What is Raja Yoga?

What is Raja Yoga?

om mantraBy Faye Martins

Raja Yoga is considered to be the royal road of meditation that leads a student towards a state of oneness with the divine. A student who primarily practices Raja Yoga does so in order to attain enlightenment through the art of meditation. There are many different Yogic paths from which to choose. A student whose nature is contemplative will do particularly well practicing Raja Yoga.

A student engages in the Yogic practice of meditation in order to quiet the mind and become immersed in the divine energy within. A Raja Yoga student will often practice japa, or the repetition of a sacred mantra that is imbued with spiritual power. A mantra that has been given to a student from a living master will have significantly more power than a mantra that a student has adopted on his or her own behalf.

The goal of Raja Yoga is to still the thought waves or vrittis of the mind. When our minds are still, we are able to experience a state of blissful awareness and deep tranquility. We will also be able to experience the unchanging and ever present nature of the soul.

One of the skills that is important to develop when practicing Raja Yoga is dharana. When a student becomes adept at one-pointedly focusing on a single object or goal, his or her mind will become much less agitated and steadier. This is a wonderful ability that will nurture your meditation practice. A strong and regular practice of meditation will allow you to drop into a conscious state of restful awareness that will ultimately reveal the essence of your soul to you.

Raja Yoga is said to lead to enlightenment faster than other Yogic practices. Of course, this will depend on the nature of the student who is practicing Raja Yoga. One of the reasons that Raja Yoga is so powerful is that it stills the senses and the mind, so that we can stop identifying ourselves with our limited physical bodies, and instead become identified with our eternal souls.

As a student who is sincerely following any path of Yoga, including the path of Raja Yoga, it is important to understand that the unfolding of deeper states of meditation, bliss, and knowledge, will take consistent practice time to come to fruition.

It is also important to live an ethical and dharmic life based on truth and love. A life that is filled with mindfulness, good-will and service, will help to truly enliven your soul and support your spiritual unfolding.

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