What is Spiritual Hinduism


spirituality (of spirit: Spirit) is the way of spiritual practice with the aim of union with a higher reality (God, transcendence, inner happiness). Spirituality connects all religions with one another - and can also be practiced without a specific religious affiliation. Spirituality means aligning life with the experience of a higher reality. Spirituality means striving for a higher meaning and aligning one's life with this higher meaning.

A sadhu in front of a Shiva statue on the Ganges

What is Spirituality?

- A lecture by Sukadev Bretz 2019 -

Expressions of spirituality differ. The psychologist Rudolf Sponsel defines spirituality as a more or less conscious preoccupation “with questions of meaning and values ​​of existence, the world and people and especially one's own existence and self-realization in life”.

(Rudolf Sponsel: "Spirituality - A Psychological Investigation") Spirituality also includes a special religious attitude to life, not necessarily understood in a denominational sense, of a person who concentrates on the transcendent, divine being or on the principle of the transcendent, non-personal ultimate Truth or supreme reality.

According to studies by Büssing et al. (2006) deviate from the ideological context, and always refer to an immaterial, non-sensually tangible reality (God, beings, forces) that can nonetheless be experienced or sensed (awakening, insight, recognition). A searching attitude must be distinguished here - from a believing-accepting to a knowing-knowing attitude.

Definition of spirituality according to Graf Dürckheim

Count Dürckheim, one of the pioneers of Far Eastern spirituality in Europe, defined spirituality as follows:

"Spirituality is the transparency of the immanent transcendent"

This definition includes three important words characteristic of spirituality:

  • Transcendent: Spiritual traditions assume that there is a higher reality that transcends understanding and what is sensually perceptible
  • Immanent: This transcendent, this divine, is inherent in everything. That is, God is not just in heaven. Rather, the divine is present in everything, it is inherent (immanent)
  • Transparency: permeability. Spirituality means experiencing the immanent transcendent by making thinking permeable. Spirituality means feeling the call of the soul by becoming permeable.

So this definition means:

  1. Spirituality means to become permeable to the divine in oneself, that means to recognize the divine in oneself
  2. Spirituality means letting the divine work through you - feeling that something divine wants to speak through itself: feel yourself as an instrument, not as an agent
  3. Spirituality means to feel the work of God in the events
  4. Spirituality means to feel and perceive the divine in every human being, in every being, in everything

Spiritual practices like meditation serve to make oneself transparent so that the divine can be experienced everywhere.

7 principles of spiritual philosophy

Sukadev Volker Bretz, founder and director of Yoga Vidya, likes to define spirituality using the concept of "Seven Words of Spiritual Philosophy". You can see these 7 basic principles across religions - and recognize that they describe what all spiritual traditions have in common. Each spiritual system describes these 7 principles in a different language. In Sanskrit these 7 principles are called:

  1. Brahman, the Divine: There is a Higher Reality behind everything. To experience this higher reality is a deep longing of the human being
  2. Maya, deception: the way one perceives the world in normal consciousness, it is not. Human perception, thinking and feeling are flawed. Everyday consciousness may perceive people as separate from creation and from other creatures, experience the world in time and space - but this is a delusion, because in truth everything is connected with one another and a manifestation of the same divine. Spiritual people therefore have a deep sense of humor and can laugh at themselves: Everything is subject to deception - so we can look at everything with a certain ease
  3. Dukha, existential suffering: As long as one is in the Maya, one is in suffering: On a material level everything is limited, mortal or subject to change and cannot give us permanent satisfaction. Suffering is not because of circumstances - it is because one has not realized the divine.
  4. Kaivalya or Moksha, enlightenment, God-realization, self-realization: It is possible to experience the divine completely, to merge with the divine. That is the meaning and purpose of human existence. Consciously or unconsciously, everyone strives for enlightenment - and is therefore not permanently satisfied with anything else. All traditions of spirituality say: It is possible for everyone to attain enlightenment. It is worth striving for.
  5. Abhyasa, spiritual practice: In order to achieve realization, it is necessary to practice, to make an effort. It is not enough to read books and hope. Rather, it is important to practice meditation and other spiritual practices, and to train yourself to see the divine in everything. Each tradition of spirituality has developed its own system of practice for this.
  6. Karma, life as a school: what is in store for us is not just a coincidence. Life has a purpose: life gives you exactly the experiences you need to move forward in your spirituality. Life is school. Fate is sent to you so that you can grow from it. And it is necessary that you be committed to a good cause in order to move forward on the path of spirituality
  7. Kripa, grace: you cannot work for enlightenment yourself, you cannot force it. Rather, spiritual experience and advancement on the path of spirituality comes as the grace of God. Ultimately, spiritual development is a combination of these three factors: Abhyasa (personal effort), Karma (accepting the tasks of life), Kripa (opening up to divine grace)

