Now I proceed to explain the system of yoga philosophy in brief and bring home to the readers the salient and vital points in the yogic system. Yoga teaches how to control the vrttis (thought-waves) of the mind and get freedom. Yoga teaches how to curb the outgoing mind and attain one’s pure state of bliss by going beyond the mind. Yoga teaches how to transmute the unregenerate nature and attain the state of divinity. Yoga is a complete suppression of the tendency of the mind to transform itself into objects, thoughts, etc.
Raja yoga is an exact science. One can ascend the yogic ladder patiently through its different rungs. The highest summit of the ladder is asamprajnata samadhi (superconsciousness), wherein all the samskaras (mental impressions), which bring about successive births, are absolutely fried up. The eight limbs of ashtanga yoga are: yama (self-restraint), niyama (religious observances or canons), asana (posture), pranayama (restraint of breath), pratyahara (abstraction of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (super-conscious state).
This is one kind of classification of yoga: karma, upasana, raja yoga and jnana. This is yogatraya (three-fold yoga). Upasana is bhakti. Another classification is mantra yoga, laya yoga, hatha yoga and raja yoga. Mantra yoga is recitation of mantras as “Om Namah Sivaya” of Lord Siva, “Om Namo Narayanaya” of Lord Vishnu, Gayatri, etc. Laya yoga is kundalinl yoga. Nada anusadhana (concentration on anahata sounds of heart) is also laya yoga. Laya means dissolution. The mind is dissolved in God.
Hatha yoga relates to the restraint of breath, (pranayama), asanas, bandhas, mudras, etc. ‘Ha’ and ‘Tha’ mean the union of sun and moon, union of prar:a and apana. Hatha means any obstinate practice till the object or end is achieved. Hatha is sticking to some spiritual practices. Mauna (vow of silence), trataka (steady gazing), crystal gazing, standing on one leg (a kind of austerity) etc., are all hatha practices. Hatha yoga is not separate from raja yoga. It prepares the student to take up raja yoga. Hatha yoga is concerned with the breath (prana) and the physical body. Pranayama purifies the pranamaya kosa (vital sheath).