Vision on Yoga

Updated: Sep 29, 2021

“Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind.”
– Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 1.2

In Akasha this is where we work from and work towards: Yoga. Every spiritual or religious tradition has their own word for that one mysterious power that underlies all of creation. Call it God, Allah, Shiva, Elohim, Buddha or the Universe, in the end we are using different words to talk about something that exists beyond name or form. The experience of ‘union with the Divine’ could be called ‘Yoga’. Yoga is the path, as well as the goal on itself. It’s where we come from, where we are, and where we are going.

Clarifying a misinterpretation

Being one of the most misinterpreted spiritual concepts of these days, we’d like to clarify the definition of Yoga and our approach towards it. When Western people hear the word yoga, usually thoughts about asanas (physical postures) arise. Asana is one aspect of the practice, and it’s a foundational aspect, but overall a small aspect of the vast and profound path of yoga. It’s one of the very first steps on the path. The physical postures are said to be a preparation for the actual practice and experience of yoga. The path of yoga includes also breathing exercises, guided visualisation, chanting, meditation, study about universal ethics, among others.

Foundation of Yoga

Yoga has been practiced, and transferred from master to disciple, for many thousands of years on the Indian continent. Around the time of Christ there was one yogi called Patanjali that wrote down these ancient teachings in what is called ‘the Yoga Sutras’. This 2000 years old scripture forms the foundation of modern day yoga. With this document Patanjali - and the masters that transferred those teachings to him - opened up a path for all seekers of truth and happiness. In this path each step towards complete spiritual liberation is described very precisely. It embraces the way we deal with the outer as well as the inner world. It’s a map that leads us towards the understanding and mastery of the mind, in order to transcend it. Although Patanjali included several different approaches to yoga (named underneath), his systematic path is also called Raja yoga.

Paths of Yoga

Through the ages, many practices and forms of yoga arose. Some of these show many similarities with other traditions. Especially bhakti and karma yoga are paths that are practised globally, for example in the Christian, Islamic and Jewish traditions. Here we describe very shortly the main paths of yoga. All of these we are integrating within our life, practice and teachings in Akasha:

  • Karma Yoga (Yoga of action)

This path we could translate as ‘Love in action’. When every act is done with the intention of selfless service, this is karma yoga. Read more about it here.

  • Jnana Yoga (Yoga of Knowledge)

The knowledge that people on this path aim to gain, is knowledge about the Self. In this yogic path one aims to develop the quality of discernment; knowing what is true and what is false. With it comes the ability to stay anchored in the witness consciousness.

  • Bhakti Yoga (Yoga of Devotion)

Through chanting, prayer, ritual and offerings one develops devotion. It is an opening of the heart that doesn’t need any knowledge or practice on itself. Bhakti is that feeling of sweet love for the divine and the expression of it.

  • Raja Yoga (Yoga according to the system of Patanjali)

As Patanjali mapped out a very precise path towards enlightenment (the ultimate experience of yoga), walking this systematic approach step by step is called Raja Yoga. It contains universal ethics, asana, pranayama and meditation.

  • Tantra Yoga (Yoga of Energy and Connection)

From a tantric perspective we see the outer world, including the body, as sacred as the inner world. The body is used as a channel o