Marrying Yoga and Religion: The Practice
For my third experiment I chose to explore deeper growth in my personal Self-realization and spiritual relationship with God through an increase of my guru, Paramahansa Yogananda’s (Author of the spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi) suggested meditation techniques. In a series of lessons he suggested to practice these techniques faithfully every morning and night as part of regular spiritual routine. The first part of the routine included, the recommended series of 15 energization exercises, which Yogananda discovered in 1916 for the all-round well-being of the body and to help strengthen the muscles, purify the bloodstream and to help attain conscious control of the life force. When you have mastered the technique of conscious life-force control, the restlessness and sense perceptions of the body will cease to be obstacles to the attainment of the higher meditative states (Yogananda, P., Self Realization Fellowship Lessons, S-1 P-8-A, 1954). The energization exercises were followed by Yogananda’s recommended asana mudras to prepare the body for meditation. In addition, I chose an affirmation of which both guided my spiritual and personal aspirations. Next, I implemented three yogic pranayama techniques as follows: Hong-Sau technique of concentration, Aum technique and finally the practice of Kriya Yoga, which was reintroduced in modern times by Lahiri Mahasaya (Paramahansa Yogananda’s guru), and according to his teachings is “the greatest form of pranayama, control of the subtle life currents” (Self Realization Fellowship Lessons, 1956). Finally, after each morning and evening practice I recorded my thoughts and experiences in a journal, of which communicated positive growth in both my spiritual progress and journey towards Self-realization.