Types of Yoga: Integral Yoga

By: Chung Khoury


Some 50 years ago, we would not know what yoga is all about, even more so if we saw anyone doing an "asana" - which means a pose or posture in yoga. Today, yoga is well recognized as an ancient Indian Science and way of life and its various forms and types are being widely practiced not only in Western cultures but also across the globe. Its benefits to overall wellness is undoubtedly effective and it also brings other advantages to the table such as stress and anxiety relief, better cognitive performance, and a more agile and flexible body. Yoga means to yolk or to bring together different aspects in life, as it is colloquially termed, it goes way beyond just exercise as it aims to unite the body and mind and for one to reach deeper down in oneself.
Yoga in itself has different forms and types but still remain to encapsulate one principle - to achieve a better well being. An example of a type of yoga is Integral Yoga and this particularly aims to provide a deeper connection to one's spirituality.
The History of Integral Yoga
The person behind this type of yoga: Integral Yoga is the Indian guru named Sri Aurobindo. He wrote a book of his teachings during the 1900's which includes "The Synthesis of Yoga", "Letters on Yoga", as well as "Record of Yoga". Through his writings, he was able to share his experiences as a yogi from a personal point of view, and the book that aptly describes Integral yoga is "The Synthesis of Yoga" which is known to systematically define every aspect of this type of yoga.
Sri Aurobindo believes that in each person lies a single truth and this cannot be seen through the naked eye. This single truth can only be seen through a deeply connected and disciplined mind and this can be obtained through the practice of yoga. With the constant and fervor training and exposure to yoga, the mind can be opened and be able to distinguish between the superficial truth and the one that goes beyond it.
During mid 20th century, another renowned and respected yogi and scholar named Sri Swami Satchidananda made waves with his teachings that are known today as Integral yoga. Although it encapsulates the earlier version of Sri Aurobindo, his view on Integral yoga remains to be unique. As it is aptly named, this type of yoga: Integral Yoga, aims to integrate the mind, body and soul to give one a life that is centered in peace, good health, joy and purposeful.
Integral Yoga Practices and Disciplines
This type of yoga: Integral Yoga includes varying asanas, pranayamas, and kriyas. Asanas are the poses integrated in the Integral yoga, the pranayamas are the breathing techniques, while the kriyas are the cleansing exercises done within this yoga. It is believed that anyone can practice this type of yoga: Integral Yoga, especially those who aspire to improve every aspect of their lives which include physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and even interpersonal relationships. Integral Yoga is known as one of the pathways to an enlightened way of life and however simple every practice included in this yoga may seem, it is not an easy one. It is advised that Integral Yoga is done with a knowledgeable master.

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