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					Yoga Psychology

Understanding the connection between the body, mind and spirit

What is yoga psychology?
• Systematized by Ashtabakra over 2000 years
ago, called “Raja dhi Raja yoga”.

• Extensively developed by P.R. Sarkar -- Indian
philosopher and spiritual teacher in late 20th century. Anandamurti.

• Sarkar - known by the spiritual name Shrii Shrii
• Revitalized ancient yogic understanding of how
the chakras are related to our mental/emotional states and how we can use yogic practices to create balance.

The Theory - Propensities and Yoga
“Yogashcittavrtti Nirodhah” - Patanjali

Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.

That is: the Nirodha (channelisation) of all the Vrittis (propensities) of the mind.

Is it entirely correct?

Yoga is unification
• This „cittavrttinirodha‟ (i.e. suspension of propensities) is also a negative stage? • The correct interpretation of „yoga‟ is „unification‟. • Unification by whom, with whom? • Sam'yoga yoga ityukto jiiva'tma Parama'tmanah. • “Unification of the unit self with the Cosmic Self is yoga.”

Yoga is unification – micro merges with Macro
• When your little „I‟ becomes one with your great „I‟, that state is the state of yoga. • The spiritual aspirant who has attained that state, that stage, is a yogi. • That desideratum, the goal of life, is hidden within your „I‟ feeling. It lies covert within your „I‟ feeling. Microcosm  Macrocosm

Chakras
Subtle PsychoPhysical Centers
Mental/Emotional tendencies are located at different chakras throughout the body.

Glands and Sub-glands: relationship to chakras
C - 7th – pineal B - 6th – pituitary A - 5th – thyroid D - 4th – thymus E/F - 3rd – pancreas/ adrenals G/H - 2nd – ovaries/ testes 1st – no „official‟ glands
*Science has recently discovered that not only glands, but also different areas of tissue throughout the body produce hormones.*

Propensities
(tendencies of mind) Examples:

Altruism
Hope Fear Worldly desire

Human Expression Through the Chakras

beyond expression all knowledge self-expression compassion

drive
inferiority/superiority

longings

Vrittis – propensities or tendencies of mind
50 tendencies
x2 (internal and external expression) = 100 x 10 (5 motor and 5 sensory organs)

= 1000 tendencies

Sahasrara chakra

Chakras – the specifics
“What is a cakra? It is a collection of glands and sub-glands, and the location of these glands and sub-glands differs from animal to animal. In humans the cakras are situated at the intersecting points of the id'a', sus'umna' and piungala' [psycho-spiritual channels]. In the human mind various thoughts are constantly emerging and dissolving. Behind these psychic phenomena are the underlying vrttis [propensities] which are primarily related to the inborn sam'ska'ras [mental reactive momenta] of human beings. Propensities are formed according to one's inherent sam'ska'ras, and the expression and control of these propensities are dependent upon the various cakras.” - Shrii Shrii Anandamurti

Muladhara Chakra
First chakra – “the root”

Solid factor Visualization color: Gold

Vrittis of the
Vrittis of the 1st Chakra - longings (propensities):
• Kama – physical • Artha – psychic • Dharma – psychospiritual • Moksa – spiritual

st 1

Chakra

Svadhisthana Chakra
Second chakra
Liquid factor Visualization color: Silvery white (like moonlight)

Vrittis of the 2nd Chakra
• • • • • • Belittlement of others, indifference Psychic stupor, lack of common sense Indulgence Lack of confidence (in oneself or another) Crude expression, cruelty Thought of complete annihilation (defeatism)

Manipura Chakra
Third chakra Luminous factor Visualization color: Red

Vrittis of the 3rd Chakra
Third chakra

Some tendencies: Shyness Fear Melancholy Craving Attachments Irritability

What are all the vrittis or propensities of the 3rd chakra?

Vrittis of the 3rd Chakra
 Shyness, shame  Sadistic tendency, cruelty  Envy, jealousy  Lethargy, inertia, staticity  Melancholy

Peevishness, irritability  Craving, thirst for acquisition  Infatuation  Hatred, revulsion  Fear


Anahata Chakra
Fourth chakra
Aerial Factor Visualization color:

Smokey gray/green

Vrittis of the 4th Chakra
• Hope

• Effort
• Mine-ness and attachment, love • Discrimination, conscience • Mental numbness due to fear, nervous breakdown

• Self-esteem, vanity, arrogance • Anxiety, impersonal worry • Conceit, egotism

• Greed, avarice, voracity
• Hypocrisy, deception • Repentance

• Argumentativeness (to point of wild exaggeration)

