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Laya Yoga is an ancient form of meditation, with concentration on energy centers or chakras. Sage Gorakshnatha Rishi, an ancient sage of Nepal, and a disciple of Matsyendranatha Rishi is the founder of Modern Laya yoga. There are five main energy centers in the spine and two in the head. Laya yoga attempts to locate these energy centers and channelize them through meditation.

Laya essentially means to dissolve all Karmic patterns or conditioning and merge into the transcendental reality. It also means deep concentration and making an effort to obliterate the ego, thereby rising to a higher state of consciousness, called Turiya.

Laya Yoga is one facet of the Art of Yoga. It is regarded as the highest form of yoga. It is the pinnacle, the zenith of ones quest for inner peace and dialogue with ones soul and tuning with universal energy. Laya Yoga originates from one of the oldest of four Hindu spiritual traditions called Shaiva (Shaivism).  Shaivites followed instructions and guidance of Hindu deity Shiva - The Creator, Preserver, Destroyer Revealer and Concealer of all that is.  Practice of Spiritualism popular in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and parts of Asia.

Laya Yoga has its origins in remotest antiquity and has been introduced to the West by Yogi Shree Himalaya Swami who learnt the traditions and exercises from Yogis in the Himalayan region where he undertook his training. He has reshaped the discipline and made it relevant for contemporary living.

Laya yoga concentrates on the minds capabilities and potentialities. Himalaya Master Laya Yoga combines specific exercises from Hatha, Kriya, Kundalini Yoga and Pranayama to raise inner energy and to spread The Messages of Himalayan Spiritual Light.

This style of Yoga combines the beauty of meditation with the practice of sound. At Yoga Vogue you can learn the art and science of Laya Yoga under the direct supervision of worlds renowned Yogi Shree Himalaya Swami, the Master of Laya, Raja, Tantra and Kundalini Yoga.

To dissolve into the cosmic soul, Paramatman, you must enter this dimension through the point (Bindu) of light (Jyoti). This process (Kriya) of inner merger with the divine is revealed “in time” by constant and unswerving devotion and dedication, to the light within. When Samskaras are ripe for the inner journey, the point of light wraps around itself and takes you to a dimension of existence “beyond time”. This is Laya Yoga.
 
All Tantric Sadhana’s can contribute up to this point such as Classical Hatha Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Kriya Yoga, but at the point of fusion Laya Yoga happens spontaneously through the awakened Kundalini directly.

Laya Yoga is a form of Yoga that focuses on listening to Nada, or internal sounds, which can be heard even with closed ears. Nada comes in different variations, ranging from bee hums to ocean waves. By focusing on Nadas, the mind will become relaxed, and will be oblivious to different distractions around. Nadas, however, can only be heard by those who are experienced in Pranayama.

Laya Yoga makes it possible to go through difficulties and overcome negatives, thus it is called the Yoga of absorption. Laya Yoga retains the transcendental self after yogis dissolve themselves meditatively. The mind will be absorbed in its own, resulting to positive effects in the spiritual aspect of the person. Moreover, karmic patterns that have been imbibed by the person throughout his life can be overcome.

The spiritual goal of Laya Yoga is to achieve Ananda state, which is described as a state of peaceful bliss and ultimate happiness. This can also lead one to reach Turiya, or the fourth level of consciousness. Through Laya Yoga, one can be unified with God, connecting with consciousness of the divine. In going through the higher levels of consciousness, the yogi has to be careful in dealing with gods and spirits.

Laya Yoga can be either Tantric or Vedic. Thus, Laya Yoga practice can be either Tantrika Laya Yoga or Vaidika Laya Yoga. Laya Yoga focuses on mantras, mudras, yantras, and mandalas during practice. Different positions, which include sitting, standing, lying, and walking, are performed and combined with the right prayers, visualization, and breathing techniques. Sthulla-karira ritual moves are also performed.

Transcendental runs and water relaxation are also performed by Laya yogis. Laya Yoga, in essence, is a mystic method. This is considered as the higher stage of Hatha Yoga, and as one of the Grand Spiritual Paths. Tantra Yoga practices and concepts are used in Laya Yoga. Moreover, the concept of Kundalini-shakti or the serpent power is also recognized and is aroused by anyone who practices Laya Yoga.


How to Do Laya Yoga

Laya yoga is different from other twelve traditional types of yoga because it focuses on meditation and brings the absorption of the mind in sound. It calms the nervous system by focusing on the sounds within the body. Laya yoga focuses on the 5 main energy centers in the spine and the 2 in the head. Here is an easy beginner's exercise in Laya yoga.


Instructions

1. Position your body in the Siddhasana position.
2. Close your eyelids and look upwards.
3. Focus your attention on the area between your eyebrows.
4. Close your mouth, nose, and ears.
5. Listen for a sound in the right ear. After a while, this sound will become very clear and may seem to be pounding. Eventually, it will turn into a very soft sound, like a bubbling stream. By doing this, your mind becomes focused on the sound and has no other distractions. You will feel very calm.
6. Continue to do this for about 5 minutes or until whenever your body feels at peace.
7. Repeat steps 1 to 5 whenever you feel the need to calm your body.


Anahata Nada Sounds

Anahata sounds are the mystic sounds heard by the Yogin during his meditation. It is a sign of the purification of Nadis (Channels). Some students can clearly hear it through any one of the ears and some by both the ears. There are loud as well as subtle sounds. From the loud, one will have to contemplate on the subtle and from the subtle to the subtler. Beginners can hear the sound only when the ears are closed. Advanced students can concentrate on the Anahata sound even without closing the ears. Anahata sound is also termed Omkara Dhvani. They proceed from the Anahata centre of the Sushumna Nadi.

