The kriya or practice of yoga is based upon three major pillars: mortification, introspection, and respect for the cosmic will (ref. 1:2 Yoga Sutras). By mortification we gain the purity of body. By the practice of introspection we achieve the clarity of mind. And by respecting the cosmic will, we merge with the cosmic divinity.
The structure of practice of yoga is provided in Sutra 28:2 of the Yoga Sutras. It specifies that “after the destruction of psychophysical impurities, the eight component parts of yoga are to be accomplished one after the other to lead the mind into cosmic dimension.” Yamas and niyamas are a set of definite practices. The practice of them provides the correct state of mind and a sense of surrender, which are important prerequisites of a successful yoga practice. Nonviolence, truthfulness, and celibacy are very important milestones to be achieved prior to entering the practices of yoga. The subjects of cleanliness and contentment are not mere philosophical assertions. They are in fact actual practices every practitioner must follow and accomplish. The yamas and niyamas are disciplines that are absolutely indispensable in the path of yoga.
On the achievement of these disciplines one practises asanas. Asanas are a set of psycho-physical practices. Asanas prepare our body to be the foundation of the spiritual practices of yoga. It raises one’s psycho-physical state to a point when the needs, conflicts and vulnerabilities of the body are no more. This is a state of zero biological need and complete psycho-physical fulfillment and indifference. Like the other limbs of yoga, the practice of asana too has a point of completion. On its successful completion one does not practise asana anymore. The siddhis or the benefits of the practice are permanent and irreversible in nature. We do not consider any other practices in the name of asana as Yoga.
Pranayama is the stopping of the breathing process after the achievement of asanas. Contrary to the world opinion, pranayama is not a healthy modification or alteration of the rhythm of breath. It is not a process to increase oxygen supply to the body, nor is it a process to cleanse gaseous or bioplasmic impurities. Anyone with elementary knowledge in Sanskrit would read the sutra 49:2 as the stoppage of breath. The pranayama or stoppage of breath of yoga is not meant for a ‘spiritual suicide’. It is designed to transcend the wisdom of the practitioner beyond our perceptions of time and space. Pranayama is the applied physics of experiencing the fourth dimension. It achieves a state of absolute wisdom. Pranayama acquires millions of years of evolution within a lifetime. We do not consider any of the new-age alternative breathing styles (even with Sanskrit names) as pranayama. Medical science considers alternative breathing patterns, hyperventilating breath, and interference of the natural breathing rhythm as harmful to one’s body and mind.
Pratyahara is the actual practice of altering the ambition of the senses and preparing the mind for concentration. By the successful accomplishment of this practice, a practitioner achieves complete mastery over the senses. Sensual desires never distract a practitioner anymore, and the practitioner comes to possess the enormous powers of all the sensory organs and is free to use them to further the depth of concentration and meditation.
Meditation is a state where the practitioner realizes the oneness with the object of meditation. It is a state of complete fusion with the object of meditation by both frequency and wave length. It is characterized as the elementary fusion with the cosmic entities. Meditation opens a pathway for deeper and greater spiritual absorption. The state of subsequent greater absorption is called Samadhi. Samadhi is a state of complete equanimity with the physical elements of the cosmos. It is a state where a practitioner identifies himself as the cosmos and not as an individual. The complete fusion and absorption into the subtle entity of the cosmos is the final purpose of Yoga. This is the point of liberation of the individual.
Whilst practising and teaching yoga within the framework of the Yoga Sutra and other ancient scriptures and the definite principles of physics, we do not agree to any other styles or formats of practice in the name of yoga.