“Come on inner peace, I don’t have all day!”
We know we are in a state of dramatic change when we witness a world leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, aiming to awaken people everywhere to the benefits of yoga and consciousness. It is a remarkable moment. With the endorsement of world leaders to ‘Om,’ stretch, breathe, and harmonise our minds and bodies, we are empowered to truly make the world a better place.
As we lead up to the International Day of Yoga you might be wondering what kind of yoga to practise and how you will know if it is the right fit for you. You won’t know until you try, which is what I did 22 years ago. My practice is Raja Yoga meditation. It is led by the Brahma Kumaris, a non-profit spiritual organisation with leadership held mainly by women and whose leader, Dadi Janki is a 100-year-old yogi, who recently visited the Peace Village Learning and Retreat Centre at New York.
History has left us with a variety of forms of yoga to practice, and each one emerged to assist some in a particular area in their lives. We can use yoga to liberate our body from physical discomfort or to liberate our minds from experiences of the past.
The word yoga itself means ‘union’ and additionally, its remembrance of the One. It generally refers to the union of the individual consciousness or soul with the Universal Consciousness, often referred to as God. With the modern day emphasis on physical health and fitness, many people think of yoga only as physical exercises–asanas or postures–but these are only the surfaced aspects of what many believe as the infinite of mind, body and soul.
There are various ‘paths of yoga’ that lead in some way toward this goal. They include:
Hatha Yoga: A system of physical postures, or asanas, whose higher purpose is to purify the body, giving one awareness and control over its internal states and rendering it fit for meditation.
Bhakti Yoga: All-surrendering devotion through which one strives to see and love the divinity in every creature and in everything, thus maintaining a constant worship.
Karma Yoga: Selfless service to others without attachment to the results and the performance of all actions.
Jnana (Gyana) Yoga: The path of wisdom, which emphasises the awakening of the intellect (opening the third eye).
Mantra Yoga: Centring the consciousness within through japa, or the repetition of certain universal root-word sounds representing a particular aspect of Spirit.
Raja Yoga: The royal or highest path of yoga, immortalised by Sri Krishna in the Gita and formally systematised in the second century BC by the Indian sage Patanjali, which combines the essence of all the other paths.
There have been different forms of Raja Yoga, which is the one I practise through the Brahma Kumaris and I have come to realise that if I have taken or given sorrow to anyone, it is an ideal practice. It takes one deeper into the subconscious, thus assisting one to realise the self and make any necessary shifts in one’s life.
By practising Raja Yoga through the Brahma Kumaris, I have discovered that it is not simply for sitting down to meditate. I can also practise while I am walking, eating, speaking and moving around, and find great benefit from raising my level of consciousness during these daily activities. In addition, by having union with God the Supreme Being, the love that is experienced becomes a means of absolving negative experiences of the past.
It takes one deeper into the subconscious, thus assisting one to realise the self and make any necessary shifts in one’s life.
The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (BKWSU) is an international non-governmental organisation, which intends to help individuals re-discover and strengthen their inherent worth by encouraging and facilitating a process of spiritual awakening.