Video lecture - 7 Spiritual Principles - Yoga and Christian Lutheran Theology

In this lecture video, Sukadev takes a short excursion into theology - and into the subject of yoga and Christianity. Sukadev talks about how the seven spiritual principles can also be found in Christian Lutheran theology. Sukadev shows you similarities. Because he believes that the similarities between different spiritual and religious traditions are much greater than the differences. Ultimately, the differences within a major spiritual or religious tradition are much greater than the differences between spiritual and religious traditions. Small note: Sukadev is not an academic theologian. So don't expect an intellectual lecture at a high academic level. Rather, it is about bringing yoga terms into a Christian context of the tradition of Martin Luther.

Video - Sukadev talk about spirituality

Sukadev talks about the different stages of spiritual development, the phases of spiritual development and their ramifications. There are several ways of going this route. It is said that there are as many paths as there are pilgrims. In addition, Sukadev explores the questions in this video: What does spirituality mean? ? What is Spiritual Life? What does path mean? How to Walk the Spiritual Path What are the stages on the spiritual path? What tasks do you have in different phases of the spiritual path? What pitfalls and pitfalls need to be avoided on the spiritual path?

Expressions of Spirituality

With the help of questionnaire constructs, at least seven factors could be differentiated as forms of expression of spirituality:

  • 1. Prayer, trust in God and security,
  • 2. Knowledge, wisdom and insight,
  • 3. Transcendence Belief
  • 4. compassion, generosity and tolerance,
  • 5. Conscious interaction with others, oneself and the environment,
  • 6. Reverence and gratitude,
  • 7. Equanimity and meditation.

(See also: Arndt Büssing: VAS-Verlag für Akademische Schriften (2006) ")

Yoga classes live online

Yoga asanas purify the mind-body complex and make it accessible to deep wisdom. If you want to experience yoga in a group or community, want to get access to your spirit, but have no possibility to visit a yoga center, you can choose something from the extensive Yoga Vidya offer of live online open yoga classes. Here you practice together with others and the yoga teacher is in contact with you and the other participants and can lead the online open yoga class - tailored to your needs.

Satiated, rajassy and tamasic spirituality

Namaste - I greet the divine in you

- A lecture by Sukadev Bretz 2019 -

Om namah shivaya and a warm welcome to a text as part of the series “The Spiritual Path”, as part of the series “Holistic Yoga Vidya Training”.

Satiated, rajassy and tamasic spirituality. Spirituality - aligning life with a higher reality.

Spirituality means to live one's life in such a way that one can experience something divine. This can be done in a satiated, rajassy, ​​and tamasic way.

How is that supposed to work spirituality? Spirituality can be sattvig, rajasic, and tamassy.

Tamasic spirituality

First of all, what does tamasic spirituality mean? Tamassige spirituality means unethical spirituality, unhealthy spirituality, spirituality that plunges oneself and others into ruin.

For example, violence in the name of spirituality. It's 2017 and there are some fundamentalist violent criminals that keep making the news. Just yesterday there was another attack where several people were killed in the name of a religious group. I hope this text will be online in a few years. And that this one religion, which has hit the headlines in the last few years because of fundamentalist violent criminals, is no longer in the headlines.

In any case, a religiosity that leads to violence and which leads to assassinations, suicide bombers lead to tamasig.

Also a religion that has recommendations, including spiritual directions that are unhealthy, that negatively affect people's lives, would also be tamassig.

I just want to mention something there. There is a philosophical tendency in America called philosophical pragmatism. A well-known representative of this direction was William James. William James was also the founder of religious studies, also a philosopher, a religious scholar, someone who was the spiritual directions, the religious directions with great respect, who was also in contact with representatives of Eastern religions. And he said we can't check the truth of religions. And no one should presume that. We cannot check or judge the correctness of the philosophical directions either. But what we can do, we can see what effects it has when people live a certain spirituality.

Right behavior creates blooming landscapes

If people live a certain religiosity or spirituality and are made to be healthier, if they lead a happier life and if they are more committed to the welfare of others, then that would be a good religiosity.

But if a certain religious tendency leads to people either being unhealthy, more unhappy, having a higher suicide rate, a higher rate of mental illness, if the crime rate would rise or if they are aggressive towards other people, then there would be no good religion, religious belief, spiritual one Direction.

