Different methods of dealing with various aspects of the human reality
The electromagnetic ocean has 9 fundamental energies which make up the universe. These are called Chakras. We as humans consider the 7 connected to the body plus the crown chakra, to this we add 2 more chakras beyond our bodies; these energies are not perceivable to the human mind but only to consciousness itself (awareness of these chakras require some extremely deep meditation!). Subsequently, there are 9 main forms of yoga that empower and transform each of the energy centers more directly.
The following pages outline the different types of yoga taught within the Chakra Yoga System.
Hatha Yoga: Empowering the first chakra – Muladhara.
Hatha Yoga is the form of yoga most people consider to be yoga. It consists of mainly physical postures and movements designed to stimulate and rejuvenate the physical being. These are called asanas, and are put together in sequences usually called flows, or vinyasa. Just about all the styles of yoga taught today are within the form of Hatha, including Iyengar, Ashtanga, Power, Hot (Bikrams), Yin, and a variety of others catering to the physical body.
The Chakra Yoga system involves a detailed knowledge of our anatomy & physiology, taking us inward to look at body and brain chemistry, and brings us to an understanding of how the glands and organs function and what causes them to malfunction sometimes. We learn how to influence the glands & organs in a positive and stimulating way, what to feed the body, how to detoxify, strengthen, etc. All of this information and more is part of the first phase of yoga. We include some of the little-known Dhandal techniques that were classically used for bodybuilding and power development in the warrior tradition of the Kshatriyas.
Jnana yoga has to do with achieving wisdom through the path of self-analysis, not as psychoanalysis, but by being the observer of mind, emotions and body. The word Jnan (or Gyan) means wisdom. It includes an important aspect of contemplation, leading us to the 6th limb of yoga practice, with a very sophisticated map of the mind to explain the actual process it uses in thought and emotion. This leads us to understand the emotional aspect of our being and its ruling effect on our mind. The entanglement of thought and emotion is a serious factor in both our brain and body chemistry, so consequently affects our health profoundly.
As a practice, it is an application of many different mind-watching techniques (Swadhiyaya), a variety of introspective methods for studying the emotional motives for our actions and reactions in the social world. The technique of pratyahara (Yoga Nidra), for example, is like a withdrawal from the outer world of distractions to refocus the awareness on the workings of the mind itself; studying how it is led around by the senses and desires; this becomes an in-depth study of the psychology of mind. The philosophical principles of Samkhya (making connections from the energy world of physics to the human reality of conscious awareness) are then realized followed by the application of the appropriate yoga technique for changing that situation around until consciousness leads and directs the mind. Understanding the programs running in our subconscious awakens consciousness to self-awareness; then with further Techniques, we learn to reprogram our own mind and bring it back in alignment with the universal mind, called Buddhi.
Pranayama yoga begins with the art of proper breathing: this is a lost art for most people, so the re-training in this life support system is an important start, and for most people takes a couple of weeks to integrate the three sections of breath into Mahat Yoga Pranayama – the complete yogic breath. This becomes the foundation for all of the other “techniques”, and from there it continues through dozens of methods aimed at rejuvenating the nervous system through controlling the flow of energy in the nerves as well as beyond.
Ultimately, pranayama means energy control. Many of the methods learned here are combined with the other forms of yoga. It is a fundamental part of Hatha yoga practice (traditionally) as there are specific techniques for rejuvenating each gland or organ, for releasing stress, boosting hormonal productions, empowering the muscles etc. Likewise, there are techniques for clearing the mind, weeding out old negative thought patterns, and bringing peace of mind. Some of the breathing methods are used to induce deep relaxation and meditative states, there are even some for leaving the body. Add to this a detailed look at what deep breathing does to the oxygen levels within the body and how that changes body chemistry, and you can see that the techniques are progressive and should be followed in the right sequence to avoid disturbing body functions and mental equilibrium. There are 72 pranayama techniques in the system, as handed down from Swami Gitananda, who was one of the rare pranayama masters.
Karma Yoga is a more subtle study of the laws of cause and effect as they apply to our personal life, the world, and the universe in general. In essence, it is a study of how we have created the situation we are in now and subsequently look at what we would like to create in our upcoming years and lifetimes. Techniques involve self-analysis of thoughts, emotions and feelings, leading to insights about where it all comes from and how to change the undesirable aspects. In practice it comes down to being helpful and compassionate with everyone, thereby creating positive karma.
With an understanding of how we are causing the effects we are experiencing; we choose more wisely what kind of things we want to do. Everything from the food we are eating, the way we breathe, our lifestyle, and our social behaviour – every action we do has some result effect. In order to get better results in our health, life and relationships, we choose better actions. This applies to our spiritual development: Doing the practices and seeing the result becomes part of our observation. Then it goes to a deeper level as we notice that our thoughts matter as much as our actions; these mental actions bring results not only in our immediate brain chemistry but in the life we are living and manifesting.
The careful study of how all thoughts, actions and events are connected, brings us into that realm of instant Karma, eliminating the backlog of accumulated karmic effects that people fear – bad karma.
