The Spiritual Roots of Yoga

There are many modalities that we can practice without even knowing the history of why it was developed and practiced in the first place. For me, one of those modalities is Yoga. In “The Spiritual Roots of Yoga,” Ravi Ravindra provides a brief but in-depth narrative of Yoga. 

Yoga is the longing for and realization of the connection with the One. Essentially, when we are integrated by yoga, we see ourselves in others and others in ourselves equally. Yoga is also needed for an integration of body, mind, and heart. It isn’t something that we should try to understand logically as it originates from above. As an exertion of the whole human being, it leads to total transformation and visions from the third eye. It is religion, science, and art since it is concerned with being, knowing, and doing.

Ravi Ravindra says that there are many types of yoga, including karma yoga (the yoga of works), bhakti yoga (the yoga of love), dhyana yoga (the yoga of meditation), and jnana yoga (the yoga of knowledge). Yet, in the Indian tradition, there is only one yoga with emphases on different aspects and methods in various schools of yoga. Here, the author mentions the Yoga Sutra as the authoritative text of classical yoga. The most important point is that yoga is all about seeing clearly and distinguishing between the seer and the mind. A fundamental error is the desire to perpetuate the self and separation from all else, which comes from egoism. This error is where problems and suffering arise.

In order to counter the tendencies of the mind, steady practice of the eight limbs of Yoga can be implemented. The eight limbs are yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. The first five limbs focus more on the “outer,” whereas the other three are more “inner” focused. Alternatively, we could focus on the scheme of austerity, self-study, and devotion to the Lord. With the latter focus, the purpose is to lessen causes of sorrow and cultivate self intelligence and silence. 

Ravi Ravindra acknowledges Christianity’s significant effect on India and even goes into a great discussion about Jesus.

I feel my spirituality has turned another important corner from reading this book. Ravi Ravindra’s words truly spoke to me. 

What are your thoughts on yoga? Comment below, and thank you so much for checking out the blog today!

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