And the way of looking at this American pragmatism has, you could say, consciously or unconsciously engraved itself into modern society. And it makes sense. And from the point of view of yoga we would say spiritual religious directions that make people unethical from the point of view of a higher ethics, human rights, do not kill, do not violate, do not lie, do not steal, avoid sexual misconduct, incorruptibility, so if from this point of view and also that Human Rights Man is brought to unethical behavior, it is Tamassige spirituality. And with Tamassian spirituality one would say that I shouldn't do that.

A spirituality, on the other hand, that uplifts you, that makes you healthier, that brings you into your own strength, that enables a satisfactory life, that helps you to do good for others, that makes you an ethical person, that is more of a saturable spirituality .

Rajas Spirituality

Rajassic spirituality is a spirituality that makes people arrogant and arrogant. Rajas religious tendencies are those that have the right to sole representation. They only say you come to God through my religiosity. In earlier times, for example, Christian denominations asserted this. They meant that only through this specific direction one can get to heaven. The evangelicals said the Catholics would go to hell. For the Catholics it was clear that the Evangelical sectarians belong in Hell, and the Muslims anyway, and the Hindu and African barbarians anyway.

Nowadays the Christians there have something else. The big churches, Evangelical and Catholic churches have recognized, at least in their official doctrines, their official theologies, that there are different ways to salvation and that God has revealed himself differently in different cultures and that there are different ways of living religion. And it is also important to recognize that the great Christian churches have made a great change there.

And the major Muslim universities also take the position that one can come to God in different ways and that salvation can also be found in Christianity, Judaism and other religions. Little is known, but the major Islamic universities and the great scholars of the Islamic world take this point of view quite clearly in their statements.

In Judaism it was always created. The Jews see themselves as a chosen people but they recognize that there are ways to salvation outside of Judaism. And the Far Eastern religions and the shamanistic religions assume it anyway. There is no question at all. For a Buddhist there is no question whatsoever whether there is a way to salvation outside of Buddhism. For Hindus there is also no question that there are other ways to salvation. Not for Taoists, Confucians and the shamanistic religions anyway.

Rajasic spirituality could also mean: my way is better than others. Of course, one also has to say typically aspirants will say that their path is particularly good. If you would assume that another way is better then you would go the other way. Why would you go one way and find the other would be better.

Logically, every serious aspirant thinks his path is particularly good. My personal opinion is of course: the Yoga Vidya path is particularly good. It is brilliant as a spiritual path, as a path that cultivates the whole personality, as a path that is integrative, that also brings in other elements, that combines spiritual guidance with self-responsibility, simply brilliant.

So, before I continue to praise myself and praise our system, I want to say again: of course, I think our path is particularly good. If I found that something was better somewhere, I would of course integrate it immediately. We have no reservations about that. But I also know that other traditions have just as good reasons to find their way for better than others. And so you can take it with humor and look at other paths with respect and learn from each other. Dialogue between spiritual directions is important.

Saturated spirituality

Yoga class: Spiritual practice in community

Saturated spirituality, that is, spirituality with a desire for God, spirituality that is ethical, spirituality that is also healthy, spirituality that makes you a better person, in the sense of a more ethical person, a committed person, a person who causes good wants and does it ethically.

Individuals can also choose or live their spirituality, sattwig, rajasig, tamasig. First of all, it is important to choose a spiritual path that is satiety. This is important. There are enough deceivers of mankind who go the tamasic path. And it seems like the fanatics have a special charisma. It is probably like that, if you are narrow-minded and completely convinced, it is easier for you to radiate this enthusiasm. A person who is able to see it that way and also to see and see it differently, one thing is right and it is also the opposite, he may not have such a charisma.Therefore, be especially careful when you are in front of a charismatic person who speaks with complete enthusiasm:

  • Think what is the spiritual direction?
  • How do people deal with people of different faiths?
  • How do you deal with those who want to leave this spiritual direction?
  • What other directions are in harmony with this spiritual direction?
  • How are the ethics?
  • How is ahimsa etc.

To live satiated spirituality in a tamasic way

The second thing is, if you are walking the spiritual path yourself then there are two ways that you can walk tamasig if you have a sattwige spiritual direction.

A form of tamasiger spirituality would be you practice too little, you are not consistent enough.

The second form of tamasiger spirituality would be you do everything somehow weird and strange and instead of feeling better, you feel worse. It is important, especially at the beginning, to go to a spiritual teacher, to attend a yoga class, maybe to spend some time in the ashram to be sure that you are doing what you are doing well.

Tamasig could also mean that you cause harm in some way with what you do, perhaps not fulfilling your tasks that you have to fulfill. So avoid the Rajas trap. Rajasic spirituality could mean arrogance and arrogance. If you ever hear yourself saying to someone else, I'm beyond it, I don't need that anymore, you're not ready yet, then at the latest you will know that you have stepped into the arrogance trap.

