The Four Basic Systems of Yoga - Part 1
Robert Elias Najemy
This is Part 1 of a 3-part series of articles. See Part
2 and Part 3.
Various forms of meditation and inner concentration have been
developed by most cultures and systems devoted to human health,
harmony and evolution. The concept of coming into contact
with an inner power, an inner voice, an inner knowledge or
an inner guidance is common to all spiritual systems and religions.
These techniques, however, were used in the past mostly by
the priests, monks, mystics and those with deeper inclination
for spiritual growth. The most scientifically developed and
effective system of inner concentration is probably the system
There is much confusion concerning the meaning of the word,
and what exactly a person who practices yoga does; why he
does it and what effect it has on him and his environment.
Some believe that it is another religion. Others claim that
it is a science of human harmony, while still others praise
its wonderful healing powers on the body and mind.
The truth, of course, for each one of us is relative depending
on our experiences, childhood programming, desires and needs.
I will express to you the truth as I see it after 25 years
of studying and practicing yoga and 20 years of teaching it.
My association with yoga has also brought me into contact
with thousands of other teachers and students of this system
in America, Europe, England, Australia, India, the Middle
East and Greece.
Yoga Is Not A Religion
It is a science of human development and improvement that
can be used in any religious setting, and along with any particular
dogma. It is a system of techniques designed to aid an individual
in creating a world of inner and outer harmony, health and
These techniques will help each to benefit more deeply from
his own religious path. A Christian will become a better Christian,
a Christian in spirit and not only in name. A Hindu will become
a better Hindu, a Moslem a better Moslem.
The same techniques of yoga, which will help a Christian focus
more deeply, and clearly on the Christ, will help a Hindu
to focus more deeply and one-pointedly on Krishna or Rama.
Yoga embraces the concept that there is ONE GOD who is worshiped
through all the religious paths. It never asks a man to change
his religious beliefs or worship some other God.
Yoga has no particular form of God or type of worship. Yoga
is a system of techniques, which help each man and woman worship
more efficiently, independent of his or her religion.
Yoga is like a car that is at the disposal of all. I can use
it to go where I want, and you to go where you want. The same
car takes each of us to where we want. Each chooses his own
Yoga Is Not Retreating From The Responsibilities Of Life
Rather it is a preparation of the body and mind so that one
can perform his duties more efficiently, more happily, more
harmoniously, and more creatively. Any employer who would
make a study of the efficiency, honesty and consistency of
his employees who do yoga, would find that these qualities
are present in them to a greater degree than the average of
What, Then, Is Yoga?
There are many ways to describe yoga. It is something different
to each person according to his needs and goals.
1. It is a Science of Human Development, offering techniques
for the harmonization and mastery of the body, bioenergy,
senses and the mind.
2. It is a way of life which creates a state of inner harmony,
as well as harmony with the environment around us. These guidelines
for living are similar to the Ten Commandments of the Bible
and will be discussed later.
3. It is a method for the transcendence of human suffering,
leading to freedom from illness, pain and unhappiness.
4. It is a system for the development of the inherent mental
and supermental powers, which are at present latent in man.
(We use only one tenth of our brain - evolution has not stopped).
We continue to evolve and yoga is an efficient system for
accelerating human evolution.
5. It is a path to Self - Knowledge beyond the changing reality
of our bodies and personalities.
6. Its ultimate goal is the transcendence of the mind and
union with God, the Universal Spirit living in all beings.
Why Do People Start Practicing Yoga?
People turn to yoga for various reasons according to their
needs, issues, problems and goals in life.
1. The majority start because they have some physical or emotional
problem such as headaches, high blood pressure, spinal problems,
arthritis, constipation, drug dependency, insomnia, nervous
tension, fears, anxieties; or they may have lost a loved one,
or their wealth, or their job, or have some other difficulty
in life. Yoga gives them a chance to help themselves.
It is not a drug that someone can take. Each person learns
to develop his inner strength, to care for his body and mind
properly, to cure himself and to develop his ability to face
life, and to enjoy it.
2. Others start because they simply want to learn to relax
and be at peace with themselves. They enjoy the inner peace
that they feel during and after the practice of the various
techniques. They find that when they develop a daily discipline,
that this peace and sense of well being carries over into
most of the day. They begin to change their attitude towards
3. Others come to improve the quality of their bodies and
minds. They do not have any specific problems, but are interested
in greater control over their bodies and minds. They develop
this increasing control through regular practice of the techniques.
As they progress they are given more difficult techniques.
It is similar to studying any other subject. Whether learning
to drive a car, to play the piano, to cook a good meal, to
run a business, to do scientific research; there are techniques
that can help us learn to master those activities more efficiently.
The same is true with the mastery of the body and mind. There
are techniques that can make the process much easier for us.
4. Fewer people come for spiritual growth, in order to improve
their character, to develop the ability to love more purely,
to increase their self-knowledge, and in general, to become
free from the limitations of their bodies and their minds.
Eventually they feel an increasing need for contact with the
Divine. They want to feel the Divine in every moment, to break
through the illusion of this temporary material reality and
discover the Absolute Truth. They seek enlightenment and union
5. Others may start out of curiosity and if they are not then
attracted by one of the above mentioned motives, they soon
give up the effort.
All motives are acceptable and one motive may lead to another.
Also we often function from a combination of motives.
Please see part 2.
Robert E. Najemy, author of 25 books and life coach
with 30 years of experience, has trained over 300 life coaches
and now does so over the Internet. Become a life coach. Over
600 free article and lectures at www.HolisticHarmony.com