What is Integral Yoga?

Integral yoga

Integral yoga was devised by Swami Satchidananda, a yoga guru from India, who came to the US in the 1960s and founded many yoga studios and ashrams. Integral yoga is a gentle practice and includes meditation, cleansing techniques, chanting and breathing practices.

Integral yoga is so named because it integrates the body, mind and spirit and helps students lead peaceful and healthy lives. The emphasis is not just on practicing yoga poses. Integral yoga also inspires students to seek inner fulfillment and peace.

What is Integral Yoga?
The foundations of integral yoga are postures, meditation and pranayama. Practicing yoga poses strengthens, aligns and purifies the body. Pranayama breathing techniques withdraw the mind and senses inwards, and tune them towards spirituality. Meditation connects the students with their inner divinity. Integral yoga is ideal for those who seek relief from fatigue and stress. Equal emphasis is placed on all three limbs.

More Aspects of Integral Yoga
This yoga style teaches additional practices like relaxation methods, vegetarian cooking and diet, and training in yoga lifestyle. Integral yoga classes are classified according to their difficulty levels. Thus, beginners and advanced students can join classes according to their skill levels. Each class lasts for about 90 minutes. The first hour is devoted to practicing poses, followed by deep relaxation, pranayama, meditation and chanting.

Components of Integral Yoga
Hatha Yoga
This includes practicing poses, pranayama breathing exercises, kriya cleansing methods and relaxation techniques to purify and strengthen the body. A healthy, disease-free body is essential for spiritual progress and hatha yoga practice ensures this for students.

Raja Yoga
This yoga method lays essence on practicing meditation to control and balance the mind. A healthy body is not enough. Raja yoga ensures students also have a sound mind which propels them on the path of spiritual progress.

Bhakti Yoga
This yoga involves devotion and constant love to God, family, friends, teachers and others. Bhakti Yoga is ideal for those with an emotional bent of mind. Practice of divine love purifies the mind and makes us realize our innate divinity.

Karma Yoga
This yoga is about serving others selflessly without attachment to the results of our actions. Karma yoga can be applied by everyone in their daily life. We learn that we can control our efforts and actions, but not their results. Thus, by dedicating the results to God, we can focus all our attention on giving our best to any action we perform in our life.

Jnana Yoga
This is an intellectual approach which gives importance to awareness, self-analysis and study. Those with a logical bent of mind can take up this yoga to transcend the trammels of body and mind.

Japa Yoga
Japa Yoga involves chanting a mantra or sacred sound while practicing meditation. Regular practice can improve our focus and concentration, and help us transcend the turbulence on the surface of our mind to go deeper and rest peacefully in the tranquil inner depths of the mind.

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