BSY and Rikhiapeeth Ashrams in India

Bihar School of Yoga and Rikhiapeeth Ashrams in India are the top places to study authentic tradition of Yoga and Sannyasa.

Bihar School of Yoga in Munger, Bihar

Bihar School of Yoga was established on 1963 by Paramhansa Satyananda Saraswati Ji. The Bihar School Of Yoga is famous Worldwide for being the World’s First Yoga University” where you get to learn complete aspects and dynamics of Ancient Yoga, be it Hath Yoga, Raj Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Gyan Yoga or Bhakti Yoga.

On 68th Republic Day of India (26th January 2017), Government of India has honoured “Padma Bhushan” Award to Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati, Spiritual Head of Bihar School of Yoga. The Padma Bhushan is the third-highest civilian award in the Republic of India, after the Bharat Ratna and the Padma Vibhushan. The award ‘Padma Bhushan’ is given for distinguished service of high order.

Rikhiapeeth Ashram in Deoghar, Jharkhand

“Sri Swami Satyananda established Rikhiapeeth in his Tapobhumi in Rikhia, Jharkhand. Sri Swamiji’s life during his Tapas in Rikhia had the Kanyas and their role in the very nucleus.

The Kanyas are from the ancient Santhali tribe! The seva at Rikhia has completely transformed their lives. Today most of the programs including the Havan and Aradhana are performed by the kanyas and batuks! Not just havan and pooja, they learn so much from the best sources in the world.

At the Rikhiapeeth ashram, on Saturdays, Kanyas perform the Maha Mrityunjaya Havan and Rudrabhishekam for the welfare of the whole world!”

“Rikhia is Center of Yoga, Meditation and Peace. Amazing place to visit on the land of lord shiva. The Rikhiapeeth is located 12 km away from Deoghar Town in Rikhia village panchayat in Jharkhand (India). It is a great place to de-stress because simply being there reduces and removes the stress levels one tends to accumulate in life. The place is pure, serene and radiates peace. Undoubtedly the strong spiritual presence of the rishis, enlightened sages, at Rikhia in the past has percolated down to the present day as the place is pure, serene and radiates peace. Its location abounds in divine vibrations as it is the tapobhumi, place of intense spiritual practices and austerities of Swami Satyananda where he performed the Panchagni Vidya, the five fires worship, and other long and arduous Vedic sadhanas or spiritual practices.

Rikhia consists of Rikhiapeeth, Sivananda Ashram and Sivananda Math. Here over 2500 poor children are provided with food daily along with support, education and training. Every year a grand fair is held here with great pomp and show. There are various event took place all-round the year in which huge number of tourist participated from abroad.”

“The ashram Sivanandashram is located in Rikhia, near Deoghar in the State of Jharkhand. The access is easy by train from Calcutta (around 4 hours) or from Delhi (around 16 heures).

Rikhia Yogashram, also known as Sri Sri Panch Dashanam Paramhansa Alakhbarah, is one of the earliest established Yogashrams of India. The site was established by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, a disciple of Swami Shivananda Saraswati. Apart from this, he also founded International Yoga Mandal and Bihar Yoga Vidyalaya in 1956 and 1964, with an aim to show right path through spiritual knowledge.

In 1983, the founder announced Swami Niranjananandaji as his heir and appointed him as the president of Bihar Yoga Vidyalaya and its related centres. In 1984, Shivananda Math was founded by him for undertaking physical treatment and providing medicines free of cost.

During 1988, swami came to this site and started performing penance. The offerings he receives from devotees are donated to the needy and poor. Sita Vivah along with a grand fair is organised every year during the months of November and December.

RECENT SATSANG WITH Peethadhishwari Swami Satyasangananda

Knock Knock Unlock


Let in the Light

Out of the unseen and un-manifest, Man emerges onto the world stage fully readymade. All circuits are in place all the wiring and channels are laid out and the switches installed. The scene is set for illumination. Like a skilled electrician He just has to unlock his inner network and initiate the connection.

