Yoga philosophy says that all human beings want four things:
1. Expansion (Vistara)
All human beings wish to grow. They wish to become bigger mentally and dilate their psyche. Humans have the innate desire to experience higher and higher states of consciousness, which increases their awareness of God within.
2. Surrender (Rasa)
Humans want to take refuge in Parama Purusha (Supreme Entity). They take action and do their best, and then lay everything at the feet of their Beloved. To hold on to our ego is exhausting and frustrating, but to flow with the will of God is bliss.
3. Service (Seva)
Human beings want to do something noble with their lives. They wish to contribute to the welfare and happiness of others. They have a creative longing to give and share.
4. Peace (Shanti)
Human beings want serene, supreme, undisturbed peace. That which is without noise, without change, without blemish, eternal, perfect, is the state of oneness with the Divine.
What is the ultimate goal?
As the atma (soul) becomes more aware of its spiritual nature, the person lives according to these higher desires. So yoga is that science by which each jiva (entity) can pursue their spiritual longings and fulfill their destiny.
Yoga is the path of progress, moving from crudity to subtlety, from imperfection to perfection, from humanity to divinity. To do yoga is to elevate the mind and open the heart and strengthen one's health. This leads us to ananda (bliss).
This is the goal of all our goals.
Yoga requires karma (action). It requires you to do it.
Some people, some even very senior people, go around giving lectures and talks and like to misguide people into thinking that yoga is doing nothing and believing that you are already enlightened.
Yes it is certainly possible to be happy by being positive and just letting go of your tension and thoughts, but that is very different to attaining the state of nirvikalpa samadhi (supreme bliss).
Nowhere in any ancient yoga texts does it say "just believe that you are already enlightened and you will suddenly realize that you are there."
There is a precise science behind the system of yoga: sadhana (meditation), kiirtan (chanting), asanas (postures), pranayama (breath control), etc.
Belief actually has very little to do with it.
The great yoga master Pattabhi Jois said that Yoga is only 10% theory, and 90% practice. The theory is just there to give you a proper understanding as to why and how to do it.
Knowing lots of theories from reading endless books and attending convoluted lectures is worthless. In fact, it's actually detrimental because it adds to over-thinking and ego.
And it's a waste of your precious time.
Many people want a quick fix without doing any work. They want to pop a pill or take a drug. They'd rather hand their mental and emotional health to someone else. The pharmaceutical industry seizes on this weakness to make massive profits. But these drugs have horrible side effects.
Prozac for example (which is America's most prescribed anti-depressant) causes headaches, nausea, insomnia, jitters, and heart seizures. A Harvard study showed that 2 to 7 weeks of using Prozac made 3.5% of people taking it experience intensely violent and suicidal thoughts when they had no previous history of these conditions.
The desire to escape pain and feel happy is one of the most natural and instinctive desires. But to do it effectively, we need to take responsibility and be ready to transform our mind and our lives. The universe forces and challenges us to change and move forward. But if we fight it we get pain, and if we suppress that pain we get more pain, and not the good sort.
Our society teaches us through our education system, through beliefs from our parents, conditioning from advertising and the media, and religion, that we need do things that conform to their view before we can be happy. And most of the time we accept it and it becomes part of our perspective without us actually knowing it.
By regularly turning our attention within and breathing and moving with awareness, we can find the spiritual light inside all of us. Through regular yoga practice we can clear away a great deal of the clutter in our subconscious we've been taught to believe. It is through the regular practice that we reconnect to the source of love and bliss in all of us.
Could it be that finding bliss is as simple as the regular discipline of meditation and yoga postures? It is only through doing it regularly on a consistent basis that one can experience and know.
A powerful technique of yoga meditation is mantra. The word mantra comes from 'mano' which means mind. And 'tra' which means liberation. So it's the phrase or affirmation that liberates the mind.
Mantras are created by great yogi Masters and have three qualities: incantative (has a particular sound vibration), rhythmic (has a particular number of syllables), and ideative (has a particular meaning). Two of the most famous and widely practiced mantras are the siddha mantras:
Om Namah Shivaya (Salutations to Shiva)
Baba Nam Kevalam (Infinite Love Is All There Is)
If you sit quietly with your eyes closed and clear your thoughts then repeat one of these mantras mentally then this is a very powerful mediation. Do this for at least twenty minutes each day.You can also sing the mantra aloud. To hear the mantra sung click here,
Yoga is the practice which reconnects us to the sacred source. Shiva explained, "Samyogo yogo ityukto jiivátmá Paramátmánah."
In other words:
"Yoga is the process of uniting the individual consciousness and the Supreme Consciousness into one."
It's the journey of exploring our deep strength, inner peace and supreme bliss.