Our Yoga practice is based on the idea that we are eternal spiritual souls within this physical/emotional body. The body serves as an instrument through which the eternal being can show his/her free will within this material universe. This body is considered a divine gift with which we have the opportunity to become enlightened and awaken our internal divinity, our true Self, and to serve the whole, to cooperate with universal order, to make our life and that of others more beautiful and satisfactory. This is why we do not deny nor rejected this body, rather we honor it as a temple where the soul and the Supersoul reside.
From a superior point of view, everything is perfect. Even the so called good and bad has the intention of teaching us something. The material universe, as an expansion of the Supreme Spirit, is complete and perfect in its essence. However, in our unenlightened state, we see it as being imperfect in many ways. We may even consider it to be negative because of its temporary and illusory nature. Nevertheless, the wise and illuminated beings have indicated to us that behind this material manifestation there is a superior order and that everything is working in synchrony with a universal plan. In our practice of Yoga, we look to open and align ourselves with the natural order and Divine will; understanding and trusting that everything follows His guide and Divine grace.
Karma Yoga (The Path of Action)
Karma Yoga is the path of action. It is the path of disinterested service. It is the way that leads to the attainment of God through selfless work. It is the Yoga of renunciation of the fruits of actions.
Karma Yoga teaches us how to work for works sake - unattached - and how to utilize to the best advantage the greater part of our energies. - Duty for Dutys Sake - is the motto of a Karma-Yogin. Work is worship for the practitioners of Karma Yoga. Every work is turned into an offering unto the Lord. The Karma Yogin is not bound by the Karmas, as he consecrates the fruits of his actions to the Lord. Yogah Karmasu Kausalam - Yoga is skill in action.
Generally, a work brings as its effect or fruit either pleasure or pain. Each work adds a link to our bondage of Samsara and brings repeated births. This is the inexorable Law of Karma. But, through the practice of Karma Yoga, the effects of Karmas can be wiped out. Karma becomes barren. The same work, when done with the right mental attitude, right spirit and right will through Yoga, without attachment and expectation of fruits, without the idea of agency or doership, with a mind balanced in success and failure (Samatvam Yoga Uchyate), does not add a link to our bondage. On the contrary, it purifies our heart and helps us to attain salvation through the descent of divine light or dawn of wisdom.
A rigid moral discipline and control of senses are indispensable for the practice of Karma Yoga.
Cultivation of virtues such as tolerance, adaptability, sympathy, mercy, equal vision, balance of mind, cosmic love, patience, perseverance, humility, generosity, nobility, self-restraint, control of anger, non-violence, truthfulness, moderation in eating, drinking and sleeping, simple living and endurance, is very necessary.
Every man should do his duties in accordance with his own Varna and Asrama, caste and station as well as stage in life. There is no benefit in abandoning one’s own work in preference to another’s work.
Bhakti Yoga (The Path of the Heart)
Bhakti is intense love of God. Bhakti Yoga is the path of the offering the heart and devotion to the Supreme. It appeals to the majority of mankind. - Love for Loves Sake - is the motto or formula of a Bhakti-Yogin. God is an embodiment of love. You will have to attain Him by loving Him. God can be realised only by means of a love as ardent and all-absorbing as the conjugal passion. Love for God must be gradually cultivated.
He who loves God has neither wants nor sorrows. He does not hate any being or object.He includes everyone in the warm embrace of his love.
Kama (worldly desires) and Trishna (cravings) are enemies of devotion. So long as there is any trace of desire in your mind for sensual objects, you cannot have an intense longing for God.
Atma-Nivedana is total, ungrudging, absolute self-surrender to the Lord. Atma-Nivedana is Saranagati
Love of God and the rapturous ecstasy enjoyed by fellowship with God, cannot be adequately described in words. It is as if a dumb man, who had tasted some palatable food, could not speak about i. He who has once experienced Divine love will see that alone, hear that alone and speak of that alone, because he constantly thinks of that alone.
Bhakti is one of the chief spiritual sciences. The Name, qualities and Lilas of the Lord are the chief things to be remembered. The lotus-feet of the Lord are the chief objects of meditation. The devotee drinks the nectar of Prema or divine love.
Raja Yoga or Asthanga Yoga (Discipline of the Mind-Body)
Raja Yoga is the path that leads to union with the Lord through self-restraint and control of mind. Raja Yoga teaches how to control the senses and the mental Vrittis or thought-waves that arise from the mind, how to develop concentration and how to commune with God.
Asthanga Yoga (The Yoga Of Eight Limbs)
Yama and Niyama constitute the ethical discipline which purifies the heart.
1-Yama consists of Ahimsa (non-injury), Satya (truthfulness), Brahmacharya (continence), Asteya (non-stealing) and Aparigraha (non-receiving of gifts conducive to luxury). All virtues are rooted in Ahimsa.
2-Niyama is observance. It comprises Saucha (internal and external purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (austerity), Svadhyaya (study of scriptures and repetition of Mantra) and Isvara-pranidhana (self-surrender to God).
3-Asana is steady pose.
4-Pranayama is regulation of breath. This produces serenity and steadiness of mind and good health.
5 Pratyahara is abstraction or withdrawal of the senses from their objects. Thought practice Pratyahara you can look within and can have introversion.
6-Dharana is concentration of the mind on any object, or internal Chakra, or Ishta-Devata or tutelary Deity.
7-Dhyana, meditation or an unceasing flow of ideas connected with one object. This leads to:
8-Samadhi, where the meditator and the meditated become one. All the Vrittis or waves of the mind subside. The mind ceases functioning. All the Samskaras, impressions and Vasanas (tendencies and subtle desires) are burnt in toto. The Yogi is freed from births and deaths. He attains Kaivalva or enlightenment.
Jnana Yoga (The Path of Spiritual Insight)
Jnana Yoga is the path of knowledge. Moksha is attained through Knowledge of Brahman. Release is achieved through realization of the identity of the individual soul with the Supreme Soul or Brahman. The cause for bondage and suffering is Avidya or ignorance. The little Jiva foolishly imagines, on account of ignorance, that he is separate from Brahman. Avidya acts as a veil or screen and prevents the Jiva from knowing his real, divine nature. Knowledge of Brahman or Brahma-Jnana removes this veil and makes the Jiva rest in his own Sat-Chit-Ananda Svarupa (Essential Nature as Existence-Consciousness-Bliss Absolute).