Sit in your usual Asana, in Laya Yoga it is mostly Muktasana, Siddhasana or Padmasana. Close the ears with the thumbs. Hear and minutely observe the internal sound through the ears. The sound that you hear from within will make you deaf to all external sounds. Close the eyes also. In the beginning of your practice, you will hear many loud sounds. Later on they are heard in a mild way. The mind having at first concentrated itself on any one sound fixes firmly to that and is absorbed in it. The mind becoming insensible to the external impressions, becomes one with the sound as milk with water and then becomes rapidly absorbed in Chidakasa. Just as the bee drinking the honey alone does not care for the odour so also the Chitta, which is always absorbed in the inner sound, does not long for sensual objects, as it is bound by the sweet smell or Nada and has abandoned its flitting nature.

The sound proceeding from Pranava Nada, which is Brahman, is of the nature of effulgence. The mind gets absorbed in it. The mind exists so long as there is sound, but with its cessation, there is that state termed Turiya. It is the supreme state. It is the Unmani state. The mind gets absorbed along with Prana by constant concentration upon Nada. The body appears to be a log of wood and it does not feel heat or cold, joy or sorrow. Different kinds of sounds proceed from the heart (Anahata sounds).

Nada that is heard through the ears is of ten kinds. The first is the sound ‘Chini’ (like the pronunciation of the word); the second is ‘Chini-chini’; the third is the sound of a bell; the fourth is that of a conch; the fifth is that of a lute; the sixth is the sound of cymbals; the seventh is the tune of a flute; the eighth is the voice of a drum (Bheri); the ninth is the sound of a double-drum (Mridanga); and the tenth is the sound of thunder.

You cannot expect the sound immediately after you close your ears. You should concentrate and keep your mind one-pointed. The particular sound that you hear today, you may not hear every day. But you will hear any one of the ten Anahata sounds. The description given above is Laya through Nada, Anahata sound. In the same manner, Laya can be effected by concentration at the tip of the nose (Nasikagra Drishti), at the space between the two eyebrows (Bhrumadhya Drishti), meditation on the five Tattvas, on Sou-Ham Mantra, Aham Brahma Asmi, Tat Tvam Asi Mahavakyas and other methods also.


LAYA YOGA: Meditation on Internal Sounds

Laya Yoga is the absorption of the mind in sound. The goal of this practice is to alter one's normal awareness of self by focusing on hearing an internal, mystic sound. The mind will become steady and absorbed in the sound on which it focuses. In space, sound is produced by the movement of sound waves in the air. So, too, in the body, there are currents that flow and produce sound when one practices Pranayama.

To do this practice, sit in Siddhasana or Padmasana and focus the attention on the spot between the eyebrows. Turn the eyes upward and let the lids remain closed. The eyes, ears, nose, and mouth should be closed. With a calm and controlled mind listen for a sound in the right ear, and eventually you will hear a clear sound. In the beginning the sounds will be very loud and varied, but with continued practice they will become increasingly subtle. At first one may hear sounds that seem to pound and surge, like the beating of a kettledrum. After some time, in the intermediate stage, the sounds will resemble those produced by a conch shell, or by bells. Finally, after further practice, the sounds will resemble tinkling noises, the sound of a flute, or the hum of bees. All of these sounds are produced within and cannot be heard by anyone else. One should practice being aware of both the loud and subtle sounds, alternating and varying one's awareness from one to the other, so that the mind will not be inclined to wander.

When the student's mind is intently engaged in listening to these sounds, he becomes captivated by them and overcomes all distractions. As a result of this practice, the mind gives up its outwardly directed activity and becomes calm, desiring no objects of sense gratification. The mind and breath become refined and one's attention is focused within. Then the yogi forgets all external objects and loses consciousness of himself, and the mind is absorbed in bliss. The absorption that is produced when the mind enters the sound (nada) emanates spiritual powers and a sort of ecstasy, and one forgets his whole material existence. If one desires to attain this state of union, one should practice listening to the anahata sound in the heart with a calm and concentrated mind. When the mind focuses on the sound, it becomes steady. Mental activity is suspended when the mind is absorbed in the sound. The accomplished aspirant interpenetrates the anahata sound and attains the state of Samadhi through this method, Laya Yoga.

These internal sounds can be heard only by those whose Nadis (channels) are free from impurities and who are well practiced in pranayama. The Anahata sound comes from sushumna, and, as with other sounds, it cannot be heard by the aspirant until this nadi is free from all impurities. Thus the practice of concentration and absorption with nada (sound) is only possible after considerable preparation. A beginner can instead perform Bhramari Kumbhaka, in which a humming sound resembling a bee drone is produced in one's throat. This practice requires breath control, so that the breath may be exhaled very slowly, producing the sound for a significant length of time.

Just as focusing the awareness on the eyes produces special powers of vision, directing one's awareness to the ears allows one to detect special sounds. By directing the full force of one's attention to these senses, the deeper powers develop. Directing the thoughts to any particular sense of the body awakens one's conscious awareness of the powers that correspond to that sense. Concentration upon the organs of the body that are involved in any practice increases their power and sensitivity, and intensifies and strengthens that organ system.

Concentration shows itself in five progressive mental stages: analysis, reflection, bliss, ecstasy, and meditation. The first stage is one of gaining knowledge about the nature of the object. The second step is that of pure reflection; here the lower stage of analysis is transcended. In the third stage, the power of reflection gives way to a blissful state of consciousness, which later merges into the pure ecstasy of the fourth stage. In the fifth stage, one losses awareness of all sensation and external awareness gives way to a state of complete meditation. In Samadhi (Absorbing into Divine Light), there is neither seeing nor hearing, neither physical nor mental consciousness; pure existence and total absorption on the absolute is experienced.


Mantras in Laya Yoga

Awakening Kundalini Œakti is effected by Mantra also. It is a portion of Bhakti Yoga. Some aspirants should repeat the Mantra given by their Guru even lakhs of times. During the time of Diksha of an Uttama Adhikari, the Guru utters a particular Mantra and Kundalini is awakened immediately. The consciousness of the student is raised to a very high degree. This depends upon the faith of the student in his Guru and in the Mantra. Mantras, when received from the Guru in person, are very powerful.

