Integral yoga was created by Sri Swami Satchidananda, and it combines various forms of yoga to give the student a healthy life and peaceful mind. It is a scientific system. This form of yoga practice aims to transform the entire being by putting equal emphasis on breathing control, meditation and postures. It is also used for therapeutic purposes and is well known for its use in heart disease.
What are Principles of Integral Yoga?
Integral yoga is a form of hatha yoga that incorporates several aspects and integral elements of the yoga philosophy and meditation. One who practises integral yoga will engage their physical body, mind and spirit as they connect to the source energy within. The main integral elements of integral yoga as defined by its founder are proper breathing techniques, including deep diaphragmatic breathing, a series of integral yoga poses and meditation.
The main principles of integral yoga are as follows:
- To surrender oneself entirely to the divine consciousness
- Keeping the body strong and flexible to achieve supramental transformation and live with a powerful human mind
- Meditation should flow naturally from the practice of yoga, which enables integral yogis to live in the present moment
- Integral yogis should live a vegetarian lifestyle in order to sustain their yogic practices throughout their lives and achieve spiritual transformation
- Integral yoga is based on the idea that every integral yogi has a specific path to follow in order to reach personal enlightenment; they must listen to themselves, their bodies and what they want to achieve from their spiritual practice instead of just following a set of physical poses.
In every human experience, integral yoga aims to attain divine life via selflessness and courage. An integral yoga therapist can assist you in achieving mental, spiritual and physical transformation so that you can develop an illumined mind that is far beyond the higher mind and capable of embracing gnostic knowledge regarding human-universe connectivity.
The physical practice of yoga targets these eight goals:
- physical health and strength
- controlling the senses
- clearing, calming and disciplining the mind
- striving for a higher level of intellect
- strong will
- love and compassion
- a purer ego
- peace and joy
Integral yoga also aims to live harmoniously with all other people as part of one universal family. To do this, students need to achieve the above goals.
Styles Used in Integral Yoga
Integral yoga consists of several branches of yoga in its teachings. The following are some of the forms used:
- Raja Yoga – the path of concentration and meditation
- Japa Yoga – a part of Raja yoga with japa meaning the repetition of a mantra
- Hatha Yoga – uses postures, breath control, relaxation and cleansing practices to strengthen and cleanse both the body and mind
- Karma Yoga – the path of selfless service
- Bhakti Yoga – the path of devotion
- Jnana Yoga – involves using the intellect
Source: Integral Yoga Magazine
Benefits of Integral Yoga
Practising integral yoga offers more health benefits than traditional forms of yoga. Anyone, regardless of age or health condition, can do it because the sequence may be adapted to any level of fitness ability or age. Some of the main benefits include:
- Improved breathing and breath awareness
- Increased focus and concentration
- Stronger muscles
- Better posture, balance and coordination
- Boosted metabolism
- Reduced stress levels
- Higher spiritual consciousness
Integral Yoga Classes
Integral yoga classes are spiritual and guide the student to look inwards to experience the effects of the posture. In no way are the classes competitive. To calm the mind and relax the body, silence, awareness and acceptance are practised.
A typical class begins with a short chant before going into 45 minutes of postures. This is then followed by sessions of deep relaxation, breathing exercises and silent meditation.
There's no better time than now to begin practising integral yoga and achieve a complete transformation of your mind, body and spirit. Contact a certified integral yoga therapist or, better yet, visit the practitioner listing pages to get a complete list of yoga teachers in your area.Originally published on May 29, 2007