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What is Yoga?
The ultimate goal of all yoga practice is to live in the harmony of body, mind and inner self (soul.) Also to live in harmony with the universe and its Creator.
While a number of people think of yoga as mainly exercises or asanas, a complete “whole person” yoga practice involves much more. It includes meditation, pranayams and techniques from one or more of the main yogas which include: bhakti, raja, jnana, karma, and laya.
No. Hinduism is a religion. Although yoga has its roots in India (where many people practice both yoga and Hinduism), unlike Hinduism, yoga is not a religion but a science. One of the definitions of yoga is the science of harmonizing body, mind and inner self.
Ramakrishna Ananda is a Christian yogi. People from all paths and beliefs have studied yoga with him.
No. Yoga is the science of harmonizing body, mind and spirit with the goal of living in a state of higher consciousness, spiritual awareness. People of all religious paths can practice yoga to help them go farther on their own path and live a more centered spiritual life.
Anyone. People of all ages and abilities can benefit from the practice of yoga. There are variations in the asanas for people with physical limitations and a variety of meditation styles and higher yoga techniques to release mental turbulence. However, it is advisable to check with a medical practitioner if you have significant physical, mental or emotional issues.
Sincerity, steadiness and humility are essential to progress. If you sincerely want to experience higher consciousness, are steady in your practice and cultivate devotion, you will reap many benefits.
How to Use and Enjoy Yoga World
Many of the Yoga World videos, talks and writings will help you discover the meditation style that works best for you. A good place to start is with the Higher Yoga talks and meditation videos and talks.
When you practice the meditation and higher yoga techniques in our videos, talks and writings with sincerity and steadiness, you’ll be able to progress more quickly on your path.
Darshan is spiritual upliftment and blessings from being in the presence of an enlightened yogi, guru, saint or other high spiritual being. We think you will find Ramakrishna Ananda’s videos a blessing to your life.
It is not necessary to enjoy them in a particular order. You can start by simply going to topics that are particularly interesting to you. However, if you want to develop a personal yoga practice, we recommend you begin with First Steps.
Complete the Contact Us form in the About section. Make sure to be specific about the problem you are having and we’ll do our best to help.
Yes, Yoga World will always be free. There is no premium content behind a paywall. Ramakrishna Ananda wants to be sure that the yoga truths, practices and information in Yoga World is available all people everywhere.
These come from Ramakrishna Ananda words in the video. At times the quote have been edited for clarity.
The microphone icon represents that this is a audio, not a video.
The page icon represents that this is an written article.
The scripted “S” refers to an online seminar.
The scripted “R” refers to an online retreat.
And, the scripted “M” is a Mystery.
Satchitananda: God is existence, consciousness and bliss. Many people who practice bhakti yoga choose to focus their devotional practices on an “ishta,” a particular form of a great person — such as Jesus, Buddha or Krishna — who represents God to them.
Chanting harmonizes the mind and emotions and is an excellent practice to do before meditation. Sri Ramakrishna, the great yogi from the 19th century, taught that chanting God’s name and glories is an important way to experience moods of love and attune with God.
Everyone can benefit from the practices of bhakti yoga because they help open the heart center, increasing love and compassion. Bhakti yoga is suited to those of a dominantly feeling, emotional nature. Sri Ramakrishna taught that bhakti yoga is the quickest, most effective yoga for people in modern times.
The Higher Yogas
The higher yogas include meditation, life mastery techniques and yoga philosophy that help you experience the peace, love, and joy of your inner self. Higher yogas typically include practices from the main yogas including bhakti, raja, jnana and karma yoga.
To get the most out of your yoga practice, to experience the power, joy and peace of your true self and, ultimately, to live in a state of higher consciousness, it is important to practice the meditation and life skill techniques found in the higher yoga teachings.
Bhakti, raja, jnana, kriya, karma, laya yoga, meditation and pranayams are considered higher yoga practices.
Higher consciousness is awareness of the universal power which sustains life. This consciousness not only maintains you physically but at every level — spiritually, mentally, emotionally and materially. This level of awareness is within each of us and, through patient practice, you can experience dozens of life-enriching abilities in this protective and nurturing consciousness.
Yes, the Divine within each of us, the place inside us that is pure consciousness, filled with peace, power, love and joy is called the inner self, true self, or soul.
It depends on how sincere, dedicated, and focused you are. Some people have spiritual experiences as soon as they start. However, for many people it takes months or years of steady, regular practice. The reality is that it happens when you are ready.
Having an experience of your inner self, pure consciousness, is considered an awakening. But enlightenment is not just occasionally experiencing your inner self. It is living every day centered in higher consciousness, allowing that awareness to radiate through you as you think, speak and act.
The terms are basically interchangeable. When talking about self-realization, typically we do practices to experience and live in the divine consciousness within us, focusing on the dissolution of ego in Spirit. When we talk about God-realization, our approach is to focus on devotion and surrender to God which first reveals the Infinite Spirit. Most yogis move from soul awareness to God-realization while some go from God-realization to soul realization. One realization soon brings the other.
Yes, there are mainly four meditation styles and many different meditation techniques. You’ll find information here on how to practice these techniques. Then, through practice, you’ll find which meditation style fits you best. To start, you may wish to hear the talk on Four Great Ways to Meditate.
Just like no two snowflakes are the same, each of us has a different nature — different goals, different aptitudes, different likes and dislikes. It’s important to try different meditation practices until you find the one that suits your nature. You will find many meditation styles and techniques to try throughout Yoga World videos and talks.
Ramakrishna Ananda recommends you start by spending at least 15 minutes meditating every day. It is also good to spend 15-20 minutes doing asanas and/or pranayams. However, as you progress, you may want to spend more time in meditation. Many people find that meditating 20 minutes or more twice a day helps them to have deeper meditations.
The ideal time is sunrise and/or sunset. However, since it may not be possible to meditate at those times, whenever you can set aside some quiet, uninterrupted time is good. (Two or more hours after eating is highly recommended so that digestion is not interfered with.)
Can Yoga Help My Daily Life?
Yes. As we release the tension in the body and turbulence in the mind, our sleep becomes more peaceful. There are many yoga practices specifically for improving sleep. You may want to listen to Ramakrishna Ananda’s talk: A Good Night’s Sleep.
A combination of 15-20 minutes doing yoga asanas/postures and 15-20 minutes of meditation to calm the mind will help. Also, try different meditation techniques to find which help you most quickly experience peace of mind. Many students particularly like Witness Consciousness and Being in the Now. Both are particularly good for stress reduction.
Definitely. As we harmonize body, mind and inner self through yoga, we are naturally more peaceful and loving. Even when others are being difficult, we are able to stay centered and kind rather than impulsively reacting to the negative behavior of others. Many people say that improved relationships are one of the first things they notice after practicing yoga.
Usually, yes. A key benefit of asanas, pranayams and meditation is an increase in life force. As we release tension in the body and turbulence in the mind with these practices, we open the door to a greater amount of life force, energy and vitality.
Yes, anyone can enjoy yoga. It is important that you not strain when doing breathing practices, asanas or meditation. There are many modifications available for all yoga practices. If you have a health problem, however, it is advisable to check in with your doctor first.