Yoga1 is the science of the reintegration of the individual with his own self and with the cosmic reality. Its first teaching consists in re-establishing health and balance in the body-mind set, an essential prerequisite for a successful journey in self realization, in harmony with the universe and with all beings.
The first step consists in demolishing the conditionings of the mind, and it requires a discipline (sadhana2) that supplies the psyche only with true and beneficial impressions, at the same time protecting it from wrong and damaging ones. The negative impressions stored in the deep subconscious mind are the root cause of all the conditionings and disturbances of the personality, which in turn create wrong behaviors and subsequent imbalances and psycho-physical diseases.
Philosophy, psychology, and the practice of Yoga can substantially improve our situation on all the anthropological levels, although their practice should not be limited to this, because it can give much higher and longer lasting benefits related to the deepest, spiritual dimension of the living entity.
I would like to discuss about this concept in a direct and immediate way, so that you can try to apply the teachings at once in a practical manner. The tradition of Yoga offers useful instruments to shape our life, so that we become capable to fight against loneliness, fear and suffering in what is generally called “the struggle for survival”.
In the Western world knowledge has developed mostly towards external things and objects, so the extroverted function of the mind dominates almost absolutely over the introverted function. People do not consider that both these functions are equally important in the operation of the mind and, according to the ancient sages of India, they should be perfectly balanced in order to bring the individual to a global, deep consciousness, above the influences of the external world that often create defects or mistakes in perception.
Sometimes during our lifetime we find ourselves in situations and circumstances that distract us from understanding the purpose, the real goal of existence, the reason of this evolution from birth to old age to death.
First of all I want to summarize some essential points, introducing the fundamental concepts of the science of Yoga, so that you can get a general understanding for a better orientation of your life. This knowledge is the preliminary stage of a deeper study intended to explore the “mysteries” of man and existence. In order to approach and understand the teachings of Yoga it is absolutely necessary to have a proper attitude, and especially avoid to be conditioned by prejudice. We need to break free from our mental patterns and develop a healthy emotional detachment from previous beliefs and judgements, so that we don't close the door to new perspectives of vision that could enrich our life and our understanding of the world. Obviously this is not easy, because generally mind patterns subconsciously condition our capacity of perceiving and evaluating things, but through our will power, concentration and effort, it will be possible. The more each one of us becomes able to understand and to apply higher concepts on himself and on his own daily reality, the better the quality of life will be.
The results of a serious and constant practice of Yoga are visible and substantial: the same things that used to give us so many problems, blocking breathing and blood circulation, disturbing sleep and creating anxiety, will be considered with a smile and overcome without having to depend on pharmaceutical medication, which is a real disaster.[...]
1. Literally ‘union’, from the Sanskrit root yuj ‘to unite, connect’. Yoga is one of the six Darshanas or classical Indian philosophy systems, aiming at reconnecting the self with the universal reality, or the infinitesimal consciousness with the cosmic consciousness.
2. The word sadhana derives from the Sanskrit root sadh ‘to go directly to a purpose, to have success’.
Note on the Author:
"Founder and President of Centro Studi Bhaktivedanta and of its Academic Department of Traditional Indian Sciences is Prof. Marco Ferrini, Ph. D. Psychology. For over thirty years, he has been studying and teaching Vedic culture and his research has taken him in numerous study trips in India and long stays in the sacred Hindu sites. He has designed radio programs and appeared in television broadcasts focused on topics of Vedic culture. He is author of several essays and books on ancient Indian Philosophy, Sciences, Arts and Religion. (continue)