Universal Principles

Introduction to the Universal Principles of Yoga

Introduction to Yoga

Yoga is a time tested, powerful tool to help you blossom and reach your full human potential.  The seeds are all within you, Yoga is the water, the sunlight, the nutrients and the love they need in order to make your life vibrant, beautiful and full of sweet fragrance.  It is not a religion, it is really a science with which to develop your body, mind and spirit.  The ultimate goal of Yoga, which literally means, Union, is to reunite you with the Universal Source.  You may call this Universal Source by any name you wish, God, Brahman, Buddha Nature, Christ Consciousness, Krishna Consciousness, Allah, etc, Yoga is a pathway to bring you to the realization that you and this Universal Source are inseparably One.

There are many branches of Yoga, such as Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Laya Yoga, Nada Yoga, Karma Yoga, Kundalini Yoga to name a few.  These all have the same one goal, unification with the Universal Source, but each follow a different path to get there.  Depending on your personality one or the other path may suit you better. 

Universal Principles

Here is a description of some of the major branches of Yoga:

  • Bhakti Yoga: Emphasizes love as the pathway to liberation and Union.  This branch attracts those who are emotional in nature and have a strong longing to be reunited with their beloved creator.
  • Jnana Yoga: Emphasizes the intellectual and philosophical approach to penetrate the illusion of dualistic reality.  The practitioners of Jnana Yoga generally have a sharp mind and swift intellect.  They use the powers of discrimination and detached awareness to make progress.
  • Karma Yoga: Emphasizes right action and selfless service as the path to moksha (liberation).  This school is for those who have a strong desire to help others and have a capacity for work and action.
  • Kundalini Yoga: Emphasizes the activation of Kundalini Shakti for enlightenment.  This is probably the most powerful form of Yoga.  It is for those with a strong will and a passion for the Supreme and mystical.
  • Raja Yoga: Considered the Scientific approach, this branch emphasizes Sage Patanjali’s 8 step path to Self-Realization.  Raja Yoga is for those who have a holistic approach to life.
  • Mantra Yoga, Laya Yoga and Nada Yoga:  These forms of Yoga use the powerful science of Sound Vibrations to dissolve obstacles and empower the Yogi.  They are often a part of some of the Yoga systems listed above and suit those with a devotional attitude.

In this article I will expand on Raja Yoga as that is one of the most popular and prevalent Yoga system in use today.

As indicated above Raja Yoga employs Sage Patanjali’s  8 step path to achieve Union with the Supreme, also called the 8 limbs of Yoga (ashtanga) thus also the name Asthanga Yoga.  This 8 step system compromises of the following parts.   Yamas, Niyamas, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and finally Samadhi.  This 8 step path is designed to bring about physical, emotion and mental harmony; and in the advanced practices of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi lead to the cessation of thoughts allowing the mind to realize that Reality is indeed Singular, Whole and indivisible.

Here is a description of the 8 limbs of Raja Yoga:

  1. Yamas:  Yamas are self-restraints.  They are non-violence, truth, control of sexual energy, non-stealing and non-covetousness (non-greed).
  2. Niyamas:  Niyamas are self-observances.  There are 5 niyamas.  These are contentment, self-study, austerity, purity and devotion to the Lord.
  3. Asanas:  Physical poses and steady postures.
  4. Pranayama:  Control of the Vital Energy (prana) with the use of breathing exercises.
  5. Pratyahara:  Withdrawal of the senses and disassociation of the consciousness from the outside environment.
  6. Dharana:  Concentration.
  7. Dhyana:  Meditation.
  8. Samadhi:  Union and identification with the Supreme Consciousness.

The sincere, regular practice of Raja Yoga promotes health, happiness and insight.  Although the ultimate goal of Yoga is Union with the Supreme, many material benefits are also obtained by its practice.  Today, many diseases and ailments are treated via the use of Yoga asanas and pranayamas, and the stress reducing benefits of Yoga meditation are becoming more and more valuable to us given our hectic and frantic lifestyles.  Furthermore, the principles of truth, humility and other high values that Yoga promotes, are helping to offset some of the excessive materialism and greed that is eroding the spirit, joy and peace of our society today.

The most important aspect of Yoga Philosophy is that it is based on Self-Realization.  In other words, you are given the tools required, and using them you bring about the necessary transformations in yourself to reach your highest potential in life.  It is now often said, that the next great Yoga and Meditation teachers will arise from the West.  This is because generally the West has an empirical approach to things, as opposed to superstition and blind faith.  If something works it is embraced and utilized, if something does not prove to work, it is discarded as junk.  This is probably the reason why Yoga has grown in such popularity here in the West – because it works.  So dive in and reap the benefits.

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  1. Greg
    Greg says:

    I was tossed between studying Yoga or Tai Chi. After comparing both extensively I was still on the fence until I found your website. I knew right away that this was more than just an exercise course but I never realized how much more. It is mind boggling to see how much information you have gathered to share with your students. It is definitely much more than a teacher in a box, it is more like an entire cultural philospophy in a box for us to study and learn from. I look forward to reading, listening and learning more about Yoga and I thank you for having spent the time to put together this course. That alone is a treatment to your dedication to this ancient art.

  2. Sandy
    Sandy says:

    I find the more I read, the more I understand the importance of all you represent, and I am very excited to learn everything I can from you and this course. Yes, I am a new beginner…. Thank you for who are and what you do! Sandy

  3. Patricia Khan
    Patricia Khan says:

    I find that following the Raja Yoga path continues to guide me in my journey in life to be a better person….physically, mentally, psycholigically, spiritually. Personally this path far exceeds my past religious instructions for living.

