Yoga is the connection between the Spirit and God.
Yoga fulfills our wishes, granting us with physical health, mental health, emotional wellbeing and spiritual growth. It brings us motivation, inspiration, ambition, enthusiasm, patience, calmness and mental peace, and finally leads us to a life of happiness and bliss.
Yoga provides us with liberation and the key to command our thoughts, giving us ultimate freedom from the slavery of our own thoughts, leading us to trance-like states of being in which our thoughts and reality are suspended in moments of grace, and we enjoy what it means to truly be alive and free.
Yoga has eight steps that must be mastered in order. In order to progress, we must move from one step to the next – in order. To graduate from one step and move on to the next, we must have complete mastery over all other preceding steps.
These eight steps are:
- Yama (do not’s)
- Niyama (do’s)
- Asana (posture)
- Pranayama (conscious breathing)
- Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses)
- Dharana (focused concentration)
- Dhyana (meditation)
- Samadhi (trance)
Most practitioners of yoga and meditation never move past the first two steps of the eight-step yogic path. They remain stuck and confused about what to do and what not to do throughout the entirety of their lives.
1. YAM (DO NOT’S)
The first step in Yoga is Yam, which refers to the things we should not do, which is anything that aligns with the following characters:
2. NIYAM (DO’S)
The second step in Yoga is Niyam, which refers to what must be done. This includes anything that aligns with the following characters:
- Introspection (study of the self)
- Surrender to the Divine constitution with devotion and trust.
3. ASANA (POSTURE)
Asana is the physical aspect of yoga and is the third step on the path to freedom. Any posture which gives us comfort and stability is our personalized posture. A posture that causes us pain, instability and discomfort is not part of yoga. It might be a good form of physical exercise, a way for us to impress others or an excellent way to practice for a career in the circus, but has no real foundation in yoga. The body is not meant to take up a lot of the mind’s attention.
When the body is in good physical shape, it operates unconsciously and outside of our periphery of awareness. It is important that our minds not be distracted by our bodies for the mind to reach the state of suspended thought in trance. If we are distracted by pain, instability and discomfort, it takes our attention and awareness away from us, from our internal awareness and from complete thoughtlessness away to practice for a career in the circus, but has no real foundation in yoga.
Yogic stability – On the surface, yogic stability is often considered only a form of physical stability. In reality, yogic stability encompasses mental and emotional stability as well.
The mental and emotional states of people are impacted by their circumstances, relationships and daily lives. People often fluctuate between happiness and sadness, excitement and frustration, lust for life and suicidal states of mind. Yogic stability is the point of absolute stillness in between, without fluctuation in mental and emotional states of mind.
4. PRANAYAMA (CONSCIOUS BREATHING)
Pranayama, the fourth step in Yoga, is the practice of conscious breathing, with mindful use of the vital life force for our greatest benefit. It helps us to command and discipline our five senses, and prepares us to focus and concentrate.
5. PRATYAHARA (WITHDRAWAL OF SENSES)
The fifth step in Yoga is Pratyahara, the conscious withdrawal of our senses from the external world to our internal world. All five senses must stop absorbing information from our external environment so as to avoid possible distractions and to enhance internal awareness.
6. DHARANA (FOCUSED CONCENTRATION)
Dharana, the sixth step in Yoga, is the practice of intense concentration. Theoretically, it is believed that Dharana trains the mind to stay in stillness through use of incredible focus. By remaining in a stable and comfortable posture, we are better able to reach higher levels of focus by deactivating all the five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch) externally and diverting them within.
Our focus of concentration should always be constructive and our idol (point of focus) must always be a dharmic being.
7. DHYANA (MEDITATION)
Dhyana, or meditation, is the seventh step in Yoga. When all the five senses have stopped their external focus and have been diverted within, we are then able to reach a state of thoughtlessness, which is called meditation.
True authorities of meditation can easily demonstrate the impact and outcome of reaching true thoughtlessness by measuring their brain waves with an EEG. But how many of these leaders and advocates of meditation are actually able to enter a state of thoughtlessness themselves? If not, then how is this different from betraying innocent seekers?
There are only a rare handful of people in a given century who are capable to reach true meditation. All else are circus tricks. This is because meditation can only be accomplished when we attain mastery over the first 6 steps of Yoga.
Today, there are countless people who claim to be successful meditators who still possess characters of unethicality, immorality, manipulation and deceit, meaning they have not even crossed the first step on the eight-step path of yoga. As per the fundamental principles of yoga, without mastering Yam (Do not’s) and Niyam (Do’s), no one can move along the path to the next step. Yam and Niyam are prerequisites for us to be able to reach true states of meditation, which is step 7. These leaders who teach mindfulness and meditation are exploiting and fooling the innocent and needy.
8. SAMADHI (TRANCE)
Trance, or Samadhi, is the eighth and final step in Yoga. It is the absolute stillness of the mind which can be accomplished after Enlightenment. To have command over the state of thoughtlessness is to enter into samadhi/trance.
This is the highest possible accomplishment that can be reached through meditation. In a century, only a handful of people are capable of entering into trance.
No one can enter into the state of trance. The state of trance is the reflection of Divine embodiment, and is only possible through the Grace of God. When Divine becomes manifest through us, only then can we enter into the trance state of mind. Enlightened Masters know that God (the Creator) can only be found in the state of stillness.
With significant effort, a small fraction of us may be able to reach stillness or thoughtlessness through meditation. However, when in the state of samadhi, stillness and thoughtlessness become our natural state of being.