Life is a process of unlocking. We knock on many doors hoping we have the right key. Sometimes we stumble onto the right key and open a few doors and often we have to face disappointment and defeat, because we could not find the right key to fit the lock.

Every lock comes with a key or a code. Each day, we unlock our homes, our offices, our phones, our iPads and laptops, our bank accounts and passwords.How about extending this a bit further and think about unlocking our self created physical and mental, compartments and cages. We are locked in our fears, insecurities, disappointments, failures, ideas, opinions and judgements, mis-understandings and grievances. It is difficult for us to break out of these cages.To unlock and set ourselves free, we need a Master Key.

Now more than ever before, during this Great Lockdown, one realises the importance of unlocking. In that sense this was not a lockdown but a time for unlocking and opening closed barriers, limited ways of thinking, selfish ways of acting and negative ways of feeling. I hope that is happening. We all talk a lot about freedom as our birthright. Yes, freedom from negativity is our birthright.

To unlock oneself is a tricky business because it requires us to become totally transparent. Perhaps a bit vulnerable too as all barriers have to dissolve. But on the other hand it is a simple business too. For all you have to do to break your barriers is to flow with the natural energy abounding in the universe. You have to become your natural self.

That natural energy knows no barriers. It is free flowing energy. It pervades every atom and particle of this Universe. It enters every nook and cranny including the darkest recesses of our minds. It is the cosmic Energy. To flow in tune with the cosmic energy one has to remove all that obstructs its movement. In a sense we have to become totally translucent. We have to become like crystal that absorbs all light, not to devour it, but only to emit beautiful colours.

Isn’t it ironical that the simplest thing in the world, to be natural, has become the most difficult for us. We have moved very far away from our natural resources and so it appears an almost alien idea. Perhaps we would not even recognise ourselves should we become natural, simple, spontaneous, moving with the flow and living in the moment. Being natural doesn’t just mean planting trees and spending your day in the forest or in the mountains or by the sea. Being natural is to flow with your natural vibration which is the rhythm of the heart and also the rhythm of the universe.

In order to do this it is necessary to have a new vision of life. That vision has to be charged and connected with the sum total of all energies pervading in the universe. The totality of energy. The cosmic energy from which all energies that sustain the creation emanate.

Just as you have 2G/3G/4&5G, I have a name for it too, it’s called DG – DivineJi. It is SUHF, super ultra high frequency, which we humans have an inbuilt mechanism to resource. We don’t need any towers or wifi or instruments or chips or sims or chargers or wires or plug points or electricity outlets. We can move around hands free, because that infrastructure is inbuilt.

This is the age of connectivity they say. So let’s get connected with Divine energy. Let the signal be strong. Let it have the clear and unbroken transmission of DG – DivineJi. This is the inheritance of the human race, our birthright and road to unlocking and freedom.

This requires a new vision of life. A changed vision. A meaningful vision. A vision that includes others, not just me and my tribe, or flock or family or admirers. But all of humanity. In order to get connected with Divine energy one must be connected with everyone and everything. Nothing should be excluded from one’s field of vision. That is the secret road to freedom, peace, love and unity.

Connectivity is the key factor to expansion and broadening our vision. As connectivity grows we acquire knowledge and new horizons emerge. Today we know much more than we ever knew through connectivity because of internet and Google guru. However that is limited to the material, physical and external alone. We must remember that it is a temporary connection like a dream that can get broken any time.

Tomorrow if the earth’s magnetic field is disturbed all internet services may crash and our connectivity is reduced to zero. Our gps is a part of the space satellite system which can get disrupted any time by forces beyond our control. Everything will then slowly but surely come to a standstill as our very ability to function depends on that.

Imagine how it would be if you could not phone or chat or zoom or whatever any more. It’s a possibility. Everyone will start moaning and groaning as they can’t connect with their loved ones or professions or studies or maybe even their doctors. That is how dependent we have become on a system that can fail us any time for Nature can immobilise everything in an instant. Mother Nature has already displayed her power!