Aspirants in Kundalini Yoga should take to this Mantra Sadhana only after getting a proper Mantra from a Guru. Therefore I am not touching this point in detail. Mantras when learnt through ordinary friends or through books cannot produce any benefit at all. Mantras are numerous and the Guru should select a particular Mantra by which the consciousness of a particular student can be awakened. For beginners the most apropriate Mantra is Gayatri Mantra or Sou-Ham (Sau-Ham).


Laya Yoga - True Himalayan Yoga School

While you need a teacher to help you learn any form of meditation well, you particularly need the aid of a teacher to learn laya yoga meditation. There are five main energy centers in your spine and two in your head. The laya yoga meditator knows exactly how to locate these centers through the kind training of a teacher. When these centers are found, they function very much like doorways to different realms of higher consciousness.

Through laya yoga meditation, for example, you sense the heart center which is located inside the spine, directly back of the heart. From this point you can expand your awareness and enter into a realm of great, sky blue light (sometimes other colors as well) and discover how easily and readily you can love. Through laya yoga meditation in the heart center you overcome selfishness and self-centeredness. You become able to deal with your fears and worries because of the tremendous strength and insight you gain from the "heart expansion."

The term laya means dissolution, melting of all karmic conditioning and limitations that have accrued as result of various occurrences and incidents which took place in the course of one's entire lifetime. It is derived from the root li, meaing "to become dissolved" or "vanish" but also to "to cling" and "to remain sticking." This dual connotation of the verbal root li is preserved in the word laya The barriers of a preconditioned life become gradually dissolved, until the soul sees the enlightening world of freedom and salvation (Kaivalya). Laya means to absorb or to dissolve. The word Yoga means unity or reconciliation. One can say that the whole phrase may be interpreted as: the yoga of absorbing dissolution in God's Spirit.

Laya-Yoga makes meditative "absorption" or "dissolution"(laya) its focus. The laya-yogins seek to meditatively dissolve themselves by clinging solely to the transcendental Self. They endeavor to transcend all memory traces and sensory experiences by dissolving the microcosm, the mind, into the transcendental Being-Consciousness-Bliss. Their goal is to progressively dismantle their inner universe by way of intense contemplation, until only the singular transcendental Reality, the Self, remains.

The laya-yogins are concerned with transcending karmic patterns within their own mind to the point at which their inner cosmos becomes dissolved. In this endeavor they utilize many practices and concepts from Tantra-Yoga, which also can be found in Hatha-Yoga, especially the model of the subtle body with its psycho energetic centers and currents. Central to Laya-Yoga moreover, is the important notion of Kundalini-shakti, the serpent power, which represents the universal life force as manifested in the human body. The arousal and manipulation of this tremendous force also is the principle objective of the hatha-yogin. In fact, Laya-Yoga can be understood as the higher, meditative phase of Hatha-Yoga.

Laya Yoga is a practical art of meditation and contemplation based on the ancient knowledge relating to chakras (energy centres, cakras).

Laya Yoga is such a form of yoga in which Unity: the Highest Unification, also known as samadhi, is attained in the process of laya, additionally referred to as fana by Sufis, or nirvana by Buddhists. One can say that laya means a deep concentration (attentiveness, focusing), which brings about a gradual dissolution and absorption of the structures of material ego in an utterly pure power of the Highest Consciousness.

Laya is a process of gradual absorption of basic energies that generate our material form so that Consciousness (Chittam) becomes released (liberated, redeemed) from all phenomena that are not spiritual, or where the divine enlightening power of Pure Spirit is concealed inside. One can say that consciousness that is absorbed in concentration on God and submerged in God, becomes progressively so preoccupied with it that everything that does not represent spirituality discards it and becomes annihilated. What remains is the imperishable existence of the Eternal Spirit, the real substance and essence of a human being.

Dikshan: initiation into Laya Yoga means that a bond has been established between a human spirit clad in a body and the Eternal, the Highest and the Holiest Spirit of God, Brahman, that remains bodiless. The energy of initiation is a transmission of power from The Holy Spirit and reconciliation with God in the Holy Spirit. It facilitates concentration on the Spirit and Truth, as well as genuinely pious and inspired prayer. One can say that initiation is always an introduction in the Holy Spirit undergone for the practice of spiritual dissolution in God.

The Eternal Spiritual School, also called "Brotherhood of Mystery" or "The Path of Absorption" has been founded on the teachings and practices of Laya Yoga, transmitted in ancient times by Lord Shiva to his disciples and devotees named chela. Chohan (Lord) Shiva founded a total of twelve lines of yoga transmission, which constitute complete and comprehensive teaching and training systems in all stages of man's route of spiritual development. Laya Yoga is a transmission line watched over by great Mahatmas from Ashram located in the Himalayan Valley. We even label it as "The Light of Himalaya".

The succession line, i.e. the spiritual tradition from which Laya Yoga originated, is also called Himalaya, or, in more accurate terms, Himalayan Confraternity Brotherhood (HCB). The seven-stage path (marga) of spiritual growth that causes one to dissolve in an infinite grace of the ocean of compassion of the highest God is a basis for the entire spirituality represented by successions of Gurus (Spiritual Leaders), who in turn pass on one of the most ancient and esoteric forms of Yoga teaching. Traditionally, in the lead of the entire transmission line as well as its forms appear: Guru Shiva (The Merciful One), more familiar in his numerous emanations as the Venerable Father, Babaji, and his spouse, known as Devi Parvati (Daughter of the Mountain, i.e. the venerable Mahatma Himalaya). Acharyas: those ordained in the process of spiritual transmission to play the part of messengers or apostles of the succession line belonging the Vedic Laya Yoga, constitute the groundwork of yoga teachings.


Laya Yoga Centers

The five centers correspond roughly to the main areas of the spine. One is located in the area of the tailbone. The second center is in the area of the sacrum. The third is located in the spinal cord, back of the navel. Then the heart center, which we have mentioned. The throat center is found inside the spine at the base of the neck, directly back of your collar button.

