What is Yoga?

“Yoga is not just for physical fitness and mental peace alone, Yoga is for manifesting the state, space, powers, being, and superconsciousness of Paramashiva.” – HDH Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam

Yoga is one of the six philosophical systems of Hinduism. It is a sacred and scientific system to prepare the body mind system to hold the energy of enlightenment, the uniting of individual consciousness with cosmic consciousness, the superconsciousness of Paramashiva, the goal of which is reaching your highest potential as a spiritual being in a human body and the state of eternal bliss.

Eternal bliss is our true nature. Though it is buried in us through conditioning, limiting beliefs, and patterns that make us powerless, it is not forgotten. Our being knows it because in whatever we do, we consciously or unconsciously try to get back to this state of consciousness.

Yoga, essentially a Hindu ritual, is a holistic approach addressing the body, mind, emotions, and being of each individual.

What Yoga is Not

Exercise programs like Beer Yoga, Wine Yoga, or Pet Yoga are NOT yoga. These classes use yoga postures but focus entirely on the outside and use intoxicants. Doing yoga with a pet may be cute but again, it is outside oriented. Original yoga as intended by Lord Shiva himself focuses on going within, the only way to reconnect with your true nature and experience eternal bliss.

“When you practice authentic yoga you are working with an independent intelligence, a science to awaken the inner potential energies in you. When you add your own twist to yoga, it changes this internal process and brings a different effect on your physiology, psychology and neurology.” says Sri Nithya Drdananda

“You cannot reduce yoga to a physical exercise. Meditation cannot be reduced to something that can provide you with a little bit of peace. No! These practices have much deeper and sacred meanings.” – HDH Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam

Who is the Founder of Yoga?

Paramashiva, the Ultimate, is the originator of yoga based on the Veda Agamic Scriptures. He is beyond the manifest and the unmanifested existence and comes by different names and human incarnations. In the above image Lord Shiva comes as the great yogi with a japa mala in his right hand, the damaru in his left hand represents the creation of the universe through the sound AUM, and a snake around his neck symbolizes the kundalini shakti in every human being present. One of the yoga functions is to raise kundalini shakti to the crown center to unite their with Paramashiva, the ultimate but not final uniting, to be in eternal bliss, the purpose of yoga. Only much later, around 500 BC, yoga was organized into the yoga sutras of the rishi Patanjali.

Classic Categories of the Yoga System

In ashrams all over India and other parts of the world these categories are integrated into one holistic system that is often named after its founder like Shivananda Yoga.

  • Raja Yoga, the kingly path, a comprehensive 8-part system from behavior, purification, and meditation to samadhi including Hatha Yoga popular in the West but misleadingly simply named as Yoga. As per definition by Swami Satyananda Saraswati’s Bihar Yoga, Raja Yoga includes Kundalini Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Dhyana Yoga as described in the Bhagavad Gita, and Patanjali Yoga.
  • Bhakti Yoga for heart-centered, devotional beings. It comprises of rituals like puja, abhishekam, and homa, chanting of mantras, creating home temples, establishing and visiting Hindu temples, pilgrimages to holy places established and made sacred by incarnations.
  • Jnana Yoga for intellect-based beings who thrive on knowledge and discussions. Debates are not to convince the opponent about one’s views about a question or interpretation of a Hindu scripture but to explore the meaning of the sacred truths and internalize them again and again. During Adi Shankaracharya’s time these debates were held in public and everyone could learn and expand. Knowledge as imparted by the Guru is knowledge directly downloaded from the Akashic Records.
  • Karma Yoga, the yoga of service which includes volunteering at ashrams, aadheenams, or temples in many areas from cutting vegetables and cleaning dishes to translations, supervising workers, and social media promotions.
Yoga Teachers Training

When considering becoming a yoga teacher it is important to do a little research. Who is going to train you? What are their qualifications? Most importantly, what is the quality of the training and its content including initiations, certain techniques, and that which is beyond body, mind, and emotions, which only a true yoga master, avatar or enlightened being, can help you with.

The founder of Nithyananda Yoga, HDH Sri Nithyananda Paramashiva, started his yoga training as a 3-year old child up to the age of 13. He was trained daily by a true yoga master for about 6 hours every single day for 10 years. Eventually Nithyananda became a Master in Yoga, a great yogi, himself and now offers yoga teachers training.

“Nithyananda Yoga is unique in that it not only works on the physical level or mental level but on 7 layers of the body called as Koshas in Vedic tradition. Nithyananda Yoga emphasizes on the chanting of the original verses written in the Yogic scriptures while performing the Asanas, to give credit to the source and as a way to authenticate the Yoga practice with a time-tested tradition.” Source: Nithyanandapedia.org

In stark contrast is yoga teachers training in the West where a yoga teachers training goes anywhere from 2 or 3 week to a few months over the weekend and being certified for 200, 300, or 500 hours of training only. Who would you rather learn from?

Yoga Resources

Follow the Links below for some amazing yoga resources.

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