ZÚlia de Toledo Piza
Yoga is inserted inside of the Hindu tradition that has more than a million years. They were being, through the times, explained and enlarged inside of the basic book of the Hindu tradition - the Vedas.
Those registrations created the six systems of Hindu philosophy. Among those six systems it is the one of Raja Yoga that was codified, about two hundred years before Christ, by one of the great wise persons of India, known as Rishi Patanjali.
Gathering all the scattered data in the Vedas, he formulated a practical and scientific method of reaching the individual accomplishment and to entering in contact with deep interior states. That method includes all the other classifications of Yoga.
Raja Yoga is constituted of four phases: the first is moral, the second is energy, the third are psycho-mental and the fourth is spiritual. To complete those four phases, the disciple needs to pass by eight stages.
Moral phase - Bhakti Yoga - Yamas - abstention of doing the evil
- Niyamas - practice of the good
Energy phase - Hatha Yoga - Asanas - corporal attitudes
- Pranayama - domain of Prana, the vital energy
Mental phase - Jnana Yoga - Pratyahara - abstraction of the senses
- Dharana - concentration
Spiritual phase - Raja Yoga - Dhyana - meditation
- Samadhi - contemplation.
The accomplishment should be simultaneous and progressive.
The practice of Yamas and Niyamas is essential; to practice the superior phases without the first, instead of balancing, it unbalances.
Let us see what those phases are.
MORAL PHASE = BHAKTI YOGA
The masters affirm that without a solid moral basis, no progress is gotten in the road of the initiation.
First step - Yamas
They are the five interdictions, in other words, that which we should not practice.
Ahimsa - no violence - not to exalt, not to fight
Asteyam - not to steal
Satya-graha - not to lie
Brahmacharya - not to degenerate the sex
Aparigraha - not to attach to the things of the world
Second step - Niyamas
They are the five prescriptions, in other words, that which the disciple should practice.
Sadhana - purity
Santosa - happiness
Saucham - serenity
Svadhyaya - study
Ishwara Pranidhana - harmonization with the Universe
ENERGY PHASE - HATHA YOGA
It studies the physical body and the performance of the energies for maintenance of the health. It studies the natural Laws that govern the life. As the physique is sustained by the energies of the vital body, it presents techniques of domain of the called energy Prana, cosmic energy, originated from the called primordial energy Fohat. As one of the main entrances of that energy is by the breathing, the techniques begin by teaching several ways of breathing efficiently.
First step - Asana
The balance of the physical body depends on the distribution of the energy of Prana that circulates in our vital body, and that is exactly the energy that is addressed by the acupuncture.
The stage corresponding to Asana is summarized in practicing certain postures that juxtapose the centers of energy intensifying its circulation through the body.
Two positions are recommended to the beginners for practice of breathing exercises and meditation.
l. PURAS┬NA - seating position, without leaning in the back rest of the chair. Hands flattened on the knees. Close your eyes. Bust erect naturally. Muscles well relaxed.
2. SAMAN┬SANA - seating position in the ground, on a soft rug, open thighs and moved away, legs crossed in front of the body; bust erect and column in the vertical. Close your eyes.
Other positions should be taken under specialized person's supervision that sees the movement of the energy.
Let us see some breathing exercises that can be executed in those positions:
BREATHING COMPLETE = PRANA-KRIYA
The man, usually, breathes without using all the lung capacity what reduces the contact with the vital energy. The breathing is that maintains the Life.
The lung can be divided in three areas.
The man usually uses the medium part. Little uses the inferior and
never the superior what forms a favorable field to the development of certain diseases,
as the tuberculosis, for instance.
Then the importance of the breathing complete, which will take the man to absorb larger amount of oxygen and Prana.
To begin the complete breathing, firstly to contract the abdomen well, lifting the diaphragm and expelling the air of the lungs. For the inspiration, to take the belly to distend outside at the same time that aspirates the air by the nose.
The lung doesn't have own musculature. It is the diaphragm that moves it.
Being the lower and middle lung full of air, getting the most out of the abdomen and hold air, and slightly raise your shoulders to the top of the lungs fill with air.
We should imagine, during the whole phase of the inspiration, that we are absorbing Prana.
Retain the air for a few seconds thinking that Prana is being absorbed.
For the expiration, to lower the shoulders slowly and to go loosening the abdomen at the same time in that you go loosening the air by the nostrils. Contract the abdomen to the maximum to empty the lung completely. Imagine that all of the residues, as well as all of the evils are being expelled.
The breathing occurs, naturally, now more intensely by the right nostril, now more intensely by the left nostril. That easily can be verified by the own apprentice of the breathing.
In the alternate breathing, we will induce the air to some times pass by one of the nostrils, other times by other, closing the nostril that is not breathing, with the index finger of the right hand put in the forehead, in the high of the nose, using some times the middle finger, other times the thumb to close the nostrils.
We inspire by the left nostril, blocking the right, it is kept, the finger is changed to obstruct the left and we expire by the right. The inspiration is resumed, now by the right nostril, keeping and expiring by the left. It is resumed now by the left and so on.
Second step - Pranayama
It is Prana that produces the movement of the lung, resulting in the rhythm of the breathing.
To intensify the amount of Prana, it should be made the breathing exercises before.
Pranayama is equal to the alternates breathing that will be accompanied of the mantrÔ OM that should be pronounced mentally.
MENTAL PHASE = JNANA YOGA
It should be practiced after the breathing exercises and after the application of the mental in reasoning processes. The disciple should make the mental, under the control of the will, to discourse on problems, subjects and objects, without dispersing, in other words, with complete concentration capacity.
First step - Pratyahara
The disciple should get to stay without thinking. Closed eyes, immobile body, normal breathing, impeding the manifestation of any thought, what is extremely difficult for the man without training in Yoga.
The domain of the mind is not immediate. It will go having a progress along the practice of Yoga.
Second step - Dharana
Our physical mind is part of the mind cosmic, Universal, therefore, in his heart, they are contained all the wisdom and all the powers of the Universe. To reach that state of supra-conscience it is necessary to train the mind through those Yogas. Dharana seeks the mental concentration.
After calming the mind, the disciple should apply it in only one object, of physical nature, until getting to capture all their vibrations. It should only later make the concentration in symbols or ideas.
SPIRITUAL PHASE = RAJA YOGA
First step - Dhyana
These stages superiors are difficult of being described in words.
They should be preceded by the breathing exercises and by the training of the mental concentration.
Dhyana is the meditation and in her the supra-conscience acts.
Meditation is not to think or to ratiocinate on certain object or subject. Unlike that, it demands that no mental formulation is made and that there is just the contemplation of the object or of the idea.
As training, the disciple should practice very well the phase Jnana, exercising the reasoning well. To meditate, however, is to have the mind completely empty, with the fixed thought in an object or idea and, as consequence, the natural flow of the mind goes on penetrating the depth of the same ones, without intervention of the reasoning.
The person simply comes across the Universal Wisdom.
Second step - Samadhi
The disciple integrates in the Great One Spirit of the Universe; he participates in the own nature of the Divinity, filling himself with Wisdom and Love.
Patanjali affirmed: Yoga is the ceasing of the mental modifications."
The yoguim starts to see the spirit of the things, of the objects and of the facts.To arrive to this point it is necessary that the disciple follows precisely the suitable instructions for each step of Raja Yoga