You don't know what the future will bring. The people you blame for not getting that far may be saints, maybe they have a little karma to work out and in a few days they will achieve awakening. You do not know.

Maybe you will stray from the spiritual path. Perhaps the other is keeping his spiritual experiences a secret, not talking about it. So be careful, stay humble, treat others with respect, and be aware that everyone is trying to do the right thing in their own way. Do not place yourself above others and another form of rajasic spirituality would just not seek recognition for your spiritual exploits.

It is good to practice spiritually and you can talk about it to inspire others. But don't talk about your spiritual exploits for recognition.

Sometimes you see people who always tell something in a group about what they have done. Sometimes they do it to share their experience and inspire others. But sometimes you can tell they are doing it out of an instinct for validity. Someone says: Oh, I find it so difficult to meditate every day. And someone replies: It's very easy for me. I do half an hour every day. Another says: Yes, I finally managed to do two rounds of kapalabhati and three rounds of alternating breathing every day. If the answer is: Ha, I do five rounds of Kapalabhati and half an hour of alternating breathing, then it becomes noticeable because someone is striving for recognition and that is not so good.

Stay humble. If you want recognition, get involved in your job. Worry about success, that's good. But don't try to satisfy your ego through your spirituality. It's a mix that's not very good.

So live your spirituality fully, be consistent, make sure that the spiritual practice is good for you, physically and mentally. Make sure that your spiritual practice helps you stand up for a good cause and live an ethical life. In this way you will make good progress on the spiritual path.


More information about the spiritual path on our Yoga Vidya website. There is a search box there. There you can enter, for example, "The spiritual path" or "Spirituality" or any other word that has to do with yoga and meditation, Ayurveda and health and you will find something that will hopefully inspire you.

Yes, let us know how you like it. Write a comment on Youtube, Facebook, Itunes or give at least a thumbs up on Youtube, Facebook or wherever you see or hear this text.

All good until next time.

Video - Satiated, Rajasty, and Tamasic Spirituality

Spirituality and other terms

Religion and spirituality

There are differences and similarities between religion and spirituality. Religion is always connected with social, economic and organizational questions. One can say that what is really essential to a religion is spirituality. If you subtract the sociological, social and hierarchical parts of a religion, what remains is spirituality.

However, spirituality can also be cross-religious and exist without a specific religious affiliation. Most of the great spiritual masters of the most diverse world religions have drawn from different religions, have built bridges or wanted to build between religions.

Faith and Spirituality

In the religions, more value can be placed on faith or more value on spirituality:

  • Faith means trust that if one follows the precepts of one's religion, one attains salvation after death
  • Spirituality means not wanting to wait for death, but rather to live in such a way that one experiences the divine in this life

However, in everyday practical life, faith and spirituality often have more in common than differences. The spiritual person also believes in a higher reality. And believing people usually practice with great fervor - and feel the presence and guidance of God.

Spirituality and esotericism

The term esoteric was very popular in the 1970s and 1980s. Esotericism means "inner circle" or the inner practices and teachings of every religion. In this sense, esotericism is the same as what is nowadays understood as spirituality. Since nowadays esotericism is often reduced to card reading, astrology, channeling and gemstone advice, etc., spirituality is often defined as a distinction from esotericism: Spirituality is a living experience of the divine. There is no need for external aids such as horoscopes, gemstones or channel media. Rather, it is a matter of practice - although a spiritual teacher can be helpful in this regard.

Spirituality and Philosophy

Spirituality is mostly practiced on the basis of a spiritual philosophy. Philosophy these days is usually mainly thought-building, based on the intellect. Spirituality means wanting to transcend the intellect, not building up thought structures and creating a picture of reality. Rather, spirituality means wanting to perceive the truth directly. And spirituality means to live the spiritual convictions in everyday life.

In terms of the meaning of the word, however, spirituality and philosophy are not that far apart: Philosopher means "friend (Philo) of truth (Sophie) - that is exactly what a spiritual person is. Only the spiritual person wants to experience truth and out of it Living everyday life.


The religions produced distinct spiritual currents. This has to do with the different experience, description and naming of the higher authority or reality in the religious traditions: God (in Islam: Allah), a deity, Tao, Brahman, Maha-Atman, Shunyata etc. emerged monastic or monastic, but then changed them frequently. The expression of spirituality is always very individual, however, as life and experience stories shape every spiritually living person.

