When you stress on Asanas, Pranayama, Savasana, diet and nutrition, positive thinking and meditation, then you are bound to activate your higher consciousness, says DR SANJAY TEOTIA

Higher consciousness is often used by spiritually minded people to describe important, but hard-to-reach mental states. Higher consciousness is the consciousness of a God or the part of the human mind that is capable of transcending animal instincts. The term is associated with multiple belief systems but its basic premise describes an eternal, omnipotent, conscious and intelligent being. The highest states of consciousness include lucid dreaming, out-of-body experiences, mystical experiences and near-death experiences. A more simpler explanation is this: The spiritual side of yoga helps you to discover who you really are and also helps you to develop the intuitive wisdom needed to live a fulfilled life.

The word ‘spiritual yoga’ means to join or unite and yogis view this union in different ways: the joining together of body, mind and spirit, uniting all aspects of yourself or uniting with a higher power or spiritual force. You can believe in a God or gods or in nothing at all. When committing to a spiritual yoga practice on a regular basis, a person seeks to experience and become aware of the spirit or the energy within and without.

It is your spirit that is behind your higher consciousness; it is your driving force, a motivation, a reason behind everything we think and everything we do. Being aware of this energy is something spiritual. In creating awareness within yourself, you can transform your mind, which in turn affects how you live your life and how you interact with others. The original context of yoga was spiritual development practices to train the body and mind to self-observe and become aware of their own nature. The purpose of spiritual yoga is to cultivate discernment, awareness, self-regulation and higher consciousness within the self.

Dr Sanjay Teotia

There are some important principles of spiritual yoga that include proper exercise (Asanas), proper breathing (Pranayama), proper relaxation (Savasana), proper diet and nutrition, positive thinking and meditation. Although yoga is not a religion, this ancient practice can affect a person spiritually. Spiritual yoga helps people find the path to inner peace by developing love and compassion for themselves and others. Spiritual yoga emphasises the importance of regular meditation because this helps a person to keep his or her thoughts positive. Any time that a negative thought comes through during meditation, it is gently pushed away by refocusing on breathing and relaxation of the body.

According to Paramhansa Yogananda, spiritual yoga is an art as well as a science. It is a science because it offers practical methods for controlling the body and mind, thereby facilitating deep meditation. And it is an art, for unless it is practised intuitively and sensitively, it will yield only superficial results.

Seven levels of consciousness make up the path of spiritual development: the states of waking consciousness, deep sleep, dreaming, transcendental consciousness, cosmic consciousness, god consciousness and unity consciousness.

The first three states, waking consciousness, deep sleep and the dream state are known to everyone with a functional nervous system. The last four levels, transcendental, Cosmic, god and unity consciousness are usually not available to all, as one can tap into them only if one engages in regular practice of meditation. True awakening is not just about spiritual enlightenment or liberation. Awakening implies knowledge, wisdom, awareness and responsiveness to the problems and situations in life. You spend a whole lifetime thinking and working about your job, your family, your relationships, your successes and failures, your problems and struggles. Then suddenly you realise one day that there is more to life than the mere pursuit of things that are merely ephemeral and never last for ever. This realisation is key to your awakening.

Dr Sanjay Teotia is a senior consultant eye surgeon and Chief Medical Superintendent of District Hospital, Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh. He is a prolific spiritual writer and his articles appear regularly in Navbharat Times and in Times of India, apart from YoursPositively

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