand Master Choa Kok Sui. (2006). Beyond the Mind, The Golden Lotus Sutras on Meditation. Institute for Inner Studies Publishing Foundation, Inc.
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- Yoga Definition. (n.d.). Retrieved from The Free Dictionary: http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Yoga