View Full Version : Mixing elements from different Yoga's.

02 April 2009, 06:01 PM
Is it ok for one to mix different elements from different Yoga schools?

For example:
I believe in Advaita Vedanta, although I tried Atma-Vichara and it got me a bit confused... It seems to be a very intense form of meditation.
I practice some surya namaskar's and I have very strong interest in meditation in general, Buddhist, Atma-Vichara, Raja Yoga...
Also I think practicing Bhakti would probably make me a bit more grounded and humble. I tried an exercise today that I think is compatibe with Advaita, which was to look at other human's as Brahman, more precisely as just another myself inside another body. The feeling was very good...

What's your opinion on this?
This mixture of different styles??

03 April 2009, 10:34 AM
I think mixing of different styles of inquiry is just fine because they are complementarity to one another, like the six Hindu systems of philosophy.

• Advaita, as the highest form of inquiry, is a top-down approach: we consider ourselves as the Self--Atman--Brahman and inquire into why we became what we are.

• Bhakti, the ground-level form of inquiry, is a bottom-up approach: we consider ourselves to be our favourite deity's subjects and the deity as our ruler and seek his/her grace to upgrade ourselves to become eligible for a suitable form of mokSha ('sAlokya', etc). (http://www.christinemoore.freeserve.co.uk/yoga/who_is_a_yogi.htm)

• Asanas and namaskAras, yama and niyama, svadharma, and yoga meditation are sAdhanas (tools) to know our present level of spiritual development and prod us on in the path we choose.

04 April 2009, 04:07 PM
The first meditation I've read about, was one that rung a bell inside... I "fell in love" with it! Maybe it was a sign.

I think it is called "unstructured meditation". It is kind of what Jiddu Krishnamurti recommends.
To observe whatever arises in consciousness, be it thoughts, emotions, images, sense information, imagination, etc...

Is there a place for this kind of meditation in Raja Yoga? My former yoga teacher used to say it was a very good meditation...

Eastern Mind
04 April 2009, 06:55 PM
Is it ok for one to mix different elements from different Yoga schools?

For example:
I believe in Advaita Vedanta, although I tried Atma-Vichara and it got me a bit confused...

Well, yes, it could be confusing. Here is an analogy. I used to teach grade school. In Britain, and elsewhere, I presume, for basic subtraction, there is an algorithm. The algorithm that is used and taught here in Canada is a different one. I had a colleague come to me once with this problem. A new student fresh from England had arrived, and set about doing some subtraction problems. His teacher, not being well trained in Math, simply could not figure out how he was getting all correct answers yet was doing it completely the wrong way.
For the life of me I could not convince her that it was unnecessary to teach him the Canadian algorithm. It worked for him. Why change it. Now if I tried to teach both algorithms at the same time, only a few of my students would get it. (Those that actually understood subtraction from the real level of a set being removed from a set) The rest would be confused and probably be combining bits and pieces of each algorithm, arriving at wrong answers all the time. So, if you understand things in a deeper way, fine, but if you dont, well, yes you could get confused.

Aum Namasivaya

markandeya 108 dasa
12 September 2018, 08:58 AM

As this question pops up a lot and is perhaps one of the most asked questions, the subject always becomes one of importance, because there is no subject to our human condition that is more important.

When reading through the jnana yoga portion of the forum I thought to bring this up due to a recent question about confusion in reading different authors and traditions.

All the answers above in the post are valid, from mixing techniques from the opening to the synthesis and natural integration to mixing where it may cause confusion, but how to make sense of it, especially for ones who are new to learning about great path and traditions of Sanatana Dharma with all its diversity and traditions.

