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Oct 6, 2022 14 min read

The Power of Yoga for Wellness: Jivatma, Parmatma, Union

The Power of Yoga for Wellness: Jivatma, Parmatma, Union
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When most people think of yoga, they think of it as a physical activity that helps with flexibility and strength. While this is undoubtedly true, yoga is much more than just a workout. Yoga is a spiritual practice that can help you connect with your innermost self and experience true wellness.

In essence, the very foundation of Yog is union through the process of Jivatma (the individual soul) becoming one with Parmatma (the universal soul). This union is sometimes described as Samadhi but also, in other ways, as Moksha. Once achieved, it leads to a varied experience but is described as a state of complete bliss and enlightenment.

In this article, we will discuss the power of yoga for spiritual growth and everyday wellness. We will also explore the concept of Jivatma becoming one with Parmatma in total divine union.

So read on to avoid missing out on the historical and foundational understanding of Yog, which can help you uncover the true power of this spiritual practice.

The Foundation of Yog: Union

Historically speaking, from the origins of Yog, the fundamental principle was always union. The word “yoga” itself is derived from the Sanskrit root “yuj,” which means “to yoke” or “to unite.” So at its core, yoga is about unification – specifically, the unification of Jivatma and Parmatma.

It is described that through our human experience, we are all Jivatma or individual souls. And beyond that is Parmatma – the universal soul.

The goal of yoga is to still the fluctuations of the mind (known as “Chitta-Vritti-Nirodha” as per Patanjali) and achieve Samadhi, or complete union with Parmatma.

When this occurs, we experience what is known as Moksha – total liberation from the cycle of birth and death. In other words, we become one with the divine and attain true bliss and enlightenment.

Many different paths can lead to this goal of union. And while the end result is always the same, the journey looks different for everyone.

That being said, some fundamental principles remain constant throughout all yoga practices. These include things like ethics (Yamas and Niyamas), breath control (Pranayam), and meditation (Dhyan).

When we commit to a regular yoga practice, we open ourselves up to the possibility of experiencing true wellness – both on a physical and spiritual level. We begin to connect with our innermost selves and tap into a power beyond anything we could have ever imagined.

What Is Jivatma From A Yogic/Sanskrit Perspective?

In the Yogic tradition, Jivatma is often called the “individual soul.” It is described as a spark of the divine that is within every one of us.

Furthermore,  Jivatma is intimately connected to Parmatma – the universal soul. They are seen as two sides of the same coin. Just as Jivatma is a part of Parmatma, Parmatma is also a part of Jivatma.

In Patanjali's work, the Yoga Sutras, Jivatma is defined as "the subject of experience, the knower of the field of objects." In other words, it is that which experiences the world around us.

It is through this connection that we can experience true union and oneness with the divine. And it is through this union that we can attain true bliss and enlightenment.

What Is Parmatma From A Yogic/Sanskrit Perspective?

Parmatma is often called the “universal soul” in the Yogic tradition. It is seen as the source of all creation – both on a macro and micro level.

Parmatma is the infinite, eternal, and omnipresent divine force that permeates all existence. And yet, at the same time, Parmatma is also within us as individuals.

In the works of Patanjali, Parmatma is defined as "the supreme Self, pure consciousness." In other words, it is that which experiences the world around us.

We are all connected to this universal force – whether we realize it or not. And it is through this connection that we can experience true union with the divine.

Examining Yog As A Complete Spiritual System

When most people think of yoga, they focus on the physical asanas (poses) and overlook that it is a complete spiritual system.

To understand the true power of yoga, we must first examine all aspects of this practice – including its history, philosophy, and techniques.

Yoga has its roots in ancient India. And while there are many different schools of thought within yoga, they all share a common goal: union with the divine. In modern times, the consensus of historical documentation suggests that yoga was first developed by the Indo-Aryan people of northern India around 1500 BCE.

The earliest references to yoga can be found in the Rigveda – the oldest of the four Vedas, which is a collection of ancient Indian texts. In these texts, there are frequent mentions of “yoga” and “yogins” (those who practice yoga).

But it wasn’t until much later that we saw any detailed description of what yoga is and how it can be used to achieve union with the divine.

