Integral Yoga

(June 30, 2010)

What is Integral Yoga?

Integral yoga was the brainchild of Sri Aurobindo and it is in a way an embodiment of the yoga ethos as it takes a very broad approach to the subject. There are no restrictions or trademark poses and practices for followers, but the focus is instead on self realization through personalized yoga practice.

So, what is integral yoga? Integral yoga is more of a philosophy or a philosophical branch of yoga rather than a yoga discipline in the modern sense. This basically means that it does not follow a scientific approach towards health care or focus solely on physical fitness, but it takes a more spiritual approach. According to the teachings of Sri Aurobindo integral yoga is directed towards a union of one’s self with the divine or the transmutation of all the chaotic elements into higher level of divine consciousness and harmony. It is concerned with attaining union or oneness with the universe and the highest possible level of divinity.

While most disciplines of yoga, with a few exceptions, focus greatly on the development of a single aspect of the self, having their aims like achieving a state of liberation and transcendence, or the achievement of optimum physical fitness, integral yoga seeks a complete transformation of the entire being and is therefore regarded as being a wholesome discipline by practitioners. Where most disciplines concentrate on one aspect whilst neglecting others, integral yoga takes a broad and wholesome approach, leaving no area neglected. According to Sri Aurobindo all the areas of one’s being need to be transformed.

The main aim of integral yoga is to achieve union and harmony with the karma, the jnana, and the bhakti, which would basically imply a combination of the Physical self, Vital self, Mental, Psychic, and Spiritual arenas. He wrote about this in great detail and the methods of achieving these goals. Integral yoga is a lot more complex than most other forms of yoga and it is not as straightforward as imply learning some yoga asanas or poses, practicing meditation, or joining a yoga studio for regular sessions. It involves every fiber of your being and pervades every area of your life, which is why most people do not have the time or patience for a discipline like integral yoga. Integral yoga treats the discipline as a way of life and one that is learnt through ongoing experience not simply through practice few times a week.

Submitted by A on June 30, 2010 at 09:16

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