The path of Raja yoga helps us to master our minds and find inner stillness in order to connect to our deepest and truest selves.
Embarking on one of the four yogic paths means getting to know ourselves on a deeper level, and recognizing parts of ourselves that we might not always want to pay attention to. The Raja yoga pathway may be one of the most challenging paths of all, as it forces us to confront our concept of Self as something separate from the rest of the universe, and challenges us to see beyond our busy “monkey mind” and into the deeper existence that we are all a part of.
Only by calming our minds and resting in the absence of conscious thought can we obtain this breakthrough, and this is where the path of Raja yoga seeks to bring us. Unsurprisingly, meditation is, therefore, one of the most powerful tools of the Raja yogic path:
Raja Yoga suggests the tool of meditation: slowing down the chaos of the mind so much that, for an extended period of time, there is only one, continuous thought. This leads to total absorption in the nature of reality, known as Samadhi, although often it takes a long time and dedicated practice (abhyasa).
Some believe that this is actually how the practice of yoga that we know today originally began…
The ancient rishis, or sages…knew that calming the mind is no easy task and that often meditation is not enough. For those in which the chaos of the mind is too wild to contain with only meditation, they developed a system of practice found in The Yoga Upanishads. This system works with developing fitness, flexible stability, and awareness of all aspects of our being, starting with the grossest aspect of our existence (our physical bodies), and working inward toward the most subtle (our minds, intuition, and awareness). What we do in most yoga classes these days is just a small sliver of this type of practice, with the ultimate aim being to calm the mind and rest in our true nature.
…Raja Yoga is a study of the human mind, becoming aware of its habitual tendencies, and ultimately transcending identification with the body-mind-intellect complex through meditation to rest in the vast ocean of consciousness, which comprises it all.
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