The first head center is the point half an inch above where your eyebrows meet in your forehead — it’s called the third eye. The second head center is at the crown of your head. Technically, this area is not a center at all, but is considered the main source of spiritual light and energy which is expressed throughout the body.
 
While it is beneficial to sense where your centers are, it is not wise to concentrate on these centers or meditate on any of them without the help of a teacher. Over-stimulation of a center could cause pain, confusion, or intense desires.

On the other hand, most people live on only three levels of consciousness — the material, sensual, and egoic — without ever opening the seven centers which bring higher consciousness. Laya yoga, with a qualified teacher, is an extremely worthwhile endeavor. To start Laya Yoga practices it is necessary to take Spiritual Initiation from The Laya Yoga Spiritual Master called Guru.


Laya, Tantra or Kundalini yoga

A celibate approach to spiritual growth is quite common in many of the world's spiritual traditions. Many yoga practices suggest that sexual involvement is a detriment to a greater development of self and hence should be avoided if possible. However, kama tantric yoga suggests that sexuality can be a very powerful force that can be harnessed for increased self-awareness. Thus, kama tantric yoga is unusual, in that it not only allows sexual feelings and contact, but uses sexual experience as a means to enlightenment. Kama Tantra is spiritual practice oriented fot transsmutting sexual energy into original creative force.

The Kama Tantrics maintain that there is an enormous energy locked into sexuality, which, if released from the lower end of the spine, can flow up the spinal column to bring divine illumination to the brain. They believe that within the interior of the spine, in a hollow region called the canalis centralis, there is an energy conduit called "Sushumna". Along this conduit, from the base of the perineum to the top of the head, flows the most powerful of all psychic energies, Kundalini energy. On the other side of the canal are two additional energy channels, one called "Ida" corresponding to the male, and the other the "Pingala" corresponding to the female. Ida is at the right of the base of the spine and the pingala begins at the left.

These tow psychic currents are said to coil upward around the spine and the sushumna like snakes, crossing the chakras (energy wheel of center of conscious). Kundalini yogi's lifelong task is to evolve through the various chakra qualities and challenges, thereby bringing the focus of the Kundalini energy upward from the base of his spine to the top of his head. Kundalini Yoga is always part or lesson of Laya Yoga.

Once the yogi has achieved mastery of self by relaxing body tension, silencing mental chatter, and releasing energy blocks, he is ready to join with a partner whose energies and spirit complement his own in such a way that together they form a "whole". The partners must first achieve a highly developed awareness within their being, a process that might take a lifetime, before ready to engage in kama tantric embrace. In the tantric lovemaking experience, known as "maithuna", the lovers undergo a variety of meditations and rituals before they actually make physical contact. They maintain the spiritual link or bond throughout the lovemaking process. They visualize the flow of pranic currents between them.

In kama tantric yoga, the lovers do not try to achieve orgasm. In fact, they work hard not to have one. They are attempting to draw the forces of Kundalini energy upward through their body-minds, thus releasing the power of the various chakras. This force transforms the yogi psychologically, changing his personality as the Kundalini rises to each succeeding chakra. The emphasis is not on the sexual release as an end in and of itself, but rather on sex as a channel through which the evolution of self may proceed.

The goal of Tantra or Esotericism is the union of dynamic and static aspects of personality. It is quite different from practices that dwell on renunciation and desirelessness.


Laya Yoga - Spiritual Shiva Dance

Laya Yoga is one of the directions of higher, spiritual yoga. Laya means disappearance, dissolution of oneself in the Harmony of the Absolute, Parama Brahman. This implies turning off the mind, which resides in the head chakra Ajna, — so that the organism may begin to act not under mind’s commands but under the control of God, Brahman or Shiva-Shakti. An example of this is spontaneous dance performed in the state of the latihan meditation, which is the most typical example of training in laya yoga. In Laya Yoga, such spontaneous dance is called Sacindah (sachinda).

There are other higher spiritual Sadhana methods. For example, one can “yield to laya” his or her hand holding a dowsing rod and with the help of this rod to discover something that cannot be seen by eyes or heard by ears: to get answers about ore deposits or about underground communication lines, to perform medical diagnostics, and do many other things. Dowsing is also Laya Yoga, its particular case.

In the same way, one can learn to paint when his or her hand as if by itself draws a pencil or a brush. In the same way, one can learn to write texts, like Alice A. Bailey under Tibetan Master as Her Guruji. In all such cases, the hand is controlled by some angelic spirit, and if the man deserves it, then it can be the Holy Spirit, Brahman.

As for the spontaneous spiritual Shiva Dance, there are special methods that can help to learn to yield the body to Laya. For example, if the arms are raised, then it is easier for the body to begin moving, for the backbone to bend. On the contrary, if the arms hang down, then it is difficult to begin dancing in this state.

It is the same with any direction of art where we want to apply the principle of Laya: one has to know the basic methods, to be an expert in this area to some degree. For example, in order to paint, one has to know how to mix dyes, to apply them on the canvas or paper. Of course, in order to dance one has to know the principles of plasticity of the body. Of course, one has to be able to hold a pen to write with it.

In regard to Laya, we have to have a critical attitude toward what we do in this state. The loss of critical attitude can easily make us a laughing stock. This happens when one violates the ethical principles, because the ethics is the foundation of Harmony. On the contrary, if everything is all right with ethics, then Harmony with everything and everyone including God can become perfect. And remember, that an Initiation from the Guru's Hands is the most perfect Protection against evil spirits and bad ghosts like pishachas (pizacas), asuras or rakshasas (rakSasas). 


Essence of Laya Yoga

Laya Yoga involves techniques of meditation that cause the energy or Prana to move in certain ways, to awaken the Kundalini, the coiled up energy at the base of the spine. Laya yoga channelizes the energy forces in the Kundalini instead of merely controlling the mind. It is important that the Kundalini is activated through performance of asanas, practice of Pranayama and making a conscious effort to guide this awakened energy in the spine and allowing it to immerse in the crown Chakra (Sahasrara Cakram).