Buddha statue in Bodhgaya, the place where Siddhartha Gautama achieved enlightenment

Buddhism and Hinduism

The spiritual goal in Buddhism and Hinduism is enlightenment (Moksha). The path to enlightenment essentially consists of thought work (practicing the five qualities of inner peace, comprehensive love, wisdom, self-discipline and inner happiness) and meditation. Then the mind comes to rest, inner happiness awakens and the person rests in his true nature (Patanjali Yogasutra).

Patanjali explains in his yoga sutra that yoga is essentially calming the mind. Inner happiness arises through the three steps of concentration, meditation and samadhi. Only through concentration do you consciously calm down your thoughts. Then you just observe the thoughts, let them flow freely and continue to calm yourself down over time. At some point there is an inner turnaround and you are in luck. Man rests in Brahman, in Sat Chit Ananda (Being-Unity-Consciousness-Bliss).

A great danger on the spiritual path is formal practice, in which one practices empty rituals that do not really advance one spiritually. Buddha turned against this form of spiritual practice. He advised the Brahmins to achieve enlightenment (union with Brahma) rather than externally perfect rituals. Without her own enlightenment experience (seeing Brahma face to face), all of her spiritual teachings were just empty talk.

Only someone who already knows the spiritual goal can help one. That is why Tibetan Buddhism and Hindu yoga (Swami Sivananda, Amritanandamayi, Mother Meera) emphasize the importance of an enlightened master. (Swami Sivananda: Divine knowledge, Page 58.) On the other hand, there are gurus worthy of criticism, especially in Hinduism and sometimes also in Tibetan Buddhism. The Dalai Lama therefore recommends examining every master carefully before setting out with him. (Dalai Lama: Dzogchen. Page 40.)


Christian spirituality is understood to be that specific form of spirituality that focuses on the personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is also always biblical spirituality and tied back to early Christian practices. Depending on one's personal piety, this also includes asceticism and mysticism. In doing so, it points beyond confessional boundaries and peculiarities. In Christian spirituality, individual perfection is not only seen as achievable through techniques such as contemplation, reading the Bible, prayer, charity, pilgrimages, church music), but especially experienced as a grace of God. Christian spirituality does not only include religious rituals, but is expressed through spirituality in everyday life. Even small things can have a religious meaning and thus contribute to the Christian transformation of people.


The five cornerstones of Islam are prayers, ritual ablutions, pilgrimages, fasting and alms. We find the way of spirituality especially in Sufism.

Paths to serenity - focus on spirituality

Transcript of a podcast (2014) by Sukadev

The royal road to serenity, book by Sukadev Volker Bretz and Ulrike Schöber

A spiritual outlook on life and a deeply anchored spiritual experience will help you to achieve deep serenity. According to Jnana Yoga you are already perfect, one with the world soul. You don't need to put yourself under stress. According to Bhakti Yoga, God does everything. You are only an instrument, God does everything. He therefore also has the responsibility. According to Raja Yoga you can detach yourself from the identification with your emotions and establish yourself as a leader, as a Raja, as a king and listen to the advice of your ministers. In Karma Yoga you do your tasks and let go. Kundalini Yoga helps you to achieve serenity and strength through a good energy level. And Kundalini Yoga also helps you to reach higher levels of consciousness. Hatha Yoga helps you to achieve a calm state of mind through physical exercises. Ultimately, serenity is a means to enlightenment. And ultimately only enlightenment can give you the fullest serenity with full commitment.

"Samatva" is the yogic expression for serenity. Krishna defines yoga among other things as "Yoga Samatvam ucyate. Yoga means serenity." But also "Yoga karmasu kausalam. Yoga means skill in action." The smart, relaxed person is the one who says: "What can be implemented immediately, I implement immediately. What I should think about, I think about it. And the other doesn't have to be."

If you have understood Jnana Yoga deeply, then you really have a serene serenity. If you really know, even if it is only intellectual conviction, which may be nourished by one or the other meditative experience: "I am immortal self. I am connected to the world soul. I am connected to all beings and the whole world is one Expression of it. And the whole world is more or less like a play of God or like a dream of God with great drama and many injustices and suffering in life. "

But against the background that the soul goes through many incarnations - if you want to consider that as a possibility - even a painful and suffering life can only be an episode. Suppose you had amnesia and no longer knew what was yesterday, then what was that day is not so important. But if you say so many incarnations, then one life may bring many bad experiences, but one thing remains the same for everything: "I was, am and will remain an immortal self. Part of life is that I grow. Life has a meaning "Fate is an opportunity. It's about making a difference. It's about learning and growing. But the whole thing is more or less a game. In truth, I remain the Infinite and Eternal, the Infinite and Eternal Self, the." infinite, eternal divine core. "

