Yoga is a science to understand the system with which this whole universe, or cosmos, is functioning. The regular science requires outward materials to gauge and standardize its principles, whereas yoga requires inner spiritual aids to understand and use the cosmos system; in fact this is the only methodology which connects basic principles of philosophy and the ultimate theories of science.
Very unfortunately, Yoga, as it has originated from India especially from Hinduism, is misinterpreted as religious rather than philosophical, of course not to speak of scientific. Basically, Hinduism is not a religion but a philosophy, but whereas the followers of these principles, as per their own different interpretations, are religious. All the religions are based on the same philosophy but whereas the procedures and interpretations differ and this difference is called religion. Similarly, Hinduism is philosophy whereas the difference in interpretation and procedure of this philosophy created religious mentality. Yoga, as a science, based on experiments and results, explain philosophies of all the religions in scientific methods. There are two solid examples, in this direction, to prove this fact without doubt.
Secondly, another set of yogis, called Siddhars, explain the principles of mankind in terms of the science of yoga without any religious attachment; even they do not recognize the existence of God but recognize any God of any religion as the icon to develop faith in ourself. They are against any misinterpreted following of principle in any religion, especially of Hinduism. They say that there are no different religions but only one that is: understanding oneself is the religion and realization of oneself are God.
Any principle is scientific provided on an application of the principle, fulfilling the stipulated conditions, the mentioned result is achieved. On this basis, Yoga is also science as many experts on analysis and experiments have formulated theories and principles which do yield 100% stated results. Yoga, like Bhagwat Gita, is a psychological thesis for individual growth and through individual growth for the development of society and community.
A major characteristic of yoga is that even though divinity is present in all but only through Yoga it becomes fully manifest. There will always be the tug of war between temptation and morality in the usual course of human life, but this war is solved perennially by meditation, the part of Yoga. When we come to the part of vibrations present in human and in cosmos, you understand that yoga is the only science which has studied these vital vibrations; in fact, your vibration in tune with universal vibration is the realization of self, and if your vibrations are of universal vibration, then it is the realization of cosmos.
|Yoga is an art, a science, and a philosophy|
As honey is sweet from any part of the honeycomb, so is yoga. It enables every part of the human system to become attuned to its essence, the conscious seer within. Yoga alone enables the practitioner to perceive and experience the world within and around himself, to touch the divine joy of all creation, and then to share that nectar of divine wealth and happiness with his fellow beings.
Yoga is a friend to those who embrace it sincerely and totally. It lifts its practitioners from the clutches of pain and sorrow and enables them to live fully, taking a delight in life. The practice of yoga helps the lazy body to become active and vibrant. It transforms the mind, making it harmonious. Yoga helps to keep one's body and mind in tune with the essence, the soul so that all three are blended into one. However, to make use of perceptions towards one's goal against temptations, 'discipline of mind and will power' are required, and to censor and convert one's personal values towards one's goal 'will achieve' is required.
Yoga is of four chapters viz. Perception, Values, Concentration and Vibration. The joining with vibrations with absolute concentration without perception and values is called Samadhi, and this is of 3 stages: the first one: the involvement with vibrations is the bliss, i.e Amanda; the second: joining with vibrations is self-realization, or seeing God, i.e Samadhi, and the third: the merging with vibrations is to become one with cosmos, i.e Mukthi. The yogis are scientists in Yoga Science having got expertise and specialization in attaining Samadhi/Mukthi with retaining human form to serve humanity as a matter of gratitude because of which they are able to attain this position.
B.K.S.Iyengar in his book, 'The Tree of Yoga', nearly all the yogis and sages were married and had the family life. Family life is so vital for yogic principles that even Sankaracharya, through an another body, experienced the family life and came back to his original body. Sex is important for human life and yoga teach how to enjoy but at the same time to make use of the potential sexual synergy for one's philosophical upliftment. sexual orgasm is a sample of a taste of merging the 'I' with 'vibrations'. Sex within absolute morality makes one understand the meaning of 'Maya' often used in Hindu script and 'realizations' stated in yogic scrips.
Bachelorhood may be of avoiding sexuality in certain religions, but according to Yoga, the bachelorhood, otherwise called Brahmacharya in Indian languages, means the control of sexuality for accepted enjoyment and purpose; that means bachelorhood means happy married life with giving enjoyment and retaining the potential energy.
Coming to Yoga, Yoga mainly deals with:
- Discipline and Control
- Perceptions and Values
- Concentration (including concentrated involvement with inner self)
- Even though we don't deal with these factors in detail in this introduction, we deal elaborately in different chapters.
3. Values and natural creative inputs (required for segregation and identification of sensory messages by mind)
4. Ego and Personal Values (priority to either one is decision making)
There are three tiers in Yoga namely physical, mental and spiritual.
1. Karma Yoga: Science of Duty.
Path of right actions - for people who are habitually very active in right direction.
2. Jnana Yoga: Science of intelligence.
This is of rational inquiry for the people of rational temperament for whom reason appeals more than faith.
3. Raja Yoga: Science of mind - principles of Patanjali's Sutras.
Path of psychic control for the people of meditative temperament with the natural yearning for completely master of their minds.
4. Bhakti Yoga: Science of devotion and surrender.
For the people of temporarily emotional easily sentimental and respond to care and affection. We can also say that it is for the dependent people.
5. Hatha Yoga - Science of Will.
Patanjali is the expertise scientist in Yoga Science, and his 8 steps discipline to Yoga are:
1. Yama: Control of organs of actions - i.e restraining harmful thoughts and impulses.
2. Niyama: Control of organs of perception - i.e cultivating good habits.
The above two are of social and individual ethical disciplines.
3. Asana: Learning sitting postures suitable for prolonged contemplation - i.e to bring physical and physiological functions into harmony with the psychological pattern of yogic discipline.
4. Pranayama: Learning the techniques of rhythmic breathing - i.e to bring respiratory and circulatory systems into a harmonious start.
5. Pratyahara: Withdrawing the senses from their objects of enjoyment - the i.e inward journey of the senses from the skin and perceptions toward to the core of being.
The above three are of an evolution of individual to the understanding of SELF.
6. Dharana: Fixing the mind on the object of contemplation - i.e focusing the attention on the core of the being.
7. Dhyana: Uninterrupted contemplation, also called meditation, - i.e unity of observer and observed as being one is learned in dhyana.
8. Samadhi: The body, mind, and soul are united and merged with universal spirit - i.e total absorption of the mind in the object of contemplation.
The last four above are the experience of sight of Soul.
B.K.S.Iyengar states that these disciplines are like a tree wherein Yama is the root of the tree, similarly Niyama being the trunk, Asana being branched, Pranayama being leaves, Pratyahara being bark, Dharana being sap, Dhyana being flower and lastly Samadhi is the fruit ( refer his book, 'The Tree of Yoga' for details).