Hello friends this article will help you to understand what is Raja yoga and how to practice it. Please note this is not a professional Raja yoga training but this article will help you to understand what is raja yoga and how you can use some of its principles, in an easy way so that you will also get some benefits of Raja Yoga.
What is Raja Yoga and what does it teach ?
Raja Yoga is the science which teaches us how to gain the power of concentration. As per Raja Yoga human mind is the most powerful thing in the universe. Raja yoga teaches us, how we can observe the internal States (soul, mind, body) with the help of mind. Here you should be careful that you are knowing about mind (soul, mind, body) with the help of Mind itself.
It says that by analyzing the mind, one will get to know the reality of soul which is permanent and perfect. When a person realize the soul which is perfect, he will have no more desires & miseries – there will be a perfect Bliss. And this can be done only by concentration.
Study of Raja Yoga will take long time and constant practice. A part of Raja Yoga is physical but in the main it is mental. Raja Yoga also talks about the link between body and the mind. Like if the body is healthy, mind will also be healthy. And if the mind is disturbed, body also become disturbed. Both are interlinked. So Raja Yoga says that to get control over body and mind we must take certain Physical help.
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Raja Yoga say that the external world is the effect of internal cause. Means by controlling the internal (mind), one will be able to get the whole nature under his control. To say in simple words Raja Yoga say to get control over internal nature and through that control the whole – both internal and external.
Raja Yoga says that one should not sleep more or less, one should not eat more or less, and one should not work more or less. Else control over the mind is very difficult.
Now let us know how Raja Yoga can be practiced step by step. There are total 8 steps in Raja Yoga.
Yama and Niyama are moral training’s and without this it’s impossible to reach the higher stages.
Yama means avoiding unnecessary violence, stealing and receiving any gifts.
Niyama means cleanliness, being satisfied with what you have, austerity, study and self surrender to God.
Next step is Asana (Posture). Every day one should practice physical and mental exercises. one can choose Asana as per one’s wish but make sure your chest, neck and head should be in a straight line while you are sitting in that asana. First nerves should be purified before going to Pranayama. Breathing in and out slowly in a rhythmic manner will help in cleaning the nerves.
Pranayama is all about controlling the Prana (vital force in every being). There are many different types of Pranayama. But below you can find one of the Pranayama told by Swami Vivekananda.
Close your right nostril and fill the lungs with breathe, through left nostril for 4 seconds. Then close both the nostrils and hold the breath for 16 seconds. After that let out breathe, through right nostril for 8 seconds. It completes 1 Pranayama. Now repeat it by inhaling with right nostril, holding it and exhaling with left nostril. Do only 4 Pranayamas in a day in the starting, later you can increase it with practice.
There is no need to exactly count this 4 seconds – 16 seconds – 8 seconds but do the inhaling, holding and exhaling in the proportion. Pranayama also talks about how to raise Kundalini and more. But that should be practiced only in the presence of Guru (teacher).
Pratyahara and Dharana is all about reducing the thoughts in mind and fixing it on one single point. Human mind is the most restless thing in the universe. Controlling it is one of the difficult task. So now let us learn how to control it.
Sit alone for some time and let the mind run. Until you know what the mind is doing you cannot control it. Many thoughts will be coming and going. You just keep watching them. In first few months you will find that mind will have a great many thoughts. Later you will find that they have somewhat reduced and in a few more months they will be fewer and fewer, until at last the mind will be under perfect control. But we must patiently practice every day. This controlling of the mind and not allowing it to think of different things is pratyahara.
After you have practiced Pratyahara for a time, take the next step dharana.
Dharana means holding mind on one particular point. For example mind should be made to think of one point in heart. That is very difficult and easier way is to imagine a Lotus (with full of light) there.
If the mind has been trained to remain fixed on a certain internal or external point, then an unbroken power of current will flow into it. This state is called Dhyana
When one has intensified the power of Dhayana, as to be able to reject the external part of perception and remain meditating only on the internal part then that state is called Samadhi.
Following even a small part of Raja Yoga will reduce nervous excitement, bring calmness, better health, improve concentration and enable us to see things more clearly.
Thanks for reading.
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Venkataramana Modi ( simply Venkat ) a proud Hindu nationalist and a blogger by passion.
Founder @ connecthindu.com and Shri Ram Seva parivar