This disruption Nature has thrown at us is perhaps then to make us realise that we have to rely as much if not more on DivineG as on 5G. This means we have to become aware of our own in-built GPS system which we have inherited from Mother Nature. We came into this world fully assembled with all systems for this possibility. We just have to unlock the code with the Master key.

Unlocking ourselves and experiencing true freedom is only possible when we become self-reliant, atma-nirbhar to this extent. Distance does not reduce connectivity. It is the vibration or frequency that does. You may be far away from your beloved but as soon as the frequencies match you begin to communicate.
Then there is no separation. There is only union. This is called atman nirbharta or self-reliance. Wealth and status are not the only yardsticks to measure self-reliance. It is our ability to be complete in ourselves that makes us self-reliant. Self reliance attained through external aids such as material prosperity thrives only when it is complimented with internal self reliance.

What is the Master Key? Where does it lie? As I said we came ready made, fully equipped and assembled. In that case we must also have an in-built key. Of course we do. We are unlocking ourselves all the time. We unlock our DNA and grow into full fledged adults, we unlock our minds all the time and grow into intelligent beings. We unlock our intellect and grow into discerning human beings. We unlock our emotions and depending on the quality of our emotions we become stable or unstable human beings.

Emotional immaturity is one of the biggest setbacks man faces. Today the challenge before us is not how to earn money, but how to manage one’s turbulent emotions. One single emotional disturbance can destroy all the intelligence, logic and reasoning that we may be proud to have developed in ourselves. One unruly emotion can drive us to insanity, depression, murder or even suicide. It seems then that the secret of self-reliance lies not just in our wealth, intelligence, intellect, skills and acumen but largely on our ability to manage our emotions. Emotions hold the key for unravelling this great mystery called Life.

Our emotions are the guiding force that can lead to greater connectivity. Emotional energy has great power. It immediately connects you with the object, person, event or even idea that you direct your emotion towards. The emotion of fear keeps you connected to whatever you fear. So does anger, hatred, jealousy, grief, disappointment, betrayal.

It is through our emotions that we connect with everything. If the emotions are bitter and negative we connect with the destructive and if our emotions are pure and loving then we connect with positive fields of energy. In other words, we have to learn how to channelise and sublimate our emotions in such a way that they strengthen the transmission of our internal GPS system. E-motion is energy in motion, if harnessed, and directed properly our emotions can lead to enriching and qualitative experiences in life

The seat of emotions is the heart, not the mind. This does not mean that the heart is mindless. On the contrary the mind can be heartless but the heart can never be mindless. The mind only knows but the heart feels. There is a subtle difference. Knowing makes you knowledgeable and feeling on the other hand touches and transforms you. It is when something touches us that a connection is made and transmission begins. The mind that operates through a pure and kind heart is fully in tune with DivineG. It operates at the same frequency and at once activates our internal transmitters. The key to connect with DivineJi lies in managing our emotions.

Examine your emotions and you will find that essentially they are always pure, peaceful, and nurturing. It is only when they are coloured by other vibrations that they are destroyed and we become selfish, cruel, mean or bitter. We should not allow our natural vibration to be hijacked by anything that will disturb and eventually destroy it.

This happens to us as we face the trials and traumas of life. Difficulties in life create chinks in our emotional armour which leave scars. Our immunity is lowered and we become emotionally weak. We are then susceptible to the invasion of other vibrations which if negative can result in mental afflictions, disorders and incurable ailments. In order to protect ourselves from the side-effects of unwanted negative vibrations or viruses that are in and around us it is imperative for us to develop emotional immunity. We have to become not just intellectual giants but also emotionally strong as well !

Emotional Immunity or balancing of emotions, can only be achieved if there is an awakening of the heart consciousness. By awakening I mean the natural flow of heart energy should be allowed to spread in all directions, unhindered. We should associate feelings with our actions, and those feelings should be pure and vibrant.

Awakening of the heart takes place spontaneously through simple acts of kindness to one another. This strengthens the DivineJi connection instantaneously. The times we are in now is giving us ample opportunities to do that. Do not miss them. Each gesture of Serve Love and Give will at once initiate you into a subtle process of inner connection. The locks will begin to open one by one. Your inner circuits will begin to function and flow with Divine energy and you will be illumined.