Raja Yoga may be more commonly known as the yoga of the mind, and that it is. Raja means royal, and this was the yoga of royalty and the advanced minds which led the nation or many separate kingdoms that existed in ancient India. Here we learn many methods of working with the mind through creative visualization and the use of verbal and vocal processes. There is a lot of learning about the functions of the mind in the Jnana yoga of the second chakra, followed here by skillful use of mind energies to achieve certain results within the body; as in healing, and out in the world as in manifesting your dreams. Meditational practices that take you out of the normal world to explore the inner world are a large part of this Raja. The element of this chakra is called ether or akasha in Sanskrit; it reaches into a world of possibilities that are now being re-discovered in quantum physics. The electromagnetic ocean in which we are swimming is the source of all that is manifested here in the material world. Just like we use microwaves, waves that contain information, for our cyber communication we can also use the all-encompassing ocean that contains the information of the universe. It is also from these waves of possibilities that the wave function collapses into the particles of our world.
The use of images and imagination become part of the practices, together with the use of ‘sound formulas’. . . These are the seeds that we are sowing our karma with. On the royal path, we step from karma to Dharma, no longer living for personal desires, but rather for the good of all creatures, doing our “duty” as it could be called. In doing so our ability to use the mind in creative and benevolent manifestation increases, sometimes dramatically.
Yantra Yoga explains the structure of mind, energy and time. One of the least known forms of yoga, it is a study of cosmic (sacred) geometry showing how energy unfolds as mandala and form, as well as mathematics, in the measurement of the time cycles and the biorhythms of the chakra energies. It involves numbers, symbols, form and color, leading us to understand how these influence the mind; while through the time cycles, a personal calendar can be calculated to show us how the energies are affecting us by the day, month, year, and greater segments of time.
Sacred geometry is the language of the universal mind, not a human invention. Flowers, snowflakes, spider webs and seashells all develop following mathematical proportions which create the geometry. This part of the geometry we can see, but the larger part of the matrix we cannot see when the energy manifests as the atoms and molecules in the material world. Although the atomic building blocks follow similar geometric patterns, they are too small for us to see. The geometry used in Raja Yoga comes from this visionary faculty, while the visions are activated by the key sounds of the chakra petals as if my magic incantations.
Mantra Yoga is an intricate study of sound and its influence on energy, on mind, and on the external world. More than just chanting of certain sounds, this goes more deeply into the essence of what sound is as vibration, what type of sounds affect which area of the body and mind, what the mental reactions and interpretations are, etc. Then comes the application of certain sound formulas to create the desired results. Fundamentally it comes down to the reality that all is energy and that energy is in a state of vibration – Everything which vibrates makes sound. In Samkhya philosophy, it is the vibrating sound which creates the material world.
Throughout the ages and cultures sound has been used in spiritual practices, and in the art of music, for uplifting consciousness. Harmony in sounds creates musical impressions, and through music emotional states can be created. From Gregorian Chanting to the Koran, to Tibetan Chanting to simply listening to your favorite music, the effect on our emotional mind is known. In yoga practice, harmonic sounds are used for both healing and elevating consciousness up and out of normal states of mind. Through the use of sound, consciousness can transcend the dimension we normally live in and bring us to a greater realization of the multi-faceted aspect of the universe in which we live.
In Laya Yoga, the purpose is to awaken the dormant forces out of the potential of the human reservoir to experience the awakening of what is called Kundalini, the sleeping coiled serpent. These forces (or the Force) are somewhat magical in their nature and should only be used by an adept for dharmic purposes, healing or helping others along the spiritual path. The word Laya literally means to dissolve, and refers to the unravelling of our material nature at the atomic level and releasing the power which lies coiled in our serpent-like DNA. Essentially it is nuclear power at the human level, we are the reactors, but people have forgotten how to activate it.
Other names by which this yoga is known are Kundalini and Tantra. Knowledge about the energy centers known as Chakras are contained in this realm of yoga. Methods and techniques such as the Laya Yoga Kriyas are used to move energy from the base of the spine to the mind to attain higher levels of consciousness.
Power comes in polarity, or duality. There are 2 prongs on an electrical plug, two poles of a battery, and in humans we have the duality of Ida and Pingala, the positive and negative aspects of our own energy. Often expressed as sun and moon currents of energy, these can also be viewed as the masculine and feminine forces within us; then divided into left and right hemispheres of the brain, rational thought and intuitive feeling and so on. The process of uniting these forces internally, and sparking blissful and orgasmic experiences, is within the practices of Laya yoga.
Bhakti Yoga is the study of the oneness of the universe, of how it all fits together into a pattern, allowing us to see that the universe is unfolding with intelligence, beauty and purpose. Through a study of the energy fields, we eventually come to realize that the energy, which makes up the stars and planets, the heat, light, etc, is the same as that which makes up our own bodies. With this understanding, we can go with the flow and trust that we are part of this unfolding process as well. Bhakti Yoga is more than a philosophy about this oneness, as it utilizes the other forms of yoga in bringing about a heartfelt realization of this truth. Bhakti literally means devotion to God in India – it is known as the path of love of God (while Jnana is the wisdom path). Through developing an awareness of oneness, we arrive at the wisdom that we are all part of one infinite energy field, in a state of vibration that feels like unconditional divine love.
The difference between the love of God, and the blissful vibration of the electromagnetic ocean is one of semantics. The experience is the same, while within that experience is the realization of an all-knowing intelligence as built right into the awareness itself. Uniting our personal awareness with this cosmic awareness brings eternity and infinity into human reality.