Bhakti Yoga

In the midst of this whole world - and here we come to bhakti yoga - there is a divine power, whether we call it God, goddess, cosmic energy, the divine, then we can say: "Yes, behind the whole universe is this divine Power, everything makes sense somewhere. Even if, as a little human being, I don't experience this meaning and don't understand it - it will make sense. And if there is this higher meaning and if God, Goddess, the divine, this higher principle, all that creates, then He, You, must have thought a little about it. And then I have to be as okay as I am, the universe has to be as okay as it is, and then I too like a task have been part of this divine drama, but I can approach it calmly. "

Just as Swami Vishnu liked to tell us: "God also works through your mistakes." Or something that a student of Swami Vishnu once told me when I was asked to do something, namely to give a meditation course as a nineteen-year-old, where the average age of the participants was twice as old as mine, and in some cases yoga was considerable practiced longer than me. Then she said, "If God had wanted someone there to be better than you, he would have found someone else for it. He put you there and that's why you're the best." In that case, there was actually nobody else, either it would have been me or the course would have been canceled. I didn't push myself to do it.

It has always helped me since then when I was led into situations where I thought someone else could handle them better. I am not someone who naturally tends to be arrogant, I am by nature one who is a bit shy and tends to wait and see, but has learned to deal with it well. And I don't need to be perfect because if God had wanted someone better to do what I do, he would have put him or her in the situation. And also when someone is wanted for something and then you sometimes think "it has to be like this", and then you look for the ideal and afterwards nobody comes at all. Then one can assume that God has sent him or her, and he or she is exactly the right person, because if there had been someone better in the situation, then God would have sent him or her too.

And sometimes you get surprised, then you get sent someone where you thought could not have come better. And of course, sometimes you have to wait, in some situations you can't make the first decision, but sometimes you have to wait, but in some situations the first decision is the best. That was the Bhakti Yoga perspective.

Raja Yoga

Karma Yoga tells us that life has tasks, fate is an opportunity, we grow, we experience, we can contribute, and we don't need to be perfect. Some of the Raja Yoga in the sense of skillfully dealing with your ministers, family members, inner parts, whatever you want to call them, non-identification, dealing skillfully with it, not allowing yourself to be bullied by one, but recognizing, even if you have to defend yourself, you only have good in you by intention. Intention does not mean that the way it works is good and that it is good for your health and the health of others, but by intention everything is good for the time being.

And this model of letting parts of you, ministers in you, communicate with one another can be a good approach. This can be expanded in dealing with other people, recognizing that others also all have good parts that sometimes just seem strange, that it is good to establish a heart connection with other people. Ultimately, by dealing with yourself like that, you learn less identification.And ultimately it is about experiencing ourselves again as immortal, eternal consciousness. And it is easier to do that when you break up than to try to fight yourself.

The fight against yourself, by the way, you can almost never win it. Pressure creates counter-pressure and especially if you accuse people who mean well, they mean it badly, and you have to fight them because they mean well and want to convince you that they mean well, they will not give in. And this Raja Yoga model is a way to end the struggle. Still, it's not that easy. You have different ministers and then you realize that one of them shouldn't be right for a while and he still defends himself. It's not always as easy as I said. That is not always enough. But it's an additional good approach.

It is also helpful to put yourself in the shoes of other people, to see the world through the eyes of another, this is how love also arises and that is what spirituality means, to see the divine in the other, to have unconditional love or maybe also expectant love or a love that can deal more indifferently with its own expectations and conditions. If we then supplement this with practices, then the whole thing is a beautiful path, where you can see what is helpful for you from this holistic path to serenity.

Hatha yoga

As a practice, I recommend asanas and pranayama daily. My tip would be to do at least a quarter of an hour every day, do what you think is good for you. More advanced students do everything together, asanas, pranayama and meditation, for at least an hour a day. The less advanced learn something every day, e.g. a quarter of an hour, and once a week a little more, perhaps a weekly yoga course or once a week with a CD or DVD or according to your own memory or yoga book.

You could say that this is a kind of basic hygiene. Just as the teeth need to be brushed every day and the hair needs for most combs, you are probably familiar with other hygienic measures that have to be taken every day. It is similar to a kind of mental and pranaic and body hygiene to do something every day that is good for you in the field of asanas, pranayama, meditation. Or maybe you have other things from other contexts that are helpful to you there. And you can also use some things, such as abdominal breathing, stage fright transformation, anger transformation, playfully experimenting with postures. And meditation is especially important.

In the medium term the meditation will make you more relaxed, in the long term the meditation will lead to enlightenment. And when one has enlightenment and has experience of unity, the question no longer arises: "How should I live serenely?" It becomes a natural Swarupa, it just happens. A Buddha or a SwamiSivananda didn't have to think: "How do I stay calm in everyday life?" They were it. And the serenity in everyday life is then again a little different in every temperament.

