Yoga to Raj Yoga for Holistic Wellbeing and Happy Life (On International Day of Yoga)

/ Guest Column / Tuesday, 21 June 2022 17:22

By: Prof. Dr. Jayadeba Sahoo
“Health is the supreme foundation of virtue, wealth, enjoyment and salvation.   
Diseases are destroyers of health, of good life, and even of life itself”.
This statement was made by Charaka, one of the oldest physicians of India, about 2500 years ago; a statement that rings true for all time. Extending the concept of health, he observed significantly, “Life is spoken of as the union of the body, mind and spirit that support animation, flux and the link between the past life and the future”. This entails emphasis of Yoga for Healthy and Happy Life. The philosophy of Yoga is based on the axiomatic assumption that life must be viewed and understood in its totality.
International Day of Yoga is celebrated on June 21 adopted under the agenda of ‘Global Health and Foreign Policy,’ UN resolution 69/131 recognizing Yoga “provides a holistic approach to health and well-being” and that wider dissemination of information about its benefits would be beneficial for the health of the world population.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address to UN General Assembly on September 27, 2014 wherein he stated: “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change.” The theme for International Yoga Day 2019 was Climate Action
The essence of yoga is balance - not just balance within the body or that between the mind and the body, but also balance in the human relationship with the world. Yoga emphasizes the values of mindfulness, moderation, discipline and perseverance. When applied to communities and societies, Yoga offers a path for sustainable living.
Yoga can be an important instrument in the collective quest of humanity for promoting sustainable lifestyle in harmony with planet Earth. In keeping with this spirit, the theme for this year’s Yoga Day celebrations is “Yoga for Humanity.” -2022
The most popular concepts about yoga at present time has been – asanas, physical stretches, breathing exercises (Pranayam) and techniques to relax and focus the mind. There are many kinds of such yoga – Hatha Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Sankhya Yoga, Raja Yoga (of Patanjali), Tantra Yoga, Tattwa Yoga and many others. Today yoga is practised mostly to attain physical fitness, stamina and weight-loss. But yoga as a holistic practice was seen as a tool to facilitate inner peace, Self-realisation and mental purification/cleansing. Yoga isn’t just exercise, it’s a state of mind. All over the world, those who consider yoga to be a set of bodily and breathing exercises aiming at body-mind well-being are more than the number of people who consider yoga to be a spiritual journey. The health benefits of yoga are manifold. However, all these systems of yoga mentioned above involve physical stretches, postures, bending and flexing of the body which cannot be practised regularly by old, unwell, and those with physical challenges. To be of benefit, it requires plenty of time and motivation to practise regularly.
The term “Yoga” is derived from the Sanskrit root “Yuj” meaning union, yoke, connect or communion. It is the union of our ‘will’ with the Nature and the Supernatural. It is the yoking of all the powers of the body, mind and soul, thus disciplining the intellect, the mind, the emotions and the will. It is the experience of oneself with one’s inner being. ‘Yoga’ is a communion of the Jïvãtman (human soul) with Paramãtman (Supreme Soul). Such a spiritual union empowers a human to overcome all weaknesses viz. lust, anger, ego, etc. and live a virtuous life with spiritual awareness and compassion. According to Bhagavad Gita, “Tranquility of Mind is Yoga” - “Samatvam Yogamutchyate”.
To attain this communion, Maharshi Patanjali provided 8 steps for Yoga called Asthang Yoga. Hatha Yoga (Asana and Prãnãyãma) with Yama, Niyama and Pratyahara is a mean to Rãja Yoga (Dhãrana, Dhyãna, Samãdhi).
In the present age of Kali Yuga (Conflicting Dark era), most people are leading a ”bhogi” (Indulgence) life. A bhogi chases peace and happiness in possessions, roles, status and all outer achievements that gratify his sense of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. He engages himself endlessly in competing for space, position and material resources. His actions gradually entangle him in a web of greed, ego and attachment. A ‘bhogi’ ultimately becomes a ‘rogi’ (diseased) – physically, mentally, morally, social and spiritually unhealthy.
Health is not just absence of disease but is a state of wellness in which a person enjoys physical, mental, social and spiritual health. Most diseases today are psychosomatic, caused by negative emotions. The negative ‘Sanskars (Propensities)’ of the soul adversely influences the individual’s attitude, outlook, dietary habits, relationships and behaviour. As a consequence, norms of physical and mental health are violated.  When the body’s tolerance limit is crossed by repeated violations, disease sets in.
Yoga is a way of life. It involves satvik diet, positive thinking, spiritual study, healthy relationships, silent meditation and selfless service. A yogic lifestyle does not mean renunciation or shedding family responsibilities. A yogi maintains his mental equilibrium even in adverse situations. He is naturally free from addictions and unhealthy habits. A yogi celebrates the spirit of love through a very deep and authentic spiritual connection with each other.
The basis of Raja Yoga is soul-consciousness which means considering one’s true Self as immortal soul having eternal relationship with the Supreme Soul and the disciplines of a yogic lifestyle, are clearly described in the Gita. The Gita describes the essence of Raja Yoga as “mental communion with Supreme Almighty God”: man-mana bhava; sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja.
Raja Yoga is easy to practice. Everyone in a family including elders and children can practise this. The aim of this union with the Supreme is to become like Him in His qualities. As souls, we have similar attributes as God. As God’s children, we human souls are innately good and pure; peace, truth, love, and bliss are our innate nature.
By enhancing the ability to cope effectively with rapid change, Raj Yoga Meditation can open up a whole new understanding of purpose and potential. It positively influences all areas of our spirit, mind, body and community. For detailed knowledge and experience on Raj Yoga please contact ‘Brahma Kumaris’ Raj Yoga Center or Visit- Brahma Kumaris.com.
(The writer is Faculty, Brahma Kumaris, RERF & Ex-Dean, Faculty of Education, Rajiv Gandhi (Central) University, Itanagar- 791 112, Arunachal Pradesh, India)

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