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Yoga Sannahanopayo- A Process of Involution

Updated: May 22

“Life is beautiful” is a term that most of us would have come across at least once if not quite often. While this is the expectation, is it true that everyone experiences life as always beautiful? Life is a combination of experiences which ranges from one extreme of pleasure to the other extreme which is sorrow. All the efforts of human being are to be happy and comfortable, yet most get drowned in these efforts. One pursues various worldly objects and activities to gain pleasure. Unfortunately, none of these provides everlasting happiness and we continue to seek more. Yet we are never contended with the results and from time to time we are thrown into the sea of sadness, sorrow, and pain.

This raises the question as to whether there is a way to live this life differently with eternal bliss which is totally free from sorrows? Our ancient masters have explored this idea centuries ago in many dimensions and took the path of Yoga to find solution to sufferings. They came to a common understanding that the only way to overcome sorrows is to turn inwards into one’s own being through the practice of Yoga. “Yoga Sannahanopayo” simply reflects this profound truth.


Thus, the fundamental aim of Yoga is to overcome the distresses faced in human life i.e., it seeks to attain a peaceful and contented life. Unfortu- nately, Yoga nowadays is understood in a very limited way and is being viewed merely as a physical exercise and lifestyle management activity.

 

Yoga Sannahanopayo

Yoga Sannahanopayo literally translates as “Yoga is a means to equip oneself with” which implies that “Yoga is a process of involution”.

Yoga as a process of involution can be explained and interpreted in many dimensions according to the matu- rity level of one’s understanding of what yoga is. Involution means to turn inwards. In practical terms, it can be explained as a process to understand and gain control over the various layers that constitutes the individual’s body, life & existence. This begins with the human body in its gross form and moving inter- nally beyond the physical realms into one’s mental and further subtler aspects to reach the one’s inner self.

The term “Yoga Sannaha- nopayo” is an extract of a verse from Sidha Siddhanta Pathati (SSP) one of the most important traditional texts on Hathayoga by Yogi Gorakshanatha (refer SSP 5.22). This verse is stated in the context of understanding “Pindanda” (one’s material body & existence) and moving inwards to unite with the “Brah- manda” (the ultimate and the absolute super consciousness).


Why turn inwards?

Internal changes from within can influence external changes around us. Life perception can be changed, and sorrows can be overcome if we change ourselves from within. In fact, what changes is the way one perceives the life and not necessarily the surroundings and environment in which one lives. We can change life experiences by changing our own understanding about it.

Life is experienced through senses, and conditioning that one goes through since birth. We constantly assimilate information gained through the senses leading to continuous thoughts, judgements, and experiences. Our experience constitutes our life, which is through the senses, and there- fore it is important to get out of sensual perception and conditioning to under- stand life as it is. The process of yoga is about moving inwards and purifying the self so that it radiates in its fullest. As we progress within and begin to control our thought processes, the way we perceive


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