Krishna defined serenity as: "Samatvam Yoga Ucyate. Yoga is serenity." And Patanjali says: "Yoga is the bringing to rest of the thoughts in the mind. Tada Drashtuh Swarupe Vasthanam. Then the seer rests in his true nature." And so it is in the sense of serenity and in the sense of the goal of serenity when the entire yoga system is dealt with under the topic of "serenity". The yoga system can be dealt with from the point of view of expanding consciousness, it can be dealt with from the point of view of devotion, it can be dealt with from the point of view of energy and knowledge.

Sattwic, rajasic and tamasic spiritual paths

Article by Sukadev Bretz, published in the Yoga Vidya Journal March 2011

Even if there are many roads to Rome - if Rome is called a symbol of enlightenment - not all roads lead to Rome, at least not in the short term. In the long term, yes, because we incarnate until we reach self-realization. It is not possible at all not to achieve self-realization. But there are ways that lead there and others do not. There are satiated, rajasic, and tamasic ways.

Tamasic spiritual ways

The tamasigen ways are violent, fanatical or even self-destructive. Every few years there is a sect that calls its followers to collective suicide, in which children are abused or devil worship is practiced. It has little to do with religion. But there are also real Satanism cults that believe they are connecting with a higher force.

Rajasic Spiritual Paths

Then there are rajasic paths that believe they are the only ones, the fastest, or the best. One more small caveat: In today's society, many seekers have a Vata disorder, i.e. many people don't want to commit themselves anywhere or do a hundred things at the same time or in a row, but never deeply. And so many masters want to inspire their students a little more by saying that their path is particularly good. If you listen to the lectures of some masters, you might think that they are a bit rajasous and conceited. You have to see whether this also applies in everyday life. How do you deal with other masters?

I will never forget a visit to an Indian ashram. The teacher came in and really Indian everyone bowed to him. He was very venerated there. I got a little queasy about it. In the Sivananda tradition this is considerably less. Even if there are sometimes videos where SwamiSivananda is very venerated. But in the ashram they told me that this only happened as an exception to Guru Purnima or in the last few years when Swami Sivananda no longer had the strength to defend himself against it. Usually he was very resistant to guru worship. And Swami Vishnu anyway. But in this Indian ashram there was a teacher who was venerated and about whom great eulogies were given. Then another master was introduced who was in this ashram for the first time and who came from a completely different tradition. Now he was praised, adored and put on stage beyond all measure, and suddenly he was the greatest. So that was simply the tendency of the Indians to exaggerate, as is so often the case with southern peoples. They weren't fanatical, just exuberant. Westerners often misunderstand this and take it literally, so that what was originally a very broad spirituality suddenly turns into something fanatic.

Saturated Spiritual Paths

Saturated spiritual paths lead to enlightenment, do not make false promises, treat other traditions with respect and do not overwhelm the individual. They enable the individual to develop on the way to enlightenment.

The spiritual path - from the perspective of evolution or involution

An article by Katyayani Ulbricht, published in Yoga Vidya Journal No 31 - Fall 2015

The holistic yoga according to Swami Sivananda teaches the 6 yoga paths Hatha Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga. Every single path shows concrete steps towards self-realization. Nevertheless, the yoga paths penetrate one another, are mutually dependent and thus reach their full development.

Many people feel particularly attracted to a yoga path, wholly or at times. As you immerse yourself deeper and deeper there, the other yoga paths appear automatically - whether consciously or unconsciously. Depending on the approach, you can systematically tread and integrate the individual paths. Most people find yoga in its entirety through hatha yoga. This can be explained from the perspective of our evolution and involution.

The sleeping consciousness

The sleeping consciousness awakens in the course of evolution, reveals itself more and more until it is finally liberated and completely opens up as pure or universal consciousness. Born as humans, we arrive on earth. The earth element also stands for heaviness, sluggishness, rigidity, which evolutionarily corresponds to stones or plants.

As babies, we can initially only perform impulsive, instinctive movements, similar to animals (which is also assigned to the sense of smelling). Later we learn coordinated movement, language, etc. But it takes a long time to really master our body; for a perfect transcendence presumably several incarnations. In the beginning we are mainly characterized by ignorance. For example, we first learn certain processes, contemporary behavior, views, etc. from other people and society, usually without questioning them. We function almost like a machine controlled by the urge to survive. The involution of humans begins with yoga or other spiritual exercise paths.

