four paths of yoga: raja yoga

Raja yoga is another name of ashtanga yoga that consists of 8 limbs.

While “raja” in english stands for king and the king of yoga in simpler terms is meditation.

A simple way to illustrate meditation from teacher hui yan goes like this:

Imagine yourself sitting at the side of the road watching the vehicles on the road passing by. Meditation is sitting at the side of the road and watching the vehicles passing by without trying to stop or interfere the traffic in anyway. The vehicles passing by represent our thoughts. In a meditative state, we do not try to stop our thoughts from coming and going. We just observe, without reacting to it, without having the urge to perform an action to it.

In application, we tend to judge a person, an object, an event or a situation. Eg: what do you relate to when you see a person full of tattoos and piercings? what do you ASSUME when a person is FAT? We already have some assumptions and pictures forming in our minds when we see or hear something. In a meditative state, we do not entertain these assumptions.
In the 7th limb of Ashtanga yoga, this is known as dhyana- bringing the mind to a certain state in which the thoughts of a meditator loses its fencing of labels and stereotypes. Losing these fences, boundaries, assumptions and stereotypes will rise you to the state of Dhyana. One in the Dhyana state is said to feel very light and radiates a glow that positively influences the being.

Jasmine Yeo
March 2015 (weekday) 200hr YTT