The ultimate goal of Laya Yoga is to attain supreme consciousness through pranayama and breath control; it is a method to prevent fluctuations of the mind.

Many people talked about Kundalini Yoga Sadhana. And now we discuss a similar methodological direction which is called laya yoga. Laya means “dissolution”. Dissolution of oneself first in the Holy Spirit and then in the Primordial Consciousness, then also in the entire Absolute — this is one of the elements of the final part of the religious Path. We have to master the methods of Laya Yoga even if we call our Path kundalini yoga, or kriya yoga, or bhakti yoga, or buddhi yoga, or Hesychasm, or Sufism. After all, the methodological scheme of spiritual advancement of man is common for all people. The differences are only in terms and minor accents put on certain nuances in concrete spiritual traditions. spiritual seeker knows nothing about Laya Yoga to the time they take an Initiation from living Laya Guru hands.

Laya is the state of mind when one forgets all the objects of senses and gets absorbed in the object of meditation. Laya enables one to have perfect control over the five Tattvas, mind and Indriyas. The fluctuations of mind will stop. The mind, body and Prana will be entirely subdued. For Laya Yoga, Sambhavi Mudra (Œambhavi, Shambhavi, zambhavI) is an effective method, in which one intently concentrates on any one of the Shat Chakras. Trataka exercise plays a vital part in getting success in Laya. In due course of practice, the Yogin gets established in Samadhi. He becomes a Jivanmukta.


Therapeutic Aspect of Laya Yoga


The practice of Laya Yoga cleanses the mind and body. It uplifts the consciousness of the seeker. As most people live only on three levels of consciousness- material, egoistic and sensual- laya yoga opens us to higher levels of consciousness. It teaches the seeker to locate the different centers of the spine and meditate on them, thereby transforming the consciousness.

On the Path of Laya Yoga other exercises are also necessary: exercises for growing the power of the refined consciousness, work on reconnecting with Kundalini Œakti as Cosmic Mother, studying with the developed consciousness the structure of the multidimensional Absolute, Brahmana. But now it is appropriate to talk about the methods which allow one to enter into harmony with the Holy Spirit, Brahman, to cognize Him, and to master Mergence with Him.


What is Swara Pranayama?

Swara Pranayama is an ancient science that existed even before the Vedic period. It is believed to be a secret science revealed to sages and saints by the Divine. Swara is the science of nasal breathing, which means ‘sound’ or musical note in Sanskrit and signifies the continuous flow of breath through the nostril.

This form of Pranayama Sadhana is an ancient tantra science, aiding a realization of the cosmic consciousness through a systematic study of the flow of breath. Swara Pranayama demonstrates that the flow of breath dominates each nostril alternately and regularly. The flow of breath changes from one nostril to the other periodically, thus balancing the entire system, which is the key objective of Swara Pranayama.

Swara Pranayama establishes the relationship between the dominance of breath and the different activities of the body and the personality. The flow of breath at regular intervals indicates a pattern and a rhythm that affects the physical and mental states. Swara Yoga pays attention not only to the quantity of the breath through each nostril, but also it’s position in the nostril, direction of swirl, degree of coarseness and many other characteristics.


Science of Swara Pranayama

It was believed in ancient times that by learning to read the breath and manipulate it, we would be capable of maintaining harmony with the outer and inner world. The breath should be allowed to flow evenly; when the breath is balanced, there is a shift in consciousness.

The breath that flows in the right is ‘Pingala’ and the left is ‘Ida’. The left signifies an association with the lunar while the right is solar. The nose is in direct contact with the hypothalamus of the brain and through the sensory nerves is connected to subtle nerves or the nadis. The key technique of Swara Yoga is to influence the nadis, which carry prana current to all parts of the body.


Laya Yoga Origins

‘Yoga’ - the very word radiates peace and tranquility. This feeling probably stems from the etymology of the word. The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Yuj' which essentially means to join or unite. The union referred to is that of the individual self uniting with Cosmic Consciousness or the Universal Spirit. Yoga is a means to achieving this goal.

Born in India, almost 26,000 years ago, Laya Yoga is believed to have evolved during the period of the ‘Sat Yuga’, also called the Small Golden Age. This period became known as a time of everlasting peace and abundant blessings, filled with seekers of the Eternal Truth. That is why, probably, even today we associate yoga with sages and hermits.

It was not until the discovery of the Indus - valley civilization, the largest civilization, that knowledge about the origin of Yoga and Laya Yoga surfaced. Excavations give evidence of yoga’s existence during this period; yogi -like figures engraved on soapstone seals have been unearthed. In fact, it was the Aryans, migrating from the north- west, who were instrumental in discovering Yoga.

The ancient texts of Vedas are the oldest scriptures in the world. The Sanskrit word Veda means "knowledge" and rig means "praise". Thus the Rig Vedas are a collection of hymns that are in praise of a higher power. Other three Vedas are Yajur Veda (knowledge of sacrifice), Sama Veda (Knowledge of chants), and Atharvana Veda (knowledge of Atharvana).

Vedic Yoga can also be called Archaic Yoga or Laya Yoga, Shiva Yoga, as people believed in a ritualistic way of life. Rituals, sacrifices, and ceremonies existed because they were considered a means of connection to the spirit world. People turned to Rishis or Vedic Yogis for illumination. Vedic masters were blessed with a vision of the supreme reality and their hymns speak of their marvelous intuitions.

This covers an extensive period of approximately 2.000 years until the second century. Gnostic texts, called the Upanishads, that spoke in detail about the self and ultimate reality appeared. There are approximately 200 Upanishads. One of the most remarkable yoga scriptures is the Bhagavad-Gita, which was composed around 3000 B.C.