However, there are older texts and inscriptions which are not particularly Yog-centric but do make reference to some of the fundamental principles of yoga. When did Yoga start to become more defined, almost scientific?

Patanjali Intervention

This is a topic of debate, but we do know that by the time of Patanjali (around 400 BCE), yoga had become its own distinct system.

Patanjali is often referred to as the “father of yoga” because he compiled the Yoga Sutras – a collection of 196 Indian aphorisms that form the basis for classical yoga.

In these texts, Patanjali outlines eight “limbs” of yoga, which are still followed by practitioners today. These include things like ethics (Yamas and Niyamas), breath control (Pranayam), and meditation (Dhyan).

It is through these limbs that we begin to see how comprehensive and multi-faceted yoga truly is. It is much more than just a physical practice – it is a complete system for spiritual growth and everyday wellness.

When we commit to a regular yoga practice, we open ourselves up to the possibility of experiencing true wellness – both on a physical and spiritual level. We begin to connect with our innermost selves and tap into a power beyond anything we could have ever imagined.

The Relation of Tantra to Yoga

There is another school of thought that suggests yoga may have originated with the Tantra tradition.

Tantra is all about expanding your consciousness and breaking through limitations.

Tantra emphasizes the importance of experiencing life to its fullest and embracing all aspects of our being – light and dark. And while it shares some similarities with yoga, there are also some key differences.

For example, Tantra is more focused on external rituals and practices, whereas yoga is more internalized. Yoga is also less concerned with specific deities and more focused on achieving union with the divine within ourselves.

Furthermore, Tantra has significantly-less resources available to an English audience, considering that most of the texts are written in Sanskrit. This makes it challenging to study Tantra without a deep understanding of the language.

In contrast, yoga has been widely adopted by Western culture, and there are now thousands of resources available in English (and other languages). This makes it much more accessible to people interested in exploring its benefits.

Is Shiva the Creator of Yoga?

One of the most popular origin stories for yoga is that it was created by Lord Shiva – the Hindu god of destruction and transformation.

This story comes from various traditions, for instance, Shaivism, which is one of the four major branches of Hinduism.

According to various traditions, Shiva is the supreme god who created and controls everything in the universe. He is also responsible for destroying it when it’s time for rebirth and regeneration.

In this story, Shiva is said to have passed down the secrets of yoga to his wife, Parvati. And from there, she taught it to human beings so that we could experience union with Shiva (and ultimately achieve liberation).

Shiva, the Adiyogi or “first yogi,” is also considered the patron god of yoga. He is often depicted in yoga artwork and statues, and many people wear jewelry with his image as a way to honor him.

Even in modern times, Shiva is the personification of Yog for most people. And by no mistake, this is true, as the primary method for teaching Yog is through story-telling, passed on through Guru to disciple.

So, while we may not know who created yoga, we can be sure that it is a practice with a rich and textured history. A history that has been passed down through generations and continues to evolve even today.

What Is the Power of Yoga?

Now that we’ve explored some of the history and origins of yoga, let’s take a look at what this ancient practice can do for us today.

Yoga is a potent tool that can be used for physical, mental, and spiritual growth. It is a practice that helps us to connect with our true selves and experience a sense of union with the divine.

When we commit to a regular yoga practice, we open ourselves up to the possibility of experiencing true wellness – both on a physical and spiritual level. We begin to connect with our innermost selves and tap into a power beyond anything we could have ever imagined.

The physical benefits of yoga are well-documented and continue to be researched by scientists worldwide. For instance, here are the clinically-proven benefits:

  • Yoga can help to improve your flexibility
  • Yoga can help to improve your strength
  • Yoga can help to improve your posture
  • Yoga can help to improve your balance
  • Yoga can help to reduce stress and anxiety
  • Yoga can help to improve sleep quality
  • Yoga can help to boost your energy levels
  • Yoga can help to increase your overall sense of well-being

But the benefits of yoga don’t stop there. In addition to the physical benefits, yoga provides us with mental and emotional advantages. For example, the regular practice has been shown to:

  • Decrease negative thinking and rumination
  • Enhance self-esteem and body image satisfaction
  • Help to control and reduce stress and anxiety
  • Improve focus and concentration
  • Increase compassion and empathy.