Hatha and Kundalini Yoga

Hatha Yoga and Kundalini Yoga make you feel and get to know your own body. This creates a deeper awareness of one's own. This leads to the discovery of the mind or spirit (expressed more clearly in English: mind). We become more and more aware of our thought and behavioral patterns. We begin to feel ourselves in the mind.

In this way we consciously relate to ourselves and in resonance with others. There is a conscious movement in the mind and spirit. From the earth element we move mentally, so to speak, to the more subtle water element, which is also connected with the sense of taste. We perceive what we like and what we don't like (raga - like and dwesha - not like) and also our attachment to it. Karma Yoga in particular, the selfless service for others, for a good ethical purpose and ultimately for God, has a supportive effect.

Karma yoga

Through Karma Yoga we can overcome our attachments to what we like and dislike, our cravings and our aversions. Our minds are made more subtle. We learn to control our senses. The inner urge arises to break out of this bondage, which is expressed in suffering, and to seek knowledge about what is really worth. Bhakti Yoga also promotes this process and transforms the urge and desire from suffering for happiness into an inner longing for unity. We put all of our love and devotion into service and the real desire for liberation arises.

Bhakti Yoga

Through the development and practice of devotion and offering of everything to the divine or superconscious, we can sublimate our mind, our spirit ever further. Driven by the desire to free ourselves from suffering and gain freedom, we begin to make an active effort. This corresponds to the fire energy and the sense of sight. We develop enthusiasm and willpower, use them actively and increasingly see everything with our hearts.

Raja Yoga

Now Raja Yoga comes more and more into play with active techniques to control our mind (thoughts, emotions, psyche - the mind). There is a thinning of our mental conditioning. We get more understanding, see more clearly, for example our Swarupa (our own essential nature) and our Swadharma (our own duty, which arises from our own essential nature). So far we act out of suffering. The motivation is the desire to overcome this suffering. Most people move up and down or back and forth on these levels.

Knowledge - out of ourselves

If we practice Hatha Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Raja Yoga uninterruptedly and steadily, we will enrich our knowledge from within ourselves. And even if we apparently arrive at the same point several times, then with a wider perspective and knowledge. That is why the spiritual path is often symbolized by a spiral.

Jnana Yoga

When pure knowledge dawns, we reach a point where pure knowledge begins to rise. This is where the path of Jnana Yoga begins. From here on we are in equilibrium, in equanimity, because we have sublimated our minds. This is characterized by a state of total non-attachment, unconditioned vision, solid anchoring in truth. This goes hand in hand with the emergence of true compassion, universal love and ananda (bliss, unconditional joy).

The awakened universal consciousness becomes self-aware

The divine is seen in everyone and everything. Like a universal feeling. (Correspondingly connected with the air element and the feeling of meaning.) From here on, the motivation is no longer suffering, but only the longing for unity. This consciousness, which has already been awakened, expands further (correspondence: etheric element, space, hearing). The view of the real is strengthened, the view of the unreal (relative, ephemeral) weakened more and more.

This is how we come into the consciousness of pure being (Sat). The knowledge becomes clearer and clearer and expands into cosmic space. We experience pure knowledge (chid). Eventually we will reach full absorption in universal consciousness. The universal consciousness becomes aware of itself that it is universal pure consciousness.

Don't worry - we are already Universal Consciousness

Even when we have reached the higher levels, the other yoga paths do not stop. They condition, permeate and unfold each other. When we have a universal view, this temporal evolutionary or involutionary ladder does not exist because ultimately there is nothing to be achieved since we are already universal consciousness. So you don't have to worry if your entry is Jnana Yoga or Raja Yoga and you maybe get to Hatha Yoga, Karma Yoga and / or Bhakti Yoga. Swami Sivananda always emphasized: Do something of everything, a little of everything, but do it regularly and continuously. That is holistic yoga.

Nutrition and spirituality

An article by Marjolein Grislo, from Yoga Vidya Journal No. 34 - Summer 2017

For 2 years I have been concerned with the influence that diet has on my spiritual development. I feel the vibration level of the diet better and better and feel how some food has a very condensing or toxic effect. It makes things cloudy where other food makes me easy and opens up.

Energy of food

I also often feel the energy that some foods contain. Energy that is transferred to the food during preparation, for example, depending on whether the food is prepared with love and mindfulness. When the food has bad energy, I often get allergic reactions. Then the mucous membrane of my mouth, throat and throat swells or I get itchy and indigestion. Even old, overcooked, low-energy food is not good for me. The more I open up to it, the faster I notice whether the food is good for me or whether I shouldn't eat it.

I used to be overweight as a kid, but since engaging in spirituality and nutrition, it hasn't been. As a child I could always eat, I was always hungry, a real sweet tooth