The central teaching of the Gita is, to do ones' duty and not expect the fruit of the action. In 1200 BC the great teacher Rishaba, who was the exponent of the tradition of Jainism, also emphasized on efforts dedicated to the liberation of the spirit. It was during this time, that Yoga found its way into Buddhism too; Lord Buddha was the first Buddhist to study Yoga, and this was Raja Yoga of Siddha-Artha School of Yoga. Buddhist scriptures lay stress on meditation and physical postures, which are Yogic processes.


The highest path Laya-Yoga and
the Doctrine of ‘Three Liberties’


Traditionally the doctrine of Laya-yoga is considered to be the highest, concluding, culminating ‘chariot’, but it does not mean that it excels the other doctrines; the sense is that it is not bound with conventions, separations and concepts and can directly point out an inexpressible Nature of Reality.

All Paighambars like Dattatreya, Tirumular, Boganatar, Matsyendranath, Gorakshanath, Nanak, Kabir or Mohanar – these are siddhas-avadhutas which have been beings staying in an immeasurable freedom and practicing Laya-Yoga within different confessions – Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Daoism, Bon. Laya-yoga of Siddhas does not belong to any hinduistic school or sect, but all Sadhakas are connected with Shaivita and Shakta. It also can't be regarded as a routine, ‘everyday religion’. Laya-yoga being outside words, methods and symbols is regarded as a very essence of any spiritual tradition manifesting itself as its internal essence like Gnosis or Esoterics.

‘Sagacious activity’ in Christian Hesychasm, ‘submergence in ecstasy’ of a Sufi, above-logical ‘actions’ of Zen-masters have the same basis – submergence in no conceptual consciousness – The Source, that is what the main principle of Laya-Yoga is all about.

Laya-Yoga is often called the Doctrine of ‘three liberties’, that means the genuine freedom in body, speech and consciousness manifestation.

1. The body is allowed to be free from rituals, forms, worships and any artificial behavioral norms but use it if necessary.

2. Energy of speech is allowed to be free from mantras, prayers and psalms but use it if necessary.

3. Energy of mind is allowed to be free from philosophy, doctrinal theories or postulates but use it if necessary.

‘Is allowed to be free’ means that while practicing Laya Disciples are staying in meditative presence, in a wide open consciousness like the sky having no limits. In this state Laya Initiates can manifest any actions of body, speech and mind which while exhibiting immediately self-release, transforming into spontaneous play of body, speech and thoughts. Thereby, any external manifestations (behavior, speech, thoughts etc.) from the point of view of Laya-Yoga represent spontaneous play of activity – Lila and do not regarded as something definitely stiff, self-valuable and real.

The true Laya-Yogi or Laya Yogini, being in presence, does nothing but all is done; he is in state of not-doing, manifesting he is just playing with all works and duties. At least tries to regard his manifestations as those. Such way fully corresponds to the way of life of great Siddhas-avadhutas in our Laya Sampradaya tradition. It has been also described repeatedly in classical texts on Laya Yoga matters.

‘He is like a child accepts all the surrounding conditions, thanks to the wishes of others. Like an innocent baby is carried away by his play without concern of hunger, thirst or physical suffering, so a sage is absorbed with the play of his own ‘I’ without ego-consciousness and constantly delight in Atman. There are no codes and norms of conduct which bind him, because he is completely free. Though sleeping on the ground, like a child or a mad, he always asserts in Vedanta. Mother-ground is a blooming coach, which he lies down on. He sleeps without fear in the forest or in the cemetery, because his entertainment and delight is in Brahman. He, who is universal I, accepts by his wish innumerable shapes and has innumerable experiences. In one place he behaves like a mad, in other – like a learned, in the third one – like a defrauded. And again in one place he acts like a layman, in other – like a king, in third one – like a bargainer, which eats from his hands because has no charity bowl. Here he is adored, there he is abused. Thereby he lives everywhere, and the Truth behind him can not be realized by others. Thus he has not riches, he is constantly in Felicity. Though others may not help him, he is mighty. Though he may be hungry, he is always satisfied. He looks at things impartially. Though doing – he is not the doer, though eating, he is not the eater; though he has a body – he is bodiless. Though he is solitary, he The United Indivisible Whole’. --- Shankaracharya ‘Viveka Chudamani’

When we accept such views, it does not mean at all that we can ignore principles, rules, methods of practices, statuses, obligations and so on. The Yoga-Sadhaka or Yoga-Sadhakini, which follows the Highest Dharma, is conditioned by nothing and he is free to choose those methods which help him in practice, or which are imminent him in form or status. That is why a Yogi may do spreadings, read mantras, make a vow and so on. But only his attitude to them is absolutely different from ordinary ‘not self-released’ practitioners.

The yogin sees them as a ‘play’ – Lila, but not as something self-sufficient. The difference is approximately that is between a performance in the theatre and a ‘real’ life. Outwardly a fully resemblance may be observed, but in essence – the distance size of the eternal Universe. ‘Play’ does not mean something false or not serious. When playing we are completely sincere and surrender ourselves to the process of practice. Peculiarity is that we are not identifying ourselves with the external. From this point of view Laya-Yoga may adequately be practiced inside of any spiritual tradition or traditional religion, not rejecting, but using its images, style or attributes as its heart essence. It means that any Jaina, Sikh, Christian, Jew, Hindu, even Atheist etc., can practice Laya-Yoga, not rejecting those images, symbols, notions which he got accustomed to.

What is important here – is the transference into the methods of School, spiritual liaison with a Teacher, Master and perfect mastering of methods of practice. There is a similar approach among magicians and shamans in various traditions. As a rule, magicians and shamans stay apart, aside from ‘wide’ religious paths, therefore they use religious attributes to reach their practical goals. They have competent methods but do not have attachment to the nationality or identification on the grounds of religious affiliation.