The power of yoga is truly limitless, and there is something for everyone – regardless of your age, fitness level, or experience. So, if you’re ready to embark on a journey of self-discovery, growth, and healing, yoga is the perfect place to start.

But the spiritual benefits are just as significant, if not more so. Yoga helps us to quiet the mind and connect with our true nature. It is a practice that can lead us to personal transformation and a deeper understanding of who we are.

Is True Yoga Accessible & Convenient for the Modern Day Person?

One of the best things about yoga is that it is accessible to everyone. No matter where you live or what your schedule looks like, there is a way for you to fit yoga into your life.

There are many different branches of Yoga with various purposes, so it’s important to find the right type of yoga for you. For example, if you’re looking for a more physical practice, Ashtanga or Vinyasa Yoga might be a good fit.

But if you’re interested in a slower-paced practice emphasizing breath work and meditation, Hatha Yoga could be what you’re looking for.

No matter your goals, there is a yoga style out there that will suit your needs. And with the rise of online yoga classes and streaming services, it has never been easier or more convenient to get started with yoga.

The most important thing is to find a practice that you enjoy, and that feels good in your body. From there, the possibilities are endless.

Is It Essential to Have A Six to Twelve-Hour Yoga Routine to See Results?

No, you don’t need to spend hours on the mat to reap the benefits of yoga. Even a few minutes of practice can make a difference. These types of routines are designed for people who have the time and energy to commit to a more extended practice.

It's the people who are ready to renounce most modern material possessions and live a life of solitude who can benefit most from an extended yoga routine.

But if you’re like most people, you probably don’t have the time or interest to spend hours learning, practicing, and being Yoga every day for so long. These routines would be under Guru's supervision in an ashram setting and are unnecessary for the average person.

Many people who practice yoga regularly find that a shorter, more focused practice is more beneficial than a longer one. So, if you only have 15 or 20 minutes to spare, that’s enough time to invoke Yoga within you.

But regardless of how much time you have to commit to yoga, remember that any amount of practice is better than none. Even five minutes of deep breathing and mindfulness can make a difference.

So, don’t let time constraints be an excuse not to practice. Just do what you can with the time that you have. Consistency is vital for practices with smaller time investments.

Ultimately, any Yog practice of any time investment should become no longer a concern of time but simply your being - which is entirely intact and united with your overall divine being.

Yoga is no longer something you do to achieve or feel something, but it is something you are. I would argue that you are "Yoga" always but simply don't have the instructions for accessing it from the limited perspective of intellect and body consciousness.

This is where a good teacher comes in - to give you instructions for how to feel and be your unlimited, divine self always. But even without a teacher, simply being aware of your breath and the present moment can bring you back to the center and connect you with your true nature.

The Most Important Teaching of Yog: You Are Not the Body or Mind

One of the essential things that yoga teaches us is that we are not our bodies or minds. We are so much more than that.

Our bodies are temporary vessels for our consciousness experience, and our minds are just a tiny part of who we are. When we identify too closely with these things, we suffer. We become attached to impermanent things, and we allow our thoughts and emotions to control us.

But when we remember that we are not our bodies or minds, we can begin to see the world differently. We can let go of attachments and live in the present moment. We can be at peace with ourselves and find true happiness.

This is the goal of yoga: to help us remember our true nature and find liberation from the suffering that comes from identifying with our bodies and minds.

But how does one go about realizing this truth? How can we remember that we are not our bodies or minds?

Through Dhyan, we can begin to observe our thoughts and emotions without identifying with them. We can see that they are just temporary things that come and go. We can witness them without getting caught up in them.

Through Pranayam, we can begin to control our breath and the energy that flows through our bodies. We can use this control to calm our minds and bring ourselves back to the present moment.

Through Asanas, we can connect with our bodies in a new way. We can feel the strength and flexibility of our muscles, the stability of our bones, and the power of our breath. We can see that our bodies are temporary vessels (with great power) for our consciousness.

Through Mantra, we can connect with the sound of our breath and the vibration of our bodies. We can remember that we are made of energy and part of something much larger than ourselves.

Through Kriya,  we can cleanse our bodies and minds of the impurities that accumulate over time. We can let go of old patterns and habits that no longer serve us. We can create space for new things to enter our lives.

