Why has this path of Yoga earned the title, "Royal?"
- It is holistic, containing the seeds of the other branches of Yoga
- It presents the fundamental theory and practice of Yoga completely and clearly, always emphasizing the practical
- It is remarkably free from dogma and sectarianism, making it approachable for any student of any spiritual tradition.
Raja Yoga is based on the classic text of Yoga theory and practice: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. If you have ever wondered why many people refer to Yoga as a science, take a tour of the Yoga Sutras. This extraordinary text is a manual for transcending all artificial notions of self and the universe we live in, and experiencing the liberation of Self-realization. The Sutras speak with clarity and authority on the inner workings of consciousness, the purpose of creation, and on suffering and the means to transcend it.
Sage Patanjali, the originator of this text, lived about about 2000 years ago. His ideas on Yoga were not new, but he presented them in such a clear, concise way, that they have become the single most utilized and revered of all yogic texts.
The central teachings of Raja Yoga include:
- Techniques - including meditation, nonattachment, and leading a dedicated life - for bringing the mind to a still, stable, clarity
- Essential teachings on moral and ethical precepts that form the background for all spiritual life
- The role that Nature plays in the process of learning and growth
- A holistic eightfold path that gently, but surely guides practitioners to the highest spiritual attainment:
Yama - universal moral precepts Niyama - observances for spiritual growth Pranayama - breath control, or regulation of the vital force Pratyahara - sense regulation Dharana - focusing of attention Samadhi - absorption or superconscious state
Today, there are many Yoga studios and schools of Yoga. Yet, if you look at just about any of them, you will find at least some of the essential teachings of Raja Yoga at their foundation.
To read about any of the six major branches of Yoga, please visit:
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