What is Yoga, Meditation?

What is Yoga, Meditation?

Most of us are accustomed to looking outside of ourselves for fulfilment. We are living in a world that conditions us to believe that outer attainments can give us what we want. Yet again and again our experiences show us that nothing external can completely fulfil the deep longing within for “something more.”

Yoga is a simple process of reversing the ordinary outward flow of energy and consciousness so that the mind becomes a dynamic centre of direct perception no longer dependent upon the fallible senses but capable of actually experiencing Truth.

By practising the step-by-step methods of Yoga taking nothing for granted on emotional grounds or through blind faith we come to know our oneness with the Infinite Intelligence, Power, and Joy which gives life to all and which is the essence of our own Self.

Guided Meditations:

Step 1: Introduction

Take a pause from your busy routine and give yourself the gift of silence. Immerse yourself in an oasis of peace, love, and light.

Step 2: Select a Meditation

When you are ready, select a meditation below. Each meditation is approximately 15 minutes in length.

About Yogoda Satsanga Society of India

For the last 100 years, Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS) has been dedicated to carrying on the spiritual and humanitarian work of its founder, Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, widely revered as the father of Yoga in the West.

As expressed in the Aims and Ideals formulated by Paramahansa Yogananda, the society seeks to foster a spirit of greater understanding and goodwill among the diverse peoples and religions of our global family, and to help those of all cultures and nationalities to realize and express more fully in their lives the beauty, nobility, and divinity of the human spirit.

Paramahansa Yogananda founded Yogoda Satsanga Society in 1917 to make available the universal teachings of Kriya Yoga, a sacred spiritual science originating millenniums ago in India. These non-sectarian teachings embody a complete philosophy and way of life for achieving all-round success and well-being, as well as methods of meditation for achieving life’s ultimate goal — union of the soul with Spirit (God).

YSS Lessons for Home Study

The Lessons are unique among Paramahansa Yogananda’s published works, in that they give his step-by-step instructions in the yoga techniques of meditation, concentration, and energization that he taught, including Kriya Yoga. 

These simple yet highly effective yoga techniques work directly with life energy and consciousness, enabling you to recharge the body with vitality, awaken the mind’s unlimited power, and experience an ever-deepening awareness of the Divine in your life—culminating in the highest states of spiritual consciousness and union with God.

Since Yoga is based on practice and experience rather than on adherence to a particular set of beliefs, followers of all religions—as well as those who do not affiliate with a religious path—can benefit from the spiritual teachings in the basic series of Lessons and the techniques taught therein. When practised regularly, these methods lead unfailingly to deeper levels of spiritual awareness and perception.

Read the Introductory Lesson by Paramahansa Yogananda

Highest Achievements Through Self-realization

An inspiring and in-depth overview of the teachings in the Lessons is given in Paramahansa Yogananda’s introduction to the series, entitled “Highest Achievements Through Self-realization.”

As a first step, we suggest that you read and absorb the thoughts in this introductory Lesson. This will enable you to determine if you wish to go further on the journey to Self-realization by enrolling for the course of eighteen Lessons that teach the meditation techniques that prepare one for initiation in Kriya Yoga.

You may also enrol right away by following the instructions on this page under the “Apply for the Lessons” tab.

Learn to Meditate:

Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda’s personal instructions on how to practise the science of Kriya Yoga meditation, taken from the classes he gave for more than thirty years, are presented in detail in the Yogoda Satsanga Lessons.

In addition, the Lessons provide his practical guidance and techniques for attaining balanced physical, mental, and spiritual well being — the health, healing, success, and harmony that yoga bestows in every aspect of life. These “how-to-live” principles are an absolutely essential component of any truly successful meditation practice.

About Paramahansa Yoganandaji and YSS

A century after the birth of Paramahansa Yogananda, he has come to be recognised as one of the preeminent spiritual figures of our time; and the influence of his life and work continues to grow. Many of the religious and philosophical concepts and methods he introduced decades ago are now finding expression in education, psychology, business, medicine, and other spheres of endeavour—contributing in far-reaching ways to a more integrated, humane, and spiritual vision of human life.

The fact that Paramahansa Yoganandaji’s teachings are being interpreted and creatively applied in many different fields, as well as by exponents of diverse philosophical and metaphysical movements, points not only to the great practical utility of what he taught. It also makes clear the need for some means of ensuring that the spiritual legacy he left not be diluted, fragmented, or distorted with the passing of time.

Wisdom, creativity, security, happiness, unconditional love — is it really possible to find that which will bring us real and lasting joy?

Experiencing the divinity within our own souls, claiming divine joy as our own joy — this is what the Kriya Yoga teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda offer to each of us.

The sacred science of Kriya Yoga consists of advanced techniques of meditation whose devoted practice leads to realization of God and liberation of the soul from all forms of bondage. It is the royal or supreme technique of yoga, divine union. (Read “What Is Yoga, Really?”)

Meditation Techniques of the Kriya Yoga Path

‘God seeks willing hearts that He may give His bounties to them….’ That is most beautiful, and that is what I believe. God seeks willing hearts for the bestowal of His gifts. He is willing to give us everything, but we are not willing to make the effort to be receptive.”

Paramahansa Yogananda provides a description of Kriya Yoga in his Autobiography of a Yogi. The actual technique is given to students of the Yogoda Satsanga Lessons after a preliminary period of study and practise of the three preparatory techniques taught by Paramahansa Yogananda.

Taken together as a comprehensive system, these meditation techniques enable the practitioner to achieve the highest benefits and divine goal of the ancient yoga science.

1. Energization Exercises

A series of psychophysical exercises developed by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1916 to prepare the body for meditation. Regular practise promotes mental and physical relaxation and develops dynamic will power. Making use of the breath, life force, and concentrated attention, the technique enables one to draw abundant energy consciously into the body, purifying and strengthening all the body parts systematically in turn. The Energization Exercises, which take about 15 minutes to perform, are one of the most effective means of eliminating stress and nervous tension. Practising them prior to meditation is a great help in entering a calm, interiorised state of awareness.

2. Hong-Sau Technique of Concentration

Hong-Sau technique of concentration helps to develop one’s latent powers of concentration. Through practise of this technique one learns to withdraw thought and energy from outward distractions so that they may be focused on any goal to be achieved or problem to be solved. Or one may direct that concentrated attention toward realising the Divine Consciousness within.

3. Aum Technique

Aum Technique of Meditation shows one how to use the power of concentration in the highest way to discover and develop the divine qualities of one’s own true Self. This ancient method teaches how to experience the all-pervading Divine Presence as Aum, the Word or Holy Ghost that underlies and sustains all creation. The technique expands the awareness beyond limitations of body and mind to the joyous realization of one’s infinite potential.

4. Kriya Yoga Technique

Kriya is an advanced Raja Yoga technique of pranayama (life-energy control). Kriya reinforces and revitalises subtle currents of life energy (prana) in the spine and brain. The ancient seers of India (rishis) perceived the brain and spine as the tree of life. Out of the subtle cerebrospinal centres of life and consciousness (chakras) flow the energies that enliven all the nerves and every organ and tissue of the body. The yogis discovered that by revolving the life current continuously up and down the spine by the special technique of Kriya Yoga, it is possible to greatly accelerate one’s spiritual evolution and awareness.

Correct practice of Kriya Yoga enables the normal activities of the heart and lungs and nervous system to slow down naturally, producing deep inner stillness of body and mind and freeing the attention from the usual turbulence of thoughts, emotions, and sensory perceptions. In the clarity of that inner stillness, one comes to experience a deepening interior peace and attunement with one’s soul and with God.

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