The practice of Yoga is a science which consists of a psycho-philosophical background and is the basis for the practice of the Yogic processes. The asanas (postures) prepare the body, mind and spirit for Self-realization as union with God/Goddess; the Absolute Reality.
The meaning of Shaktiananda Yoga is as follows:
The word ‘Yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’ which means ‘to join’. By the practice of yoga, the individual soul (jivatma) is united with the supreme soul (paramatma). Yoga means union with God. Then all samsara (cycle of birth and death) comes to an end. The word ‘Shakti’ is the divine feminine principle which is Goddess energy. The kundalini energy is Shakti (moon) which unites with Shiva (sun); male principle of God which manifests in the sahasrara chakra (crown). The word ‘Ananda’ means bliss.
Yoga kills all sorts of pain – miseries and tribulations. Yoga frees you from the samsaric wheel of birth and death. – Yoga gives you various powers and liberation through jnana (self-knowledge). Yogis drink the elixir or nectar of immortality. “Tasmat Yogi bhava Arjuna”, Gita, Ch. VI – 46. Union with God is the goal of human life. It is the ultimate experience of our existence.
The Lord (lsvara) of Raja Yoga is a special purusa (person) who is not affected by the five afflictions and the fruit of actions and desires. His name or symbol is Om. He is indicated by the mono-syllable Om. He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.
The practices of Shaktiananda Yoga have been formulated and presented according to Ashtanga of Patanjali, in order that the different Angas of Yoga can be done in the traditional way. Only then will the practice become more meaningful to you. Patanjali Maharishi is a compiler or explainer of the yogic principles and tenets taught and practiced by Satguru Shri Mahashaktiananda.
Sri Adinath is the primordial guru of yoga. Shiva Adinath is considered to be the primordial guru, who is Jyoti-Svarupa (a form of transcendental light). He is beyond any form, commonly associated with emptiness, vast and infinite light (Prakasha). He is Chit-shakti (infinite consciousness). Adinath is the source of all knowledge of yoga and tantra. He is Shiva consciousness.
Sri Adinath is the manifestion of Shiva. Shiva inherits his own form and power through Shakti, dynamic creative force. Without His Shakti He is like an abandoned lifeless body. The guru is considered to be a manifestation of Shiva, therefore, he is perceived as the source of Supreme Consciousness in the Natha Tradition. Only the guru who possesses Shakti can be conceived as an authentic guru and siddha. The guru is the embodiment of Power (Shakti) and Supreme Consciousness (Shiva). A personal guru may be male or female.
Shaktiananda Yoga practice is more beneficial when you know why you are engaging in this practice, what you can achieve out of this practice, and how this practice will effect the nature of your spiritual state. Understanding these terms helps you to ascertain whether the practice is actually proceeding in the right direction for your spiritual progress to unfold.
Even as a beginner in the practice of Shaktiananda Yoga, you will have a certain frame of reference to be able to see your own improvements. It is important to evaluate your practice from time to time. It is helpful to keep a ‘Spiritual Diary’ for your own personal record of your progress. This will engage you in your practice more meaningfully, in an effective and satisfactory manner. Understanding the psycho-philosophical basis of these Yoga practices is beneficial even while you are engaged in them.
Shaktiananda Yoga upholds the teachings of the Himalayan Masters and the Ascended Masters of Universal Light. Shaktiananda Yoga is the path of Siddha Yoga including the teachings of Raja Yoga of Patanjali. In the practice of Raja Yoga the spiritual seeker develops disciple through self-effort, and along with Siddha Yoga this effort is supported by the personal guru through a traditional process which is called Shakti Paat; Shaktipat or Shaktipata. This is the transmission of power (siddhas) by the guru (teacher) to the sishya (student/chela/disciple). Shaktipat is an initiation of light which assists the student to make spiritual progress more quickly.
~Gurudevi, Satguru Shri Mahashaktiananda developed the Shaktiananda Yoga technique in 1968 in the tradition of Ashtanga by Maharishi Patanjali of the Himalaya Yogis. She offers Shaktipat to her students in the tradition of Siddha Yoga.