    KATHERINE says:

    I love this training course. So much material and information, I hesitated to sign up, for fear of SCAMS…this is no scam, it’s the real deal. Lots of knowledge, more than you’ll get in the Teacher in a Box! Love Love Love this program!

  5. Miriana
    Miriana says:

    Hi there Anmol,
    I was a little sceptic before registering and paying for your Meditation Training program
    but as I’m going through it I’m realizing that I made a proper step.
    The material presented on your website is vast and rich.
    You give me an impression of a good and deeply compassionate person.
    I can feel your unique approach in life and I thank you for it.
    I love the stories you attached to your website, for they radiate an enormous and blissful wisdom.
    I’m glad that you selected some of Osho’s material because Osho was and still is one of my greatest teachers.
    Thank you for being yet another inspiration in my life.
    Hope you’ll have a beautiful Ashram one day and teach generations to come.
    As I’m flipping the pages of your deed I’m learning and holding you in my heart.
    May there be peace, love and harmony on every dimension of your path.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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  2. […] Yoga is much more than just physical exercises and body postures as I have pointed out in the article Introduction to Yoga.  Furthermore, this physical aspect of yoga (hatha yoga), is not just for flexibility and stretching either.  Yoga is more than adequate for helping you train and strengthen almost every muscle in your body, and build a system which is fully fit and healthy.  This is especially true with Kundalini Yoga, and I am going to show you how even simple yoga sequences can give you great physical results. […]

  3. […] Yoga is more than just the physical exercises and poses.  I have detailed it’s many branches in the article, Universal Principles of Yoga, and the 2 branches that time and again show up as key for enjoying the immense benefits of this science, are Meditation & Pranayama (Yoga Breathing Exercises).  So including them in your daily spiritual work is a must.  […]

  4. […] By Yoga here, I am referring to Asana (Posture), Bandha (Body Locks) and Pranayama (Breathing Exercises).  Of course if you take Sage Patanjali’s definition of yoga (Raja Yoga or Asthanga Yoga), then you include in it meditation as well, but here I am going to discuss the value of the "physical yoga" and it’s role in enlightenment. […]

  5. […] Everywhere you look nowadays the new holy grail of success seems to be self-discipline. From, diet plans, to sports, to the stock market, to the arts and also, most unfortunately, even in the practice of meditation, yoga and the related spiritual sciences. Raw material enters boot camp, is put through the patented regiment, and out comes a finished product. Discipline yourself to eat right, exercise right so you can get healthy, discipline yourself to sleep less so you have more productive time, discipline yourself to sit endlessly hour after hour watching your breath so you can gain enlightenment. Is this the way? Is self-discipline necessary? I don’t think so. Let me tell you a story… […]

  6. […] The important point I want to make here is that you must work to authenticate spiritual teachings for yourself so that you can make them your very own.  To just run around and quote other Yoga Masters and parrot various claims is immature and your teachings will lack conviction.  Your goal has to be to stand on your own and be authentic.  When the teachings become authentic, you will also be able to contribute to them and then you be original.  Of course study the teachings and learn from others, but, endeavor always to make the knowledge first hand by direct experience so that you become a true source of light and inspiration. […]

  7. […] The 5 Universal Principles below for living an enlightened and good life is the result of decades of spiritual exploration, experimentation and self-study.  These are the principles that I live by.  They are my mantras, my vows and I have found them to be extremely helpful in navigating the waters of spiritual living and help forge a sweet life.  First, I will just briefly list the original Yamas & Niyamas of Sage Patanjali, which can also be found in the article Introduction to the Universal Principles of Yoga, and then I will go into my 5 principles for living an enlightened and good life. […]

  8. […] The following set of Kundalini Yoga exercises builds the naval center and works on the 3rd Chakra (energy vortex) of the Kundalini Energy System.  The 3rd Chakra is called the Manipura or Nabhi Chakra.  The naval center is not only important for core energy and necessary physical fuel, but also the Manipura chakra, which governs this region, is associated with the attributes of willpower and strength of character.  Thus, it is recommended that early in one’s yoga practice one builds and balances this chakra.  Doing so helps one to remain committed to their yoga and meditation practice, thus reaping the full rewards that such practice brings.  Of course developing a washboard like abs in the process does not harm either :-). […]

  9. […] Don’t be deceived by the apparent simple nature of the yoga exercises that constitute this set.  Once you begin to practice this program you will realize its profound benefits to healthy weight loss and much more in a relatively short period of time.  The yoga exercises that form this set come primarily from the schools of Kundalini Yoga & Hatha Yoga.  They, like all yoga poses and movements, work on your being at many different levels.  This potent set is designed to not only help you lose weight and burn fat effectively, but, also helps you significantly at an energetic and metabolic level.  The breathing exercises done in conjunction with the movements, help expand you lung capacity, improve your circulatory system and raises the internal heat of the body, thus helping it to burn up and eliminate toxins, dead gases and waste products. […]

  10. […] Of the many wonderful pranayamas that Yoga gives us, Kapalbhati (aka Kapal Bhati) is one of my favorite breathing exercises.  It is not at all complicated to do and yet, when done even for a short time consistently, it’s benefits are undeniable.  If there was only one pranayama that you elected to do, Kapalbhati might well be the one to pick – it’s that good! […]

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