When Sri Swamiji established the Bihar School of Yoga, he developed a system. This system is divided into bahiranga yoga, outer or external yoga, for self-perfection, and antaranga yoga, inner yoga, to express the spiritual attainment. External yoga is that which you do to improve the quality of your body and mind, the expression of your senses and behaviour. It is the effort that you make. Internal yoga is the attitude that you cultivate, the change that you bring into your ideas and perceptions based on your experience, understanding and practice. In outer yoga, you are preparing yourself, reconditioning yourself, fine-tuning yourself.
The purpose of bahiranga yoga is to manage, guide and harmonize the conditions of the senses and the mind. The purpose and aspiration of bahiranga yoga, the outer yoga, is to endow you with sanyam. After the outer has been managed – discipline is attained by the body and the mind through a series of sustained practices, the emotions are better harmonized through a series of sustained practices – then the mind takes on a different understanding. Subsequently, you begin to live a harmonious, peaceful, creative life. The moment you begin to live the peaceful, harmonious and creative life, your inner self becomes soft. Your inner self begins to experience the change of its radical behaviour in the realm of the senses and realize its pure nature in the realm of the spirit.
In outer yoga, which allows you to attain the discipline of the koshas and to move from physical to mental to spiritual, Sri Swamiji defined three: hatha yoga for the body and prana; raja yoga for the mind; and kriya yoga to go through the awakenings in consciousness and ultimately experience the luminosity of the self from consciousness to spirit. Hatha yoga is for annamaya kosha and pranamaya kosha; raja yoga is for manomaya kosha; and kriya yoga is for vijnanamaya and anandamaya kosha.
These three yogas constitute the discipline to transform the human nature, personality and identity. Even if you live these three yogas without jnana yoga, karma yoga or bhakti yoga, even if you live these three yogas in your home, in your day-to-day life, it is enough. The appropriate, correct and sustained practice of hatha yoga, raja yoga and kriya yoga is enough to take you from point A to point E: A is annamaya, B is pranamaya, C is manomaya, D is vijnanamaya, and E is anandamaya.
Once sanyam has been attained in your life – which is external, physical, psychological and emotional – then the behaviours of the mind change and the natural attitude is different. It becomes purer and untainted, and that natural expression of your inner, enlightened behaviour, is known as bhakti yoga, jnana yoga and karma yoga.
October 2015, Ganga Darshan