Emotional Immunity can also be very effectively attained by sound energy. The science of mantra which is the science of sound can easily accomplish that. Mantras release all latent and dormant tensions from within us. They act like a detergent bringing all the grime to the surface and cleansing us in the process. In addition they create an energy field or kavach around our gross, subtle and causal bodies thus protecting us from any unwanted virulent invasion.

The mantra Om is the rhythm of the universe. The seed sound from which the universe expanded. This mantra resonates with the sound of the universe. It is said to be the natural frequency of the universe and to have cosmic healing powers.

Maha Mrityunjaya mantra can protect you from difficulties, afflictions and adversities of every kind. Gayatri mantra generates an aura of brilliance through which no harmful frequencies can penetrate. Durga mantra bestows an invincible shield which gives immense strength and power to overcome obstacles. Saundarya Lahari, a treatise of siddha mantras, has a remedy for each and every crisis man may face in life and beyond. So Ham is a rebirthing mantra. It is the sound of the breath. If you want to sleep like a baby chant this mantra. The Siddha Kunjika Mantra if repeated daily removes all anxieties and tensions bringing positivity into every sphere of life

Mantras are amogh, they can never fail and will always hit the target, but they have to be unlocked too. They have to be awakened from their dormant state just as we have to awaken our dormant potential to experience a richer quality of experience in life. Mantras are activated quite simply by repetition and gradually pass through the four stages of sound, vaikhari, the spoken, pashyanti, the whisper, madhyama, the mental or unexpressed state of sound and para, the transcendental sound.

This journey of sound if joined with breath awareness creates just the right resonance to accomplish the aim of the mantra and protect us by creating an aura or shield around us through which nothing adverse can enter. This ancient science of sound was at one time prevalent in all cultures, tribes and civilisations. The Vedic and tantric civilisations have preserved this knowledge through the Guru Disciple tradition.

At his Tapobhumi in Rikhiapeeth, Swami Satyananda himself performed uninterrupted Guru Mantra Japa, with breath awareness. To be aware of the mantra with every breath was his goal and accomplishment. At the same time he sowed the seed of seva, nurtured it and breathed Prana or Life into the spirit of Seva.

This is the direction he pointed to us as a path to follow to overcome the calamities of emotional turbulence that we face within ourselves, so that we may unlock our inner power. It is the path of Love. The path of love is always simple, all you have to do is listen to mantras, sing mantras, inhale mantras, swallow mantras, bathe in mantras. Also find out opportunities to be kind to those in distress! Don’t wait for them to knock on your door. Reach out! This is the way to dissolve the despair and dark clouds of anxiety and fear, stress and strain in these troubled times!

Serve Love Give Purify Meditate Realise Be Good Do Good Be Kind Be Compassionate. It’s the best recipe! Try it today! Start Knocking on yourself to Unlock.

Bhakti is the Master key for unlocking the secret chambers of your heart where true wisdom resides. Awaken Bhakti in your heart!

Remembrance is the Way


Online Training with BSY

Bihar Yoga School, Munger was founded in 1963 on the auspicious day of Vasant Panchami.

On the auspicious occasion of Basant Panchami, the Foundation Day of the Bihar School of Yoga, it is a great honour for us to release the first session of our online Satyananda Yoga training. The Satyananda Yoga for Everyone series celebrates the yogic vision of Sri Swami Satyananda, for the benefit and upliftment of all who seek health, happiness and harmony in life.

Satyananda Yoga for Everyone training is an introduction to the yoga practices as taught by Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati and propagated by the Bihar School of Yoga. It is composed of six classes held each fortnight for three months.

The purpose of this yoga training is to deepen your awareness, not only of the physical benefits you may attain, but also of a greater wholistic wellbeing.

This training will strengthen physical stamina and immunity, increase vitality, relax the mind, harmonize the emotions, and cultivate spiritual understanding and awareness. Thereby it will develop a robust positive condition to help you experience wholeness in life.

This training is available in the “Yoga for Everyone Training” section of and will also be presented on the Bihar Yoga app.


Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati (1923–2009) developed the system of Satyananda Yoga which is based on the ancient tradition of yoga. Each of the six classes in this series will cater to the various aspects of one’s personality to attain health, happiness and harmony in life.

Asanas or physical postures, and pranayama or breathing practices, bring about balance and increase vitality. Meditation practices create a focused and calm state of mind.

The daily practice of yoga nidra is a time of yogic relaxation which removes fatigue, enhances mental clarity and makes one fresh, light and ready to continue with one’s day-to-day affairs.

To begin every day with positivity, strength and trust, the three-mantra sadhana (the Mahamrityunjaya and Gayatri mantras and the 32 names of Durga) is done right at the time of waking, before commencing any activity. Each mantra is chanted with a specific sankalpa in mind – for wellbeing, understanding and wisdom, and to overcome difficulties in life.

Apart from practices, Satyananda Yoga emphasizes the importance of a yogic lifestyle. Moments of yoga, or yoga capsules, are integrated in one’s daily routine as a means to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of life, and connect to one’s own inner strength and stillness.

Also attitudes and qualities of karma yoga, bhakti yoga and jnana yoga are being cultivated. They are the yogic approach to enhance the quality of one’s performance, emotions and understanding. As awareness grows, acceptance and positivity become a natural part of one’s everyday activities and interactions.

What is the Hallmark of ‘Bihar Yoga ~ Satyananda Yoga’ ?

If I were to describe the hallmarks of ‘Satyananda Yoga’, I would have to say there are many and it is difficult to put them in some sort of category or order, for they are all a means to the same end – they are all intertwined, interconnected, interrelated but, one especially stands out. For me, the most significant hallmark of ‘Satyananda Yoga’ is Sri Swami Satyananda, himself.

As as sannyasin, he lived the embodiment of Yoga. As a teacher and inspirer, he propagated and spread the word of yoga throughout the world, firstly making yoga a household name, and secondly, a part of society. He then handed over all the institutions he had created to his successor, and went in search to fulfil his guru’s next mandate. For this he settled in Rikhia, a small underdeveloped, poor-stricken area, not visible on the map of India. It was there, through intense sadhana for the well-being of mankind, he fulfilled his last mandate as a sannyasin – to Serve, Love and Give.

These are some of the main hallmarks that he propagated and for which I will always be grateful. Awareness, one of the greatest hallmarks of Satyananda Yoga is the emphasis on developing one’s awareness of mind, feelings and actions.

By focusing on the ancient yogic texts of the Yoga Sutras, Satyananda Yoga practices cultivate the drashta, the seer, the witnessing principle through the practice of Asanas, Pranayama, Mudras, Bandhas and the techniques of Antar Mouna, Satyananda Yoga Nidra , Meditation and Living Consciously etc. By becoming the witness, one begins to take control of their own mind and destiny, in order to achieve inner balance and harmony.

“One who is able to find their balance is known as a Yogi. A Yogi is not a person who practises Yoga; a Yogi is a person who has been able to find inner balance. That happens with awareness, when you become a drashta as a natural culmination of the awareness you have developed.”

“It was Basant Panchami Day in 1963 that saw the foundation of Bihar School of Yoga and on Basant Panchami Day, 19 January 1964, that Sri Swami Satyananda ji lit the undying flame, the Akhanda Jyoti. So that is the day (Basant Panchami) when you shall be witness to the same Akhanda deepak, the undying flame, still lit in Jyoti Mandir, still burning and still bright.

It is the oil of your faith and the wick of your commitment that keeps the light of yoga burning bright, so always remember to come here with two things: oil and wick, the oil of faith and the wick of commitment.”

~ Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati (Spiritual Head of Bihar School of Yoga)

Short Satsangs – Pravachans

… Meditation is accomplished spontaneously. Meditation comes to you and it does not take a long time. But in order to develop the spontaneous state of meditation, it is necessary to go through the whole process of relaxation.

