The New Yoga
Updated: Nov 9, 2019
When I was studying for a yoga training more than 10 years ago, I was asked what kind of a yoga teacher I am going to be. At that time yoga was universal to me and every style which developed from this ancient system must result in one, after all yoga means “union”. It was actually quiet confusing reading all these different books and only through getting to know Purna Yoga and deeper studies into the vast history of yoga I could finally start to put the puzzles together and get some extremely "new" insights.
“A new yoga has emerged” and it is considerably young, just about a hundred years. The old yoga prepared humanity for the next step of evolution, now it is up to us to take these tools and create the world we want to live in, using the old yogic wisdom with a new approach. The man who started this yoga revolution was Sri Aurobindo, an Indian nationalist, poet and spiritual reformer. His vision was the evolution of human life into a life divine. He believed in a spiritual realisation that not only liberated man, but transformed his nature, enabling a divine life on earth.
THE OLD YOGA
Yoga was first mentioned in the Vedas, the age of the Vedas is unknown, but it is estimated to about 14.000 to 25.000 years old. The main message of the Vedantic philosophy presents the concept “Everything is God”. About 5.000 to 10.000 years ago the Gita was revealed, a scripture which is part of a larger text called Mahabharata. The story of the Gita teaches us to live our Dharma or life’s purpose without attachment to the outcome. Much later Patanjali (2.500 years ago) emphasized in his Yoga Sutras that the mind has to be understood and controlled before the body. The Sutras include the Ashtanga (8 limbed) path to work towards Samadhi, a state of absolute consciousness and liberation. Around 800 years ago the Hatha Yoga Pradipika brought about the popularity of asana practice and emphasized that the body must be understood and controlled before the mind. The opposite of what Patanjali presented. In the “old” yoga the ultimate goal was liberation. Roughly the yogic path was for those who wanted to leave the karmic wheel. Saṃsāra is referred to transmigration, karmic cycle, reincarnation and cycle of aimless drifting or mundane existence. Moksha (liberation) is freeing oneself from that cycle.
THE NEW YOGA
Sri Aurobindo was born in Calcutta in 1872. At the age of seven he was taken to England for education. There he studied at St. Paul's School, London, and at King's College, Cambridge. Returning to India in 1893, he worked for the next thirteen years in the Princely State of Baroda. During this period he also joined a revolutionary society and took a leading role in secret preparations for an uprising against the British Government in India. In 1906, soon after the Partition of Bengal, Sri Aurobindo quit his post in Baroda and went to Calcutta, where he soon became one of the leaders of the Nationalist movement. After fighting for the independence of India he was imprisoned and during his stay in jail he had mystical and spiritual experiences. When he was released he moved to Pondicherry a French colony at that time, leaving politics for spiritual work.
In Pondicherry, Aurobindo dedicated himself to his spiritual and philosophical pursuits and developed a method of spiritual practice he called Integral Yoga. Along with “The Mother” Mirra Alfassa (1878 – 1973) they came about a new understanding of yoga. The yoga of transformation. Integral yoga deals with four levels of the human being: the physical, the mental, the vital and the psychic. The theme of his efforts was the evolution of human life into a life divine. He believed in a spiritual realization that not only liberated man but transformed his nature, so that he can live that divinity right here on earth. When Sri Aurobindo died in 1950, The Mother continued their spiritual work, directed the ashram, and guided their disciples. Sri Aurobindo’s is the yoga of the future, he started where all other yoga’s ended.
Yoga today. Why do we practice yoga? To perform great yoga poses or to free ourselves from future lives? If we are part of a mission to make this planet a better place to live in, every single one of us is having some responsibility. What are the reasons behind our practice and efforts? Are we performing a yoga pose for the sake of the pose? What if we practice meditation for the reason of having only a stilled mind? If we do our actions from a place which serves only ourselves? Whatever for we do our yoga practice, it will feed that energy. If we do our asana practice from our heart it will serve us to be more in our bodies and therefore getting us closer to who we truly are. If our meditation is guided for a higher purpose, like Heartfull Meditation, to direct the light into our bodies, we will find true peace and at the same time enlighten everyone around us. If our actions serve our Dharma more than the ego, true happiness will come our way. And that’s why we have Purna Yoga.
In the last decade yoga master Aadil Palkhivala has been developing a more encompassing approach to yoga, similar to the one envisioned by his master, Sri Aurobindo. Purna is a Sanskrit word meaning “complete.” Purna Yoga is an evolving system using a wide variety of inspiring and effective techniques to address our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. Purna Yoga is Aadil’s synthesis of the vastness of yoga into a format designed to help others in their quest to fulfill their dharma or life purpose. “Taking responsibility for this humanitarian shift we have to get knowledge of many related fields like the food we put into our bodies and making the lifestyle choices to be able to hold the light.“
HEARTFULL MEDITATION™ FOR TRANSFORMATION by Savitri
Many meditation techniques give us inner peace and a state of bliss which is named involution. Involution has no effect on the outer world. Savitri, is the co-founder of Purna Yoga and her meditation is both, involution and evolution. It is a mediation which is dynamic.
Heartfull Meditation™ is the goal of what Yoga truly means. Yoga means unity and the beauty of Heartfull™ is that you learn ways to truly connect with that part of you that is the home of conscience, intuition, love, wisdom, discernment and kindness which are parts of us which truly need to show up in the time of history we’re in.
Savitri teaches Heartfull Meditation techniques and it's called HeartFULL for a reason! Your heart (heart chakra) is full of all the beauty that is you. Intuition, integrity, conscience, morals, the feelings and actions behind these words lies within your heart.
One of her meditation “snacks” is called mental centring: “The mind is great, it is a fabulous computer. It gathers the data from the senses and bases everything on that data. There are so many thoughts out there, and knowing which ones are yours is the true challenge. Mental centring gathers those thoughts which are not yours or thoughts which you wish to transform, to your heart. “
Another snack is vital centring: “There's this thing called sexual energy and chi energy, it is pretty powerful. It's not wise, however. This technique brings those strong urges of desires, intensity, need, greed, and so forth up to the heart so that the wisdom of the heart can guide this powerful energy to transformation.”
“These meditation techniques are extremely logical and practical. Instead of taking me away from life they have taught me how to truly live it.” Savitri, creator of Heartfull Meditation
Purna yoga is grounded in ancient wisdom, with its roots in the past and its reach into the future, it is here to help create the world we have all dreamed of, right now.
My gratitude goes out to my teachers and their teachers and again their teachers who have paved the way for us to step on to a new path of living a happy, fulfilled and transformational life.
The College of Purna Yoga 500-hour manual, copyright Aadil Palkhivala and Savitri