Vishuddha Chakra
Fifth chakra
Ethereal factor

Visualization color: Multi-colored/shaped

Vrittis of the 5th Chakra
1-7 feelings inspired by the musical scale: • 1st note, vibrancy (peacock) • 2nd note, relieving (bull, ox) • 3rd note, quieting (goat) • 4th note, peaceful (deer) • 5th note, joyful (cuckoo) • 6th note, sweetness (donkey) • 7th note, tender longing (elephant) • OMN - creation, preservation, destruction • HUM - movement of the divine force (sound of the kundalinii) • PHAT - fruition or inspiration, theory into practice (practication)

Vrittis of the 5th Chakra (continued)
• Expression • Poisonous quality of voice/speech, (for mundane welfare) repulsive expression • Altruism • Attractive quality of (for psychic welfare, voice/speech, sweet subtler sphere) expression • Universal welfare (noble actions) • Surrender to a higher power (Supreme Entity)

Ajina Chakra
Sixth Chakra Beyond the factors and colors 2 propensities (vrittis): - mundane knowledge - spiritual knowledge
mundane knowledge

spiritual knowledge

Sahasrara Chakra
Seventh chakra - “thousand petalled” Devotion Surrender Love

Why are some people born happy, others sad, others scared, others outgoing?

Samskara
– a “seed” of reaction
• We all enter the world with our own samskaras:
– often called „karma‟ (but „karma‟ is „action‟ while „samskara‟ is the „reaction in potentiality‟ and „karmaphala‟ is the „results of action‟ or the „spent reaction‟).

• Samskaras are accumulated from past lives, and are also imposed and acquired. • Samskaras determine our chakra symphony.

How can Yoga Help?
• If we can strengthen the chakras, the mind will become more balanced. • Yoga in its entirety is holistic. • Diet, therapy/counseling, exercise, etc. help create a holistic approach. • Yoga postures can contribute – some are very specific, others help balance several chakras at once.

Synthetic system
• Yoga Psychology – or approach to yoga - is a synthetic approach. • Systems approach – never separates one element from another, sees all as interactive: asanas, meditation, diet, ethics, service. • Tuning/cleaning the mind/body instrument in order to harmonize the symphony.

Yoga‟s 8 limbs (Ashtaunga)
• Yama • Niyama • Asana • Pranayama • Pratyahara • Dharana • Dhyana • Samadhi

Let us briefly look at asanas and meditation (pratyahara, dharana, dhyana) …

What‟s special about asanas (poses)?
• Postures are held in order to put sustained pressure on the specific glands. • Breath is controlled. • Postures are repeated to maximize their effectiveness. • Postures are done when you are cool. • Postures are followed by self-massage to help with the assimilation of the glandular effects.

What‟s special about meditation?
• The wave of Supreme Consciousness is attained in the process of meditation (sadhana). • If anybody does this sadhana with great determination, they will move on towards that Supreme. • They will become one with that Supreme form of Bliss (Ananda). • Human beings will have to dive into this wave of the Supreme. • This is the true success in life … this is the Ananda Marga (Path of Bliss).

Aspects of Yoga Psychology
Asanas glands hypothalamus Meditation nerves

nerves
mood

glands

behaviour

Adaptation
(physical, mental/emotional, spiritual)
environmental stimulus Affects: • Limbic system * Hypothalamus * Endocrine glands
readiness heightened mental state altered physiology (blood sugar, adrenalin, temperature, immune cells, electrolytes)

Integration of Internal and External Stimuli Environmental
Limbic system

stimuli Cortex - memory
Limbic system –
correlates with past experiences

hypothalamus pituitary Hormones released defense digestion reproduction

Adaptation
SUCCESSFUL ADAPTATION Relaxation, efficiency, focus Subtle, higher mind/ propensities FAILURE TO ADAPT Sickness, stress

Crude, lower mind/ propensities

Adaptation and Evolution
Sustained demand for adaptation

Psychic urges (hopes and fears) Psychic transmutations
Genetic transmutations (changes in DNA) New species
Vibrational energy

Spiritual Evolution
• Spiritual practice begins with the body and towards the end it culminates in spiritual evolution. • In the first phase, sadhana (meditation / spiritual practice) is physico-psychic, and in the second stage it is only psychic. • In the third stage psycho-spiritual and in the fourth stage it is entirely spiritual. • These are the different stages of physicopsycho-spiritual practice.

Baba Nam Kevalam


				
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