Yoga: Let's Get Superconscious

JusDredd By JusDredd, 27th Mar 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3x7hk74p/
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Religion

Yoga -- Not just streching, but an ancient method for attaining self-transcendence and union with the God-Being.

Yoga -- Being of Higher Dimension

Until recently, my understanding of yoga has revolved around infrequent visits to Yoga-Tropics, a mirrored yoga studio situated in the corner of a local shopping center, a number of spandex-clad enthusiasts in attendance, each exhibiting varied degrees of postural mastery. As far as I was concerned, the foreseeable goals were namely flexibility, fitness, health and relaxation. These seem like reasonable goals and I would suggest that my perspectives about yoga are shared by many practicing westerners. However, if we take a look into the ancient Yoga-Sutra it becomes apparent that the scope of my yoga understanding was only wide enough to incorporate one of eight members, or stages of yoga. This particular stage is known as asana, the posture and exercise aspect. The asanas are important, but they are only one stage of yoga, and the only stage that involves physical bodily training.

When searching google for a “yoga definition” the first result offers, “A Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation.” Some of the following definitions suggested at inner peace, tranquility, liberation, and spiritual insight, but all seemed to omit some very important aspects of the practice, and to ultimately fall short of what may be considered the true goal of yoga. The methods of yoga are quite practical, but when applied in a disciplined and consistent manner the result involves a transformation of self and unification with God. The associations with which one identifies with one’s self may be altered in such a profound way that one may be unable to rationalize about, or even imagine, the implications of this transformation.

The practice of yoga, as described in the Yoga-Sutra, is a method called ashtanga and involves eight stages. The first and most fundamental of these stages are yama (restraint) and niyama (observance). Interestingly, one should have a developed sense of fundamental ethical value to oneself and the community before pursuing any of the other stages of yoga. Moreover, one must become a disciplined practitioner of these ethics. These first foundational stages help cultivate the mental stability and balance necessary to succeed in some of the later stages.

Of the eight stages, westerners seem to be most familiar with asana, the third stage of yoga, which involves the posture and exercise aspects of the practice. The asana is the core focus of contemporary yoga studios, but very little is actually mentioned in the traditional Yoga-Sutra regarding asana. However, the postures, stretching, and exercise involved in contemporary yoga may be an important method with which to cultivate the strength and flexibility necessary to maintain meditative postures for long periods of time. Moreover, stimulations of various regions of the body through asana practice have been indicated in the maintenance of physical wellness.

The fourth stage of yoga is known as pranayama and involves the implementation of breath control. In this stage, the practitioner inhales, retains the breath and exhales, following a consistent pattern. Imagination is a very important aspect of pranayama. Upon inhaling one imagines that prana, the universal life-force, is being drawn into the region of the lower abdomen, and through this act of imaginative concentration, one can begin to tap into the power of self-actualization.

The fifth stage, pratyahara (sense-withdrawl), involves the recovery of the mind by blocking out all sensory stimuli. When pratyahara is achieved, the practitioner is ready for dharana (concentration), the sixth stage. At this point it becomes difficult to rationally assess the cognitive experience of the yogic progression. Initially, there seems to be an inherent paradox in dharana. Although the practitioner is aspiring toward a state of union between subject and object, concentration implies delineation between the two. Dharana is a disciplined process which takes dedicated practice. Because one’s protective ego identity is being broken and discarded it is not uncommon for the practitioner to experience instabilities of the mind and body. Only after an acute dedication to effective concentration has dispelled the contents of the unconscious will the practitioner become one with Being of a higher dimension.

The seventh stage of yoga is dhyana (meditative-absorption). While dharana unites the practitioner with Being of a higher dimension, dhyana strengthens and sustains this union. During dhyana the individual ego is retained albeit temporarily negated. At this stage deep anxieties may occur as the magnitude of the transformative process is realized. It is not until the ego of the highly disciplined practitioner becomes completely absent that he/she can enter the final stage of yoga. This stage is called Samadhi (enstasy). The individual who has achieved Samadhi is able to receive insights and draw from the creative energies of higher ontological dimensions. When the practitioner enters a state of Samadhi at a higher dimension, the creative energies and awareness drawn from that dimension may be employed for miraculous occurrences and inexplicable insights. Some of these may include, but are not limited to, the creation of matter from nothing, miraculous healings, and access to esoteric knowledge and psychic information. The Yoga-Sutra calls these ‘superpowers’ siddhi, and they are considered to be a byproduct of entering Samadhi as the practitioner ventures onward toward the ultimate goal.

As the practitioner proceeds in deepening Samadhi in higher dimensions all awareness and perspective becomes accessible in a format encompassing all time, matter and dimensionality. Eventually, one's karma is transcended, and at the highest level there is a complete union with the God-being, and the awareness of all things becomes as One-ness. This is the ultimate ineffable goal of yoga. I suppose this goal is light years beyond the objectives of my fellow enthusiasts at Yoga-Tropics in the local shopping center.

Tags

Awareness, Consciousness, Excercise, God, Gods, Hindu Thought, Hinduism, Meditate, Meditation, Meditation Benefits, Meditation Practices, Meditation Techniques, Ontology, Religion, Self, Soul, Spirit, Spirituality, Superconsiousness, Transcendental, Transformation, Yoga

Meet the author

author avatar JusDredd
I am a father, son, uncle, brother, and a realized individual. Let's talk about ontology, the environment, religion, music, surfing, adventure, and beer.

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Comments

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
27th Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks for this insight into yoga and it surely requires dedication to pass by each stage - siva

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author avatar JusDredd
27th Mar 2014 (#)

Thank you, Siva, for reading. Truly, unparalelled dedication is necessary as we venture toward transcendence. Not only a lifetime achievement, but perhaps an anchievement of many disciplined lifetimes. Thanks again.
jus

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