Yoga Philosophy

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Why Do We Forget Who We Really Are?

Recently, someone asked a question: “If peace and unconditional love are our natural state, why is it that we have forgotten? We have forgotten because we’ve been given the free will to forget. You are free to choose either way. Peace is our nature no doubt, but we...

Karma: It Is In Your Hands

Karma, according to the Sanskrit terminology, has two meanings: Any action is called karma and the reaction of the action is also called karma. So a karma will bring a karma—meaning, an action has its own reaction. Cause and effect, action and reaction, they’re...

Facing Death and Loss

When people are facing very serious illness or great loss, they often ask me, “How can I still have faith?” My answer is, “Keep the faith.” All medical treatments work better if you have faith. Does fear ever help you? No. On the other hand the fear makes you feel...

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Is Yoga Really Universal?

An ongoing debate concerns the subject of the relationship between Hinduism and Yoga. One side argues that westerners have appropriated Yoga and tried to divorce it from its Hindu roots. The other side argues that Yoga predates Hinduism and cannot be contained under...

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The Goal of Yoga

The main goal of Yoga is to clean the mind and calm the mind. “Yogaha Chitta Vritti Nirodaha,” Raja Yoga says. In the very beginning, when Patanjali talks about Yoga—at the very outset—he answers the question,  “What is Yoga?” The answer is: Chitta Vritti Nirodaha....

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The Highest Form of Yoga

Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, the great sage of Himalayas. We felt so fortunate to be with him, to watch him, to play with him, and to experience what Divine play means. He himself was the book of knowledge. In his own very life, whatever he did, whatever he saw, he...

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The Essence of Integral Yoga

Traditionally there are five separate Yogas. Each, like a spoke of a wheel, leads to the hub, to oneness or union with the Divine. Hatha, the way of the body; Raja, the way of the mind; Karma, the way of service; and Bhakti, the way of the heart.  “Some people think...

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Is Yoga a Religion?

Many people ask this question: “Is Yoga a religion?” My answer would be, “No and yes.” How could it be both no and yes? Yoga is not a religion, so in that sense, the answer is no; but it is a synthesis of all the religions, so in that sense, it is yes. That is why we...

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Yoga is Union

Yoga is a Sanskrit word that comes from the root, “yuj” which means “to join together.”  Simply put, Yoga means “union.” In many ways the term Yoga is similar to the English term, “communion.” It refers to the state of union or communion with God, one’s true Self, or...

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Is Yoga Hindu?

Questions about the origins of Yoga and whether Yoga is a part of the Hindu religion have arisen over the years in Yoga classes, teacher training programs and universities. In this interview, Dr. Graham Schweig, a scholar and a yogi, tackles these perennial questions....

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This is Yoga

What is the definition of Yoga? At the very outset of his Yoga Sutras, Patanjali says, "Yogas Chitta Vritti Nirodhah." That’s the first sutra. What does it mean? "Calming the mind is Yoga." Often, people think that standing on the head is Yoga, that if you don’t know...

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Yoga: A Practical System

Yoga is a perfect practical system of self-culture. Yoga is an exact science. It aims at the harmonious development of the body, the mind and the soul. Yoga is the turning away of the senses from the objective universe and the concentration of the mind within. Yoga is...

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