Photos © Filomena Aversa
right: Filomena Aversa practiscing at Uluru
The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word 'yuj' meaning to yoke,
join or unite.
It is a philosophical science of self - realization and transformation,
independently guiding one into recognizing his fullest potential
and purpose in life (Essence of spirit).
The origin of yoga pre-dates Indian Hindu and Buddhist religions and
in that context, Yoga is not a religion.
In Yogic philosophy we have three bodies; the Physical, Subtle (astral)
and Causal (spirit), which is the path to the integration of self
or "self realization".
By acknowledging and integrating the individual aspects of ourselves
from the physical, mental and emotional we can achieve a contented,
balanced and above all useful life.
Traditionally the knowledge of yoga (investigation into the nature
of the inner and outer realities of existence) was handed down
orally from teacher (guru) to student.
Six main Indian systems (Darshanas)
There are however, six main Indian philosophical systems (Darshanas)
or classical points of view that integrate ordinary perception
with experiencing the essence or spirit of life's values.
The six systems are:
- Yoga - union of individual consciousness with universal
- Vedanta - knowledge of self, universe and God.
- Sankhya - philosophical classification of the universe
- Vaishesika - analysis and characterising of the universe
- Nyaya - logic
- Purva-Mimamsa - laws of formal religion
It was on Sri Patanjali Maharishi's "Yoga Sutras", that
Yoga today has laid its foundation. An integrated and concise
text based on the above philosophical systems, it was written over
2000 years ago.
Yoga System of Patanjali
The Vedanta (non-dualistic) system and Sankhya (*dualistic)
system, are especially linked with the Yoga System of Patanjali.
Known as Patanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga is still
one of the timeless and most effective classical yoga texts to
expound the obstacles to inner freedom, ignorance, false perception
and why we suffer.
Through the "eight limbs" one can attain the goal of
perfection, and expand the knowledge of ones microcosmic connection
to the wisdom of the greater macrocosmic matrix of life.
Thus the unfoldment of the various paths of yoga came about.
Paths of Yoga
Bhakti Yoga - a devotional form of yoga by learning to relinquish
ego through ritual and be of heart-felt service in action and thought.
Cultivates a happy and compassionate disposition for the greater
Dyhana Yoga - a contemplative and meditative discipline which
leads to accessing the intuitive nature to ultimately be intune
with universal wisdom (Akasha)
Jnana Yoga - the path to self-realization and union with supreme
soul through enquiry and meditation on the higher truths, laws
of esotericism and philosophy.
Mantra Yoga - uses sacred Sanskrit words of power (invocations & affirmations)
through repetitive chant, and sound to bring about harmonious balance
within the energetic fields (koshas) of the three bodies.
Yantra Yoga - uses the visual form of Mantra, sacred art as
a focus to recognize different states of mind (the fabric of consciousness)
ultimately transcending the mundane mind and accessing ones innate
essence of being.
Kriya Yoga - takes disciplinary action by performing specific
purification practices of body/mind via the breath to remove energy
blocks and tension, which in turn awakens body intelligence bringing
innate strength and purpose to act.
Hatha Yoga - a purification of the physical body through asana
and pranayama to balance the left/negative-female, and right/positive-male
energies to bring union and balance within the whole body, mind,
Emphasis here is on the union of these energetic polarities (Ida & pingala
energies) to clear emotional and mental blockages and prepare the
student to move straight to the spiritual source of self-realization.
Kundalini Yoga and Tantra also concentrates on the balancing
the (Ha) ida and (Tha) pingala nadis which act as conduits of energy
in the subtle bodies. By cultivating mind/breath fusion, prana
(life-force) is accessed to harness balance to the left, ida and
right, pingala nadis which spiral along the spinal channel -Shushumna.
The spiral junctions of Ida & Pingala Nadis form concentrated
vortices of energy called chakras. It is through the devotional
mind that relinquishment of ego and purification takes place within
This ultimately awakens the coiled serpent, Kundalini
at the base of the spine, to move through Shushmna Nadi and thus
merges the creative Shakti life force with Shiva (divine godhead).
Karma Yoga - A discipline in the understanding of ones character
through performing actions, not determined by expectations, unselfishly
for the welfare of others and the fulfilment of Dharma (lifes purpose).
Laya Yoga - a system of experiential state of absorbtion based
on the Kundalini Kriya Yoga.
Raja Yoga - strives for the divine within through mind control,
and is linked with Patanjalis Eight limbs of Yoga, and embodies
the spirit of an integral yoga system.
Yoga Chikitsa - highly specialised science in yoga therapy.
Through these Traditional branches and systems of yoga, new modern
day branches have creatively diversified to hand down the wisdom
and lineage of the guru through their own personal experience of
In this way Yoga becomes an ongoing spontaneous experience of life,
traditionally evolving but not fixed.
Today some of the popular schools of Yoga - Iyengar, Ashtanga, Satyananda,
Integral and Shadow, derive their teachings from these branches
and in keeping with tradition, contribute to the greater good of
*Dualism: The doctrine that reality
consists of two basic opposing elements, often taken to be mind
and matter (or mind and body), or good and evil.
About the Author
Filomena Aversa (Dip.Venkatesa Integral
Yoga Academy) currently teaches yoga philosophy and Pranayama
at the Yogalates and Yoga Arts schools in Byron Bay and in
Murwillumbah on the north coast of NSW.
She has been a Yoga practitioner, yoga therapist and
Yoga Teacher for over 16 years, and her practical dedication in
Iyenga, Hatha Yoga and Pranayama spans this tiime.
Her practice continues under the tutelage of accomplished
masters, including Shandor Remete, Rose Baudin, Zen Master Hogen
Yamahata and the Integral
Academy of Australasia.
Integral Yoga system
If you'd like to explore yoga options, couples and small groups
can take advantage of Filomena's instruction in range of Yoga
Holiday Packages, based on the Integral
Yoga system, at Akasha
Beach Retreat in Byron Bay, Northern Rivers, NSW, or on Bali
The Five Koshas
Read Filomena's more recent article "The Web of Body, Mind and
Spirit - The Five Koshas - Pancha Kosha - (Five Sheaths of Energy)" [opens
new window as a 90kb PDF]