Hatha yoga and Raja Yoga are one … Hatha is the preliminary stage which involves cleansing the physical body and attending to mental, emotional imbalances. When one is able to sit with ease and complete awareness, it leads to the heights of Raja yoga. When we are able to create a sense of lightness and clarity, we are able to establish our most natural state of being! Children when seen playing, laughing, smiling and carrying on, they are not particularly looking at achieving a specific result, worrying about what tomorrow brings nor lamenting about what happened yesterday. Instead, they simply be, connecting, and interacting in the present. We have forgotten our most natural state, so the journey begins …
“The word asana (body posture) is derived from the sanskrit root asa-bhuvi meaning to be, to stay, to exist. This suggests that the application of asana is not about ‘becoming’ something but discovering what is already present, not about ‘gaining enlightenment’, but redeeming the sahajawasta (natural state) which is the abode of the human soul”. ~ Shandor Remete
Given that our external environment and today’s superimposed busy lifestyle stops us from being able to sit pain free, disturbance free, then some preliminaries are suggested.
Shatkarmas – traditional cleansing practices of head, chest, abdominal, and lower regions.
Asanas – various dynamic postures to allow us to come back the original seat – asana.
Pranayama – The experience of regulating and expansion of inhalation, breath retention and exhalation opens the gate way into the state of pranayama. Yes, pranayama is not a practice but a state of being. The practice of regulating your breath work is known as prana nigraha!
Pratyahara – Withdrawal of the senses, inner silence and emptying negative mental impressions which covers our most inner state.
Raja yoga …
Dharana – Cultivating one pointedness, concentration and focus. A traditional method of meditation. The nature of the mind is that it accepts and rejects, it hops from one idea to another like a monkey swinging from branch to branch. So therefore, the mind needs an anchor. The anchor can be mantra, visual symbols or simply the observation of natural breath and the hidden sound (ajapa japa).
Dhyana – By clocking in your hours of dharana practice, a continuous flow of consciousness unfolds, external concepts are dropped, this is known as dhyana. This is the official stage of meditation.
Samadhi – There are different levels of this state which a spiritual teacher is required. No books, no apps will be able to do it for you! Free from attachments, free from repulsions and to be established in your true essential nature is samadhi.
Note: “First maintain your energy levels of body and mind, then with continuous practice (yoga abhyasa) the disciplines of yoga will be a natural progression in your development.