These practices (and more) are designed to help us remember our true nature: that we are not our bodies or minds. When we remember this, everything changes—our whole perspective on life changes; this is Union.

Is Yoga the Only Path to Enlightenment, Well-Being, and Union?

No, of course not. But yoga is a prominent path that has helped many people remember their true nature and find liberation from suffering.

There are many other paths to enlightenment, well-being, and union. But if you're looking for a way that can help you in your everyday life, as well as in your spiritual journey, yoga is a great place to start.

It's also very complete, historically speaking, with lots of source material made available in recent years.

Unlike other spiritual approaches, Yog was able to carefully avoid most literary torment, cultural denigration, and political suppression throughout the last few thousand years. This makes it one of the most practical, valuable approaches available today.

Even through colonization and the appropriation of many yoga traditions by western culture, the core teachings of yoga have remained the same. And these teachings can still help us remember our true nature and find liberation from suffering.

Many Western approaches to Magic, esotericism and the occult have overlapping themes with yoga. For example, the chakra system resembles the Tree of Life in western mysticism. And the practice of pranayama (breath control) is also found in many other traditions, such as Taoism and Qigong.

This does not mean that Yoga is the origin of truth. Still, it is one of the many examples of divine creation permeating its knowledge to the human race in a form that is admissible and permissible on a union-based level.

Other cultures and religions that share similarities and underlying truths with Yog are Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism.

The point is: whether you're looking for a comprehensive system that can help you in your everyday life or you're just interested in exploring some of the underlying unity between different spiritual traditions, yoga is a great place to start. There's something for everyone—it's truly a practice for everyone.

Why Spiritual Traditions Are A Target for False Prophets, Scammers, and Charlatans

Sadly, there are many false prophets, scammers, and charlatans in yoga (and in all spiritual traditions). They often prey on people's ignorance and naivete.

They might promise you enlightenment or union with God if you just buy their latest book/program/workshop/retreat. But the truth is that these things cannot be purchased—they can only be experienced.

And even if money is utilized in the transaction of knowledge, it is not the money that will ascertain certain benefits or experiences. It is your generous and practical application of the knowledge that will create any outcomes.

Spirituality attracts all kinds of people—including those with good intentions and those with ulterior motives. So, it's essential to be discerning when choosing a teacher or tradition.

The process of capitalization or business in spirituality is only a natural adherent of modern times. It is not a disqualifying characteristic in and of itself. Some great spiritual teachers only teach if money is exchanged, and some terrible teachers teach nonsense for free.

Regardless of the teacher or the teaching, one can learn things from anybody, no matter who they are. The most excellent teacher is your innate ability to discern beneficial to you and the entire world information and knowledge.

The collective manufactured reality depends on your ability to perceive and apply positive influence on the world; society is ruled by ONE factor - YOU.

The Argument for Having A Teacher Or Not Having A Teacher

It is said that in the times of Krishna and Arjuna, there were no teachers because everyone was spiritually enlightened. In those days, it was unnecessary to have a guru or teacher because the knowledge was so readily available to all.

But in our current age, the Kali Yuga, it is said that we need teachers to help us remember our true nature and find liberation from suffering.

There are many valid arguments for having a teacher and not having a teacher. It ultimately comes down to what works best for you and your spiritual journey. Outside the realm of Yoga, teachers are aspects of ourselves that we come across in life.

The bottom line is that if you feel called to explore yoga, many resources are available to help you get started—including books, videos, and classes. And if you find a teacher or tradition that resonates with you, stick with it and see where it takes you.

You don't need a teacher for anything, but why not learn from somebody who already knows and possibly helps you know?

There is no benefit to neglecting another perspective on things in life; it's your responsibility to create your own but concerning others so that we all can work in harmony.

Yoga Awaits You Always

Yoga is a powerful tool for spiritual growth and everyday wellness.

Through the process of Jivatma becoming one with Parmatma in total divine union, yoga can help us to find liberation from suffering and remember our true nature. With so many resources available, there is no excuse to start your yoga journey today if you wish to do so.

Suppose you're looking for a comprehensive system that can help you in your everyday life, or you're just interested in exploring some underlying unity between different spiritual traditions. In that case, yoga is a great place to start.

To learn about Kundalini in Yoga and why you need to be careful in this other content on our website.

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