In this way quite a self-respected magician, which practices in orthodox tradition may not a bit ruffled to use witchcraft rituals of Voodoo, if there is a practical necessity. And shaman - Tibetan may be at the same time initiated in Hopi's magic tradition. Following these or those principals, magicians-shamans demonstrate their flexibility on the way of reaching their aims. Masters-siddhas follow the same way, but the difference is that their goals are beyond human ordinary interests, shamanism, but immeasurably higher – in transcendental.

The same approach was demonstrated by many outstanding ancient and modern saints-siddhas – the Tamil Laya-siddha Boganatar, known in China as Bo-Yang, Sai Baba from Shirdi, who was simultaneously praying in mosque and Hinduistic temples, Sri Ramakrishna, who ‘played’ in various religions, Nim Karoli Baba, who revered Hanuman equally with Christ, contemporary Avatar Bhagavan Sri Satya Sai Baba, contemporary Hindu Avatar Kalki, Avatar Sri Satchitananda Ganapati, Guru Anandashiva and others.


The Credo in the Teaching of Laya-Yoga


1. I take refuge in Parabrahman, one without another, non-dual reality. I believe in THAT, that was not born and does not have any name, form, features or attributes; in eternal, infinite, omnipresent, pure consciousness, which resides in all beings as Sat-Chit-Ananda.

2. I undarstand that the Absolute is continuously and creatively manifested and reveals itself as three Universe`s powers - creation, maintenance, destruction and as powers of Wisdom, Will and Action (Jnana, Ichha, Kriya-shakti) personified as Trimurti Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and their spouses.

3. I take refuge in the triple canon (prasthana-traya) of holy Vedanta`s scriptures as well in non-dual tantras, Upanishadas and verbal precepts of sages - Parampara`s upadeshas.

4. I take refuge in a divine origin, wisdom and blessings of seven sages of Vedic tradition, they are rishis Vasishta, Vishvamitra, Kashyapa, Bharadvaja, Gautama, Jamadagni, Atri.

5. I take refuge in divinities, munis, siddhas of near and distant succession`s lines of the teaching; and in releasing power of their blessings, which is gifted through Refuge, Samaya (Sacred Connection) and Guru-yoga.

6. I take refuge in Bhagavan avadhuta Dattatreya and his incarnations as particular, unique, universal embodiment of Absolute, Paramabrahman, who combines the features of three main divine powers of the Universe; as a central divinity of the tradition (ishta-devata).

7. I trust in ten main principles of Laya-Yoga Sampradaya teaching.

These are:
• Non-dual vision of ‘sameness of taste’ (Advaita-Samarasyachara),
• Natural State (Sahajacara),
• Vow of devotion and purity (Samayacara),
• Perfect method (Upayacara),
• Worship saint Objects: holy teaching (Satya-Veda), Master (Sadguru), sages (Arya-Sangha),
• Compassion and devotion (Bhrityacara),
• Inner asceticism (Tapacara),
• Spontaneous manifestation of perfection without any limits (Siddha-Avechhacara),
• Divine pride and pure vision (Divyacara),
• Opening to enlightening flow of descending power, that reveals divine nature (Darshanacara).

8. I believe, as a form of Absolute and the source of all phenomena in the Universe, in self-born natural wisdom, Natural state (Sahajya) - Source of Mind, which is similar to infinite space deprived of fixings and limits, perceiving in contemplation as pure, naked awareness out of notions, concepts and assessed opinions, that cannot be comprehended by logic or rational mind.

9. I trust in Basis, Way and Fruit of the teaching, where the Basis is self-born wisdom - Sahadjya-prajnana, which is not different from Parabrahman; Way is the Way of contemplating by naked awareness of natural state (that had been given during Darshana) by means of three main principles - Shravana, Manana, Nididhyasana; and the Fruit is three enlightened bodies:

• The body of wisdom is similar to space of pure consciousness (Jnana-deha),
• The illusory body is equal to divinity (Pranava-deha),
• The perfect body of manifestation (Siddha-deha).

10. I trust in yoga`s principles and commandments, tantric oaths-samayas and Joint (Unified) samaya of contemplation, which are necessary to be used and assiduously followed according to one`s status, place, time and Guru`s directions.

11. I trust in philosophy of rishi Vasishta, namely the world becomes such as you creates it in your mind, the world is a manifestation of one`s view, the Universe is illusive like mirror`s image, empty by its nature and everything in it is display of fundamental Mind - infinite consciousness; suppressing and purifing our mind, we can get rid of all sufferings and create like the Creator Brahma.

12. I trust in the law of karma, reincarnation, precious human birth; I believe that the conditional state of samsara leads to incalculable sufferings, but the true goal of every beings` life is an aspiration for Liberation.

13. I trust in the power of compassion, non-violence (ahimsa) and love to all beings including inferior.

14. I trust in the pure vision, that all phenomena in the Universe are pure, perfect by their nature and they are nothing but a game of divinities` energies in the mandala of Absolute-Parabrahman.


Sadhana Panchakam by Shankaracharya

1. Always study words of wisdom, with all of your capacity act in accordance and perform the discipline of these words, and following the systems of worship they enumerate, make the worship of the Supreme Lord, and don't allow your consciousness to contemplate adverse desires. Wipe all the dross of sin from your mind, search for the faults in the pleasures of the world, search your own soul for true knowledge, and very quickly try to renounce the attachments to your home.

2. Maintain the association of true people, take refuge with devotion in the Supreme Divinity, and with all your capacity try to befriend the universe, and very quickly renounce the fruits of your labors. Whenever possible seek out the company of the true and knowledgeable people, and serve the sandals of their lotus feet, and ask from them even one letter of the knowledge of Brahman and listen to the great words of wisdom from the Vedas.

3. Always contemplate the great words of wisdom, take refuge in the great words of wisdom, and stay far away from the bondages of the soul, and search for the real inner meanings of the texts of wisdom. I am one with God, always maintain this attitude. Make renunciation of the many thoughts of the mind, and leave the egotism of your body, and don't debate idle philosophies with intellectuals.

