History and Traditions of Yoga

Yoga is one of the 6 major Indian classical schools of philosophy within the ancient system of the Vedas. Although something is known of the development of some aspects of the yogic methodology and several great yogis are known to us from that early period, in the west we are humbled by the immensity of the coverage of subject matter in Vedic teachings. We would be overwhelmed by the studies necessary to understand in depth its wisdom. Nor are we in a position to fully evaluate the accumulated contributions made to the science over the thousands of years of its existence by the wise. Even Indian scholars find it difficult to penetrate the extent of its teaching and rely upon traditional legend to provide them with a basis for their insight and understanding.

The Vedas would seem to be the blanket wisdom teachings from antiquity which inherently possessed or perhaps gave birth to the methods for developing spiritual consciousness by which we identify the branch of the teaching known to us as Yoga.

Yoga as a philosophy is traditionally woven into the living mental fibre of all people of any race and culture who accept natural ethical and moral laws and precepts and seek to integrate these universal teachings into their lives.

The law of Karma and consideration of re-incarnation although considered a new concept by many in western culture is understood as a natural human recycling experience by those tutored in cultures that have embraced the idea for thousands of years. Our opinions matter little when considered the truth of this law. Nature’s laws function, whether we observe them working or not. Personal confirmation will remain as our only proof and this can only come to us through our own experience.

To seek the truth in physics or science is one thing. To try to prove a non-material law can be a waste of time when we have every great spiritual teacher instructing us similarly regarding life certainties and laws. Eternal truths, when embraced, offer us a support to move forward with acceptance of the larger issues, and encourage us to apply what we know to our advantage. This is the advantage of a tradition that focuses upon age-old truths and the wisdom of great men and teachers who have lived, and still live in various countries and cultures throughout the world.

Yogic disciplines commence with the aim to know God. Its methods are designed to discipline the body, emotions and the mind in order to focus upon the wisdom within our soul self.  It is this that prepares us to know the reality of our own soul before the ultimate spiritual reality when we experience a sense of at-one-ment with Universal Consciousness.

This expanded awareness is not possible without first consciously releasing ourselves from the enslavement of self consciousness of the personality ego. We must be able, having first built up our different parts of the personality, to let go our selves – to become selfless. This is so easy to say, so hard to do. The personality is designed to express itself and to defend its existence. Much of our early years of life are spent in building up the strength of the personality and asserting our individuality, and asserting our personal free will.

We then have to learn to re-evaluate life with selflessness as the requirement if we wish to seek wider adventures in consciousness.

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