In yoga this process is called pratyahara and dharana. Pratyahara means withdrawal of consciousness, and dharana means conception of consciousness in a particular way. You are your consciousness; you see your awareness but it is an internal perception. It may be a round stone, a triangle, a flower or anything, but you should be able to see it. The object you see inside is not imagination; it is a form of your consciousness.

The triangle you see inside is made up of your consciousness through which you understand me. It is the same consciousness through which I am able to speak to you on yoga, It is the same consciousness through which you know what is right, through which your intellect functions. It is the same consciousness which manifests in day-to-day life in the form of memory, and through which you understand hatred and love. It is the same consciousness which functions in the world. It is not imagination or hypothesis but a force, an awareness, an instrument of knowledge, or medium of understanding, the substance of perception.

It is this consciousness that is withdrawn from objects, from intellectual knowledge, from experience and memory of the past, from the knowledge of right and wrong. When it has been dissociated from the different bases of perception, but at the same time it becomes clear to you in the form of a triangle, flower, stone, light or an animal, then it means that you are seeing your own consciousness. This is the fundamental secret of yoga and meditation.

Meditation is the process in which you see your own consciousness. Consciousness sees itself through itself without any agency. You undergo a process of self-perception, not self-analysis. Here meditation surpasses the psychoanalysis of modern psychology. You not only analyze yourself, you see yourself. How do you see yourself? You see yourself in the form of a triangle; the triangle vanishes and is replaced by the images of your psychological personality.

Hundreds and thousands of images come up, as they do on a reel of film. You do not see objects and scenes from real life, as you have experienced them; perhaps you don’t even see the people you know in this life. You will see those images which represent your consciousness, your instincts and your subliminal impressions. You will see the things which have been causing trouble in your life, the basis of tension, the causes of hatred, insomnia, anxiety and all sorts of psychosomatic problems.

When you try to bring back the triangle, again it disappears. It is replaced by deeper psychological images, because in the subconscious mind there are also depths and layers. You will have to realize these subconscious layers, one after the other, and there are moments in meditation when you will see visions, both good and bad.

Unfortunately, in the absence of this knowledge, you may take them to be what are called astral entities or objective travelling. You may think that ghosts or angels have come to you, but nothing comes from outside; everything emerges from within. Everything has exploded from inside. Your consciousness is everything. There is nothing beyond it. Anything you see in the deeper states of meditation is a manifestation of different, complicated, unseen, unknown and invisible layers of your personality, which, perhaps, you will never know through any method of psychoanalysis.

You may see childhood experiences which you have forgotten and thought insignificant but were causing you trouble. These come up in the form of explosions, evil pictures, or divine expressions. These are the subliminal images or samskaras as they are called in yoga. They come up and exhaust themselves, one after the other. But this is only possible if you try to bring about a concentration, consolidation or crystallization of your consciousness…

Sw. Satyananda


… The process of inhalation and exhalation, of ascending and descending consciousness in the spinal cord or the frontal passage is not meditation. It is an act of negation of consciousness, of withdrawal of empirical, external, objective consciousness. There is a moment in meditation when the circle of consciousness is reduced to one point. That is where relaxation must be stopped. A yoga student should know how far to continue relaxation. If you continue relaxation any further, you will enter into unconsciousness and you will never become aware of it. This is the death of yoga, the death of a yogi.

You must know the point where you should stop the process of negation of consciousness. It is for this reason that every student of meditation should have a symbol. The symbol can be a green leaf, a flower, a star, a triangle, or anything as a matter of fact but you must have one. It is no use having an abstract idea. I have practised this for years and years and it is called abstract meditation, meditation without form. Abstract meditation leads one to unconsciousness; concrete meditation leads one to the unconscious with consciousness.

What is the proof that you have been able to perceive the unconscious? What are the symptoms? What is the indication that you have visualized your unconscious? I am not speaking about superconsciousness. When you are able to visualize the object of your meditation as clearly as you see me or other people every day, you will know that you have seen your unconscious and you have come back.