4. Take the cure for the illness of uncontrolled desire, serve your doctor as a beggar would serve a Lord, don't seek the associations of pleasure-seekers or self-centered individuals. Remain contented with whatever you receive in a divine union, that which God has consented to give. Remain the same while undergoing all the pairs of opposites like hot and cold, pleasure and pain, and don't give expression to worthless speech. Carry yourself as a great renunciate. Don't look to get grace from other men, and don't seek to obtain something from men.

5. Sit down in a quiet, conducive and comfortable environment, and contemplate the Supreme Divinity (ParamaBrahman). Look into yourself with the fullness of consciousness, and see the bondage of the gross world to the soul, and reduce your necessity for action in the world. Don't allow your thoughts to be bound by karma, with the strength of wisdom free your mind from bondage. Experience the fruits of your prarabda karma, the actions performed in the past, the fruits of which are being experienced in the present, and after the past karma is complete, with an attitude of one mind, go to the realms of Union with the Highest Divinity and remain there.


Panchikaranam by Shankaracharya

A small treatise on Vedanta

1. AUM. The VIRAT is said to be the sum total of all the quintuplicated * five elements and their effects. This is called the gross body of the Atman (soul).

Waking is that state, where the senses give rise to the knowledge of objects. The Atman, which identifies Itself with both the waking state and the gross body, is known as the VISHVA
These three (the gross body, the waking state and the VISHVA) together are represented by the first letter 'A' in the syllable 'AUM'.

2. The five unquintuplicated rudimentary elements and their effect, the subtle body, both together constitute what is called the HIRANYAGARBHA. The material subtle body has seventeen parts, viz. the five vital forces, the ten organs of perception and action, the mind and the intellect. This is said to be the subtle body of the Atman (soul).

3. When the sense-organs are quiescent or withdrawn, the knowledge arising out of impressions of the waking state and the imaginary objects there perceived, are together called the dream state. The TAIJASA is the Atman which identifies Itself with both the dream state and the subtle body. These three, i.e. &endash; the subtle body, the dream state and the TAIJASA &endash; are represented by the second letter 'U' in 'AUM'.

4. Bound up with reflection of Pure-consciousness, the Nescience, which hides the Atman and is the cause of both the gross and the subtle bodies, is called the 'AVYAAKRTA' or undifferentiated. This is the causal body of the Atman. This is neither existent nor non-existent, nor even both existent and non-existent; neither different from, nor identical with, nor both different from and identical with, the Atman. This Nescience is neither composite, nor non-composite, nor both composite and non- composite, but removable by the knowledge of the identity of Brahman and the Atman alone.

When all thoughts cease and the determinative intellect, too, lapses into its causal condition, the state of deep-sleep appears. The personality appropriating these two, i.e., the causal-body and the deep- sleep state is described as 'PRAJNA'.

These three (the causal-body Nescience, the deep-sleep state and the PRAJNA) are symbolised by the last letter 'M' in 'AUM'.

Now, 'A' the waking-personality, should be resolved into 'U', the dream-personality, and the 'U' into 'M' i.e., the deep-sleep personality. Again, the 'M' should be reduced into 'AUM' and the 'AUM' into 'I'. I am, the Atman, the Witness of all, the absolute of the nature of Pure Consciousness; I am neither Nescience nor even its effect but I am Brahman alone, Eternally Pure, Ever Enlightened, Eternally Free and Existence Absolute. I am the Bliss Absolute, One without a second and the Innermost Consciousness.

Remaining in this state of absolute identification is what is called 'SAMADHI' or the Super-conscious state.

'Thou art That', 'I am Brahman', 'Consciousness-Bliss is Brahman', 'This Self is Brahman', etc.; all these Srutis, i.e., the Upanisadic sayings (known as Mahavakyas or the great dictum) are direct evidences to the identity of the Atman, the individual soul, and Brahman. This is what is called 'PANCHKARANAM' or quintuplication.

Here ends the small treatise named 'PANCHIKARANAM' by Bhagavan Sri Sankaracharya.


Sadhana Panchakam by Shankaracharya

1. Study the Vedas daily.
Perform diligently the duties (karmas) ordained by them.
Dedicate all those actions (karmas) as worship unto the Lord.
Renounce all desires in the mind.
Wash away the hoards of sins in the bosom.
Recognise that the pleasures of sense-objects (samsar) are riddled with pain.
Seek the Self with consistent endeavour.
Escape from the bondage of ‘home’.

2. Seek companionship with Men of Wisdom.
Be established in firm devotion to the Lord.
Cultivate the virtues such as Shanti etc.,
Eschew all desire-ridden actions.
Take shelter at a Perfect Master (Sat-Guru).
Everyday serve His Lotus feet.
Worship “Om” the Immutable.
Listen in depth, the Upanishadic declarations.

3. Reflect ever upon the meaning of the Upanishadic commandments, and take refuge in the Truth of Brahman.
Avoid perverse arguments but follow the discriminative rationale of the Sruti (Upanishads).
Always be absorbed in the attitude (bhav) - “I am Brahman”.
Renounce pride.
Give up the delusory misconception - “I am the body”.
Give up totally the tendency to argue with wise men.

4. In hunger diseases get treated.
Daily take the medicine of Bhiksha-food.
Beg no delicious food.
Live contentedly upon whatever comes to your lot as ordained by Him.
Endure all the pairs of opposites: heat and cold, and the like.
Avoid wasteful talks.
Be indifferent.
Save yourself from the meshes of other peoples’ kindness.

5. In solitude live joyously.
Quieten your mind in the Supreme Lord.
Realise and see the All-pervading Self every where.
Recognise that the finite Universe is a projection of the Self.
Conquer the effects of the deeds done in earlier lives by the present right action.
Through wisdom become detached from future actions (Agami).
Experience and exhaust “Prarabdha” the fruits of past actions.
Thereafter, live absorbed in the bhav - “I am Brahman”!

Laya Yoga Sampradaya (Lineage)
Excerpts from Himalaya Swami Messages


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