Yoga offers an integral system aimed at total health and well-being – physical, mental and spiritual.
Yoga practices range from health practices advised in Hatha Yoga through psychological readjustments and culture within Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga, to techniques to aid spiritual states of consciousness in meditation through Raja Yoga. Each student selects for himself the self-disciplines that are required for his own growth and refinement.
It was recognized that although body and mind are intimately connected, it was wise to begin training with the physical disciplines of Hatha Yoga before attempting mind control. It is still common for a student to begin with Hatha Yoga which incorporates exercises, asanas, simple breathing exercises and other health practices before seeking further information.
Every student is introduced to certain exercises in pranayama which assist him to master respiratory function. It is considered as one of the most important of all the disciplines. Breath control is the means of increasing power and vitality and of helping to maintain a calm and balanced nervous system. Breath is also seen as the individual’s life line. By learning to control his breath, the yogi is encouraged to take responsibility for his own psychological health.
By vitalizing his body, emotions and his mind he is better able to become conscious of the deeper nature of his own soul and spiritual self.
However, good health and well-being is the result of all aspects of a person’s nature being aligned and integrated in harmonious co-operative functioning. Yogic techniques and methods are designed for this purpose. By these means, not only does physical vitality improve but one feels happier through learning to control and re-direct emotional energy.
Through relaxation, concentration and meditation the mental faculties are developed, resulting in freedom from stress and increased creativity of mind.
After serious attention to integration of all aspects of one’s nature and practising meditation for an unspecified time period, which can be months or years, the spontaneous great transcendental spiritual experience of Samadhi is anticipated. It exemplifies ‘success’ in reaching an expanded and elevated supreme state of consciousness of the Oneness of life and of the power and love which pervades the universe. It is the pinnacle of human experience in consciousness and brings with it a sense of total well being.