Raja Yoga – Yoga Of Holistic Healing
An important branch of Yoga, Raja Yoga is a one stop solution for complete and holistic healing. Raja Yoga possesses the positive power of influencing the life of human beings. Apart from harmonising with all spheres the physiological system, it also transforms the physical, mental, emotional, intellectual, occupational, social and spiritual being of a person.
Raja Yoga also helps an individual to alleviate himself/herself from all emotional and mental conflicts. It brings lasting peace and satisfaction in one’s life. One of the most prominent benefits of Raj Yoga is that it heals a person from the inside. However, the advantage of Raj Yoga is not just limited to the mind and body of a person, but it also brings harmony with other human beings and environment, at large. Raja Yoga is sometimes referred as Astanga or eight-limbed yoga. This is because there are eight aspects to the path to which one must attend. To know more about the eight limbs of Astanga Yoga, read through the following lines.
THE EIGHT LIMBS OF ASTANGA YOGA
Yama is the first limb of Ashtanga Yoga and comprises of the behavioural norms that need to be followed, to attain tranquillity of the mind. It mainly comprises of directives such as Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (celibacy) and Aparigraha (non-covetousness). These are essential for eradicating the element of fear and anger from the body.
Niyama controls the emotional aspect of a person, with the help of mental exercises to train the mind. Its directives involve Shaucha (internal and external purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (austerity), Svadhyaya ( the study of religious books and repetitions of Mantras) and Ishvarapranidhana (self-surrender to God, and His worship).
Asan or posture is a means to attain integration of mind and body, using physical activity. Contrary to the popular belief, asanas are not exercised, but activities which help to transmit the positive energies to the crown chakra. Apart from providing numerous physical health benefits, the various asanas aim to bring unison of the mind and the body with the spirit.
Just as the name suggests, (prana, which means life energy and Yama, which signifies control), pranayama is a way by which one can attain life force energy control, through breathing. The main goal of pranayama heads towards the awakening of the Kundalini Shakti at the Muladhara chakra. It is through breathing regulation that one can attain control over the life energies.
Once the above four limbs have been achieved, Pratyahara aims to attain the withdrawal of the senses of perception from their objects. It should not be linked to being the same as that of concentration or meditation. Instead, it aims to bring the awareness to reside deep within oneself, free from the senses and external world.
Dharana focuses on concentration and one-pointedness of the mind. For attaining an ideal concentration level, you need to follow the factors such as retention of breath, Brahmacharya, Satvic (pure) food, seclusion, silence, Satsanga (being in the company of a guru), and not mixing much with people. Concentration on Trikuti (the space between the two eyebrows) would help to control the mind.
Dhyana focuses on the importance of meditation. The basic of this limb is to involve oneself in a quiet activity that will help you leads to Samadhi. Social exclusion, less talk, no demands, no violence and limited eating and sleeping all contribute to Dhyana.
Samadhi can be described as enlightenment. To attain Samadhi, you need to remove obstacles which come as Avidya (ignorance), Asmita (egoism), Raga-Dvesha (likes and dislikes), Abhinivesha (clinging to mundane life).