It is not a conscious dream. In a dream, if you see a rose, but you are not aware that you are seeing a rose, then it is subconscious. The indication of manifestations of the subconscious personality is that you will see psychic visions, one after the other, both good and bad. When you go into the unconscious, the visions stop. No angels or ghosts come. You will only see the object upon which you were trying to crystallize your consciousness. You will see the lotus flower, the elephant, the serpent or the flame, that is all, because this was your object of meditation.

When you see the object of meditation internally, it is so clear, so true, that sometimes when you come out, there is a doubt as to whether this is true or that is true. When the unconscious is perceived, the distinction between conscious and unconscious experience is dissolved. The experience is unconscious if the object is as real as the experience of that object on the conscious plane. If you happen to see me in the unconscious, it is only when you withdraw yourself from the unconscious and come back to the conscious plane that you will know, “Oh, yes, I saw Swamiji as real as this.” This particular state of experience is known in yoga philosophy as darshan, which means unconscious visualization or perception of the object in all its dimensions.

When your consciousness has become completely free from limitations, completely free from sense consciousness, intellectual consciousness and all other modes of empirical consciousness, it is in this state that peace is achieved. It is in this moment that you become a yogi. It is in this moment that all the tensions, afflictions, troubles, shocks and reactions of day-to-day life are completely resolved…

Sw. Satyananda


… Tensions are physical, mental and emotional. Unbalanced hormonal secretions due to faulty living, faulty breathing and so on can cause tensions. They are not necessarily due to the psychological problems of society or the emotional maladjustment of the family. There can also be nervous disorders and other physiological problems. Therefore, in yoga, asana and pranayama come first in order to get rid of muscular and physical tensions, to eliminate the toxins from the body and, at the same time, to balance the hormonal secretions. For instance, over and under secretion of the pituitary hormones, the sexual hormones, adrenaline, thyroxin, all have a great influence on our behaviour and thinking.

These tensions can be solved by the practice of hatha yoga. Asana and pranayama are not just exercises, and should be performed with great care. Scientific investigations carried out in Russia, Poland, India, France and Germany have shown that the whole endocrine system is greatly influenced during the practice of asana. As a result, toxins are eliminated and energy blocks are cleared. Therefore, asana and pranayama remove muscular tensions and then mental tensions, which are the greatest tensions.

Overthinking, wrong thinking and vicious thinking, which we do in our day-to-day life, cause these mental tensions. To eliminate them, we must practise relaxation where we withdraw our consciousness. When the withdrawal or the negation of consciousness has taken place, the next step is the expansion of consciousness. So the whole process is divided into two stages: negation and expansion.

In the process of negation, there are different techniques to withdraw or calm the tensions created by the ocular system, the auditory system and the nervous system, and those created by internal functional deficiencies.

When we practise mediation or relaxation, we must have a technique. Not all techniques are suitable for everyone, but various practices can be taken up without any difficulty or risk. The easiest one is ajapa japa, spontaneous awareness of japa while concentrating on the breath. When you concentrate on the breath, you try to formulate an ascending and descending process. Then the consciousness is withdrawn; the area of experience is diminished. The consciousness functions in a limited area and thereafter you start with a symbol.

You have an image; you have a centre. You try to develop a clearcut psychic, internal, non-sensuous, mental awareness of that symbol. This symbol must become clear to you. You should be able to see it consciously in order to effect complete relaxation. It is not enough just to visualize your subconscious mind. Yoga believes that in meditation you should be able to see your conscious mind, your subconscious mind and also your unconscious mind, which is very difficult.

The moment the experience of the unconscious personality arises, complete relaxation takes place. There are moments during deep sleep when we become aware of the unconscious mind and afterwards we feel completely relaxed. In the science of yoga, it is believed that when the awareness is detached from the conscious, subconscious and unconscious, and when the individual awareness functions independently of these three dimensions of consciousness, relaxation takes place and meditation begins.

Meditation can never begin before relaxation and relaxation is the most difficult thing. You may think that meditation is difficult, but it is not. Meditation is accomplished spontaneously. Meditation comes to you and it does not take a long time. But in order to develop the spontaneous state of meditation, it is necessary to go through the whole process of relaxation…

Sw. Satyananda