Yoga - Union of the Self and Universal Consciousness
The practice of yoga was first developed in India over two thousand years ago as a way to guide people in creating a sacred union between them self and Universal Consciousness. It is all about using the breath and the body to enhance the free-flow and balance of life-force energy (prana) in body, mind and spirit to achieve greater health, happiness and spiritual meaning in a person’s life.
The foundation of yogic philosophy is believed to have been first written down around 200 BCE as The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. At the heart of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra is an 8-step blueprint (the eight limbs of yoga) that created the framework for all yoga practice.
The eight limbs of yoga can be separated into four major elements: “Right Living”; “Opening and Balancing the Free-Flow of Life-Force Energy” in body, mind and spirit; “Preparation for Spiritual Union” by controlling the restlessness of the conscious mind through concentration and meditation; and finally, “Union of the Self with Universal Consciousness”. This is the Path of Yoga. It is a spiritual path designed to lead the individual practitioner in the direction of universal happiness.
The Path of Yoga
The eight limbs (steps) of yoga that underlie all yoga practices are briefly described below:
1. Yama – the five abstentions (avoidances) of universal morality: violence; dishonestly; covetousness; irresponsible sex; possessiveness
2. Niyama – the five personal (spiritual) observances: purity; contentment; energy control; awareness of our spiritual nature; celebration of the divine
3. Asana – body discipline of yoga postures designed to balance and open the flow of life-giving energy in the body to keep it disease free and ready for meditation
4. Pranayama – the practice of yogic breathing to help control prana (spiritual energy) to quiet the left and right hemispheres of the conscious brain to facilitate meditation
5. Pratyahara – control of the senses
6. Dharana – cultivating inner awareness
7. Dhyana – devotion to and meditation on the Divine Spirit
8. Samadhi – Union with Universal Consciousness
Over 2500 years ago, Eastern medicine proposed the concept of a “subtle energy body” that is directly associated with the physical body. This “subtle energy body” is said to contain seven major centers of life-force energy that Eastern medicine refers to as “chakras”. Life-force energy is defined as the energy necessary to sustain life in all living things. The word “chakra” is from the Sanskrit language of India, meaning “wheel” or ”vortex”.
The seven Eastern chakras are considered as spinning wheels of life-force energy aligned vertically from the base of the spine to the top of the head. All of your senses, all of your perceptions, all of your states of awareness can be divided into these seven chakras in the “subtle energy body”. Chakras are said to vitalize the body through interactions of both a physical and a mental nature.
Chakras and Yoga
The Eastern chakra system provides a theoretical basis for fine-tuning your yoga practice. The various yoga postures (asanas) are designed to enhance your body’s natural processes that lead to balancing life-giving energy in your physical body by unblocking energy channels to allow energy to flow to wherever it is needed throughout your body.
Chakras are said to contain varying frequencies of life-force energy for dealing with specific areas of consciousness in your life. Each chakra, along with its specific area of consciousness, is briefly described below:
#1. Ground (Root) Chakra – energy center of survival and security
#2. Sacral Chakra – energy center of sexuality and pleasure
#3. Solar Plexus Chakra – energy center of physical energy and personal power
#4. Heart Chakra – energy center of love and compassion
#5. Voice (Throat) Chakra – energy center of communication, honesty and truth
#6. Mind (Third Eye) Chakra – energy center of knowledge and intuition
#7. Crown Chakra – energy center of spirituality and Higher Consciousness
The physical aspects of the Eastern chakras can be associated with the glands and organs of the endocrine system of the body. It is well known that various hormones secreted by the endocrine system can cause a physical or psychological imbalance in a person.
The mental aspects of the Eastern chakras can be represented as corresponding mental chakras in the conscious brain. This is the mind/body connection. Balancing conscious energy in mental chakras influences energy balances in the body, thereby helping create greater overall health in a person.
East Meets West
Western medicine does not accept the concept of a "subtle energy body" or even "chakras" for that matter. In Western medicine, there is only a physical body that depends on the glands, organs and energy systems within it (blood flow, oxygen flow, heart beat, endocrine system, the nervous system, the brain, the senses, etc), working together in harmony. Over millions of years, the human body has perfected its ability to distribute just the right amount of life-giving energy to wherever it is needed in the physical body to keep a person healthy, active and alive. This energy process is primarily controlled by the sub-conscious brain via the central nervous system. It is also indirectly connected to the thoughts and emotions of the conscious brain.
Each of the seven "subtle energy chakras" of Eastern medicine can be connected directly with seven "physical energy centers" within the body known as the endocrine system. This connects the Ground chakra with the Adrenal Glands; the Sacral chakra with the Sex Glands; the Solar Plexus chakra with the Pancreas; the Heart chakra with the Thymus Gland; the Voice chakra with the Thyroid Gland; the Mind chakra with the Pituitary Gland; and the Crown chakra with the Pineal Gland. This accounts for the physical aspects of the Eastern chakras in the body.
To account for the mental aspects of the Eastern chakras, Advanced Awareness has proposed that the seven “subtle energy chakras” of Eastern medicine must be associated with seven corresponding mental chakra centers of conscious energy in the thinking brain. Our personality directs how we prefer to use conscious energy in our conscious brain to think with, make decisions, act on those decisions and interact with others. Learning how to harness our personality to bring greater balance to conscious energy in our thinking brain leads to making better decisions that lead to living happier lives.
Both Advanced Awareness and yoga follow similar paths. While yoga is focused primarily on the physical body and the sub-conscious brain to reach universal happiness, Advanced Awareness is focused on balancing conscious energy in the thinking brain.
Yoga & The Path of Advanced Awareness
The Path of Advanced Awareness is a spiritualpath of balancing positive conscious energy in your thinking brain in body, mind and spirit. Stretching and relaxing your personality is how you balance mental energy in your thinking brain, much like stretching and relaxing your muscles is how you balance physical energy in your body. As you travel The Path of Advanced Awareness, you will discover the energy of Higher Consciousness, the key to creating authentic (lasting) happiness in your life.
Like yoga, the goal of Advanced Awareness is to improve health, happiness and meaning in your life. As you follow your individual path, you will find that authentic happiness increases as you balance your metal chakras more and more with the positive conscious energy of spiritual love. Spiritual love is the energy of Higher Consciousness that comes directly from your spiritual nature. Whenever you consciously choose to bring spiritual love into your daily life, you are following the Path of Advanced Awareness to authentic happiness.
The Spiritual Journey
The Path of Advanced Awareness takes you on a lifelong spiritual journey away from the negative energy of unhappiness to the positive energy of love. Authentic happiness grows as you make progress along the way.
The path of yoga was designed to help you reach divine union between your self and universal consciousness. No matter where you are in your current yoga practice, as you work through each new yoga session, you are traveling that path. According to the ancient Yoga Sutra, included in your yoga practice is to prepare your self for divine union by following the moral and spiritual path of “right living”.
The Path of Advanced Awareness is the path of “right living”. It is a spiritual path of balancing the positive conscious energy of love within your self and in your important relationships to create greater levels of authentic happiness in your life. Combine your yoga practice with the “right living” Path of Advanced Awareness. Enhance your path to universal happiness by living more and more in Higher Consciousness in your everyday life. Along the way you will discover the true meaning of love.