Perhaps the best text to read in this regard is to get a firm understanding of the Bhagavad Gita, as Bhagavad Gita covers many different forms of yoga. Samkhya, Karma, Dhyana, Raja, Bhakti, vijnana and Jnana as the main ones. For many this may seem to cause some problems of which one I should choose. I have read or gone through as many versions as possible, and if seen in the right light none of them really contradict each other, in fact the opposite, different versions may have the stamp of the author or commentator which may emphasize a certain mood. ISKCON may promote the emphasis on Bhakti and Karma Yoga, while more traditional Advaita versions may emphasize Jnana yoga, one thing that I feel that should be understood is that Advaita is not a practice and not always for begginers and it cannot be imitated and comes via anugraha, to understand Advaita proper is no ordinary thing and is revealed only by Brahman which is beyond the scope of sense and mind perception and even what is termed as intellectual and philosophical, so these maybe the two polar opposites on first glance, but as one gains more momentum in understanding Bhagavad Gita ones see’s how Samkhya, Karma, Bhakti and Jnana all compliment each other and are all part of the same body of Bhagavad Gita. Finally, the understanding of Gita remains in two interdependent parts, purva mimamsa and Uttara Mimamsa, the most basic and easy way to understand what purva mimamsa is the way of sadhana practice and Uttara is spontaneous and requires no effort or sadhana, it is the culmination and goal and reward of sadhana.

The first question that may come up is what version of Bhagavad Gita should I read( if one chooses to start from that text). That question has come up before and it has had mixed results due to preferences of the members chosen version of Bhagavad Gita. My own answer would be to stick with what is comfortable and keeps one engaged and gradually deepen the understanding over time and be open to other translations and stick to the same process of being comfortable and not make it to philosophical, intellectual or religious, by religious I mean fixed doctrinal ideas and sectarianism, which have been two of my main oppositions on the spiritual path due to causing tensions among groups, and allow others to grow in their own way which inspires them. Self Realization is accessed through the middle ground which is beyond all extremes, so having no extremes in ones view or practice is a healthy start and will help to develop sthitha prajna, which seems to be essential for Self Realization as per Bhagavad Gita itself.

Ultimately Bhagavad Gita becomes very personal to oneself and in more mature stages it seems that we all have our own unique Bhagavad Gita, so as many living beings there are as many versions of Bhagavad Gita.

There is a saying that a sign of intelligence is to able to hold onto an idea or ideas even if they contradict each other and not be disturbed by them and just analyse them for what they are. Usually what I have found is that after some time when holding onto them without getting involved to deeply in them only that which becomes relevant remains, especially if one has a practice where mind and lifeforce is being purified. Hence the most important part is practice and self-purification. This again may cause some confusion as one may ask well what is my practice as there too seems to be s many different practices, the answer again should be a simple one, just stick to what one is comfortable with and what one feels inspiration and becomes practical to that process of self-purification and transformation that leads one into yoga or union.

This maybe part of my own approach but more and more recently the second chapter of Bhagavad Gita really seems to be the ground of whole Sanatana Dharma, one can read whatever inspires them and all of Bhagavad Gita but a real grounding in Second Chapter Samkhya Yoga will protect the sadhaka ~ practitioner in further investigation. Its almost like the spine of transcendent understanding and then when one comes across other works and practices there is little tension and certain not any form of intellectual or sectarian discord, one is only left with a sense of wonder and expansion of the whole discovery of Brahman and ways to reunite our limited conditioned consciousness with Brahman.

Above all what is perhaps the most essential ingredient is patience. We now live in world where we want instant results, fast food, on and off switches, time is money, mundane rationality and logic, materialistic scientist asking to show me God right now. These factors of modern society have an influence on the subconsciousness and can make things complicated, when the path is simple, it maybe hard to purify the mind and life has challenges but in essence the way to Self Realization is found in states without tension without conflict, and then the process of unfoldment becomes one of wonder, to learn something new everyday, to deepen ones own understanding is an ongoing process, in many ways there is not final goal, for even if one does attain to Brahman realization the nature of Brahman is to always expand, so the process of unfoldment is always there.

Dandavat Pranam