Satyananda Yoga - Traditions

Tantra

Sri YantraTantra is a collective title that covers a vast range of practical teachings leading to the expansion of human consciousness and the liberation of primal energy (Kundalini). The unifying principle behind the diverse systems of tantra is that the material world and its experiences can be utilised to attain enlightenment.

Many movements today describe tantra as sexual practices promising longer and better orgasms, increased stamina and ecstasy, but this is a shallow and paltry echo of the Tantric Tradition. The real Tantra aims to awaken Kundalini, the dormant potential force in the human personality.

Although there are many branches of Tantra, the practices common to all systems leading to transcendental awakening are mantras (vibrational tuning through sounds), yantras (concentration symbols to liberate the consciousness), chakras (realisation of psychic centres), mandalas (perception of macrocosmos in microcosmos), tapasya (practices of self-purification), Raja Yoga (integral yoga), pranayama (yogic breathing practices), self surrender, shaktipat (transmission of energy) and tantric initiations (a process incorporating all of the above imparted by the qualified master to a deserving disciple).

Tantra advocates a pattern of life which integrates the faculties of the intellect and the heart. The faculties of the intellect are discrimination and concentration, and those of the heart are seeing the unseen, having glimpses of the transcendental or cosmic consciousness beyond the material.

Literature on this subject includes A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya and Kundalini Tantra.

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Vedantic

omThe Vedic Tradition is one of the most ancient surviving spiritual and mystical traditions on the planet. It advocates realisation of the divine as the ultimate truth and living a pious and virtuous life in the material world.

The central theme of the vedic philosophy is that God is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent reality, whereas the individual is only an actor who "struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more". In order to experience the qualities of the transcendental reality which are satyam (the truth), shivam (the auspicious) and sundaram (the beautiful), one needs to follow a way of life in which one is able to harmonise the thoughts, the behaviour and the actions.

Meditative contemplation, faith in God, trust in oneself, appreciation of and living in harmony with the environment and nature, experiencing oneness in all interactions are some of the basic foundations of the Vedic Tradition.

Just as different beads of a rosary are linked together by one single thread, similarly all the various traditions of Vedanta and Tantra are linked by Yoga. Yoga is the underlying practical aspect of all spiritual traditions as it leads to enhanced awareness and realisation of personal belief.

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Yogic

Seated YogiYoga is an ancient and complete humanistic spiritual science which evolved with the Saraswati, Kaveri, Narmada, Godawari and Gangetic civilizations in India, through thousands of years of study and inner experience. Today people practice yoga for bodily health, mental concentration, tranquillity and spiritual experience. There are a variety of yogic paths to suit different human needs and temperaments all of which assist in the liberation of human potential and creativity. Understandably, many of the paths interact and flow into each other and, individually or combined, they are tools designed to help us become caring and considerate, loving and compassionate human beings.

Traditionally the word yoga is defined as the union or integration of individual with universal consciousness. On a practical level, it is a way to balance and harmonise the body, mind and emotions. This is achieved by practising asana (physical postures), pranayama (breathing practices), mudra and bandha (psycho-physiological energy release techniques), shatkarma (internal cleansing practices) and a wide variety of meditation techniques. Through yoga the limitations of life can be transcended; greater skills and efficiency in action can be attained which results in the expression of higher levels of creativity and positivity in life.

Yoga is a theme which was deeply studied and practised by past civilizations. As the world changed, the yogic tradition was maintained in India by seers and sannyasins who had dedicated their lives to preserve the ancient wisdom for posterity. Therefore the teaching of yoga now emanates from sannyasins and ashrams, and encourages master/aspirant (guru/disciple) relationship to experience the spirit of yoga.

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