If you’re serious about Yoga, and want to attain the highest levels of strength, relaxation and flexibility and want to take it to a ‘spiritual’ level, here’re the steps you’ve got to cross one by one.
Yama and Niyama
The first tenet of yoga is daily practice till the ethics become a part of life. One has to believe and pursue a categorized course of training from anuvrata to mahavrata and subject oneself to a series of lessons in positive and negative principles, the observances (niyama) and the restraints (yama).
Asana and Pranayama
Postural training or the various physical exercises form a part of Hathayoga, which is essential to first enable one to keep fit, if s/he is not. These body-control instructions should be followed methodically and meticulously. The next part of Hathayoga is the respiratory control. The life-sustaining bio-energy can be regulated to attain a kind of immunity from natural elements only if one is able to acquire a mastery over his breath.
It is a technique of abstraction or dissociation of the mind from sensory fetters by controlling the senses both external (bahiranga) and internal (antaranga) thereby bridging the hiatus between the body and the mind. The process involves relaxation, centralization, visualization and introversion.
Dharana and Dhyana
This method starts with concentration and progresses to a ceaseless flow of meditation. The mind is withdrawn within and an effort is made towards an achievement of a pure body and mind, the ultimate goal being Kaivalya or the consciousness absolute.
This is the final stage of yoga when a person attains trance-consciousness. He remains motionless and there is a momentary suspension of the life force. It is a moment of perpetual bliss and eternal peace when one is laid to rest in both body and mind and “can see into the life of things”.
Five Points to Note
According to Swami Vishnudevananda, proper exercise, proper breathing, proper relaxation, proper diet, and positive thinking are the five points that can help you reap the benefits of Yoga to the fullest.