Laya Yoga is considered to be one of the last yogas to be mastered after having perfected Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Kundalini and Kriya Yoga, and the other Yogas. In fact, we can say it is one of the last yogas which we have to perfect in our life before coming to the feeling of that union and oneness. It is in this context that we will have to understand the relevance of Laya Yoga practice.
Before we do so, let’s first understand What is Laya Yoga? – The meaning of the word Laya is to dissolve and Laya Yoga aims to dissolve the individual consciousness with the universal consciousness but in this process, one has to go through various stages of practice. Dissolution of consciousness is not an easy thing to do.
Most of the Yogis are silent on the awakening of consciousness. They only speak about the awakening of energy, the experience of energy, how you will be able to feel the movement of energy, how you can visualize that energy, how you can use that energy. What about managing the state of consciousness which is also being awakened with the energy? This is where Laya Yoga comes in.
Laya Yoga is the other side of the coin. It teaches us to become aware of the subtler states of consciousness which manifest with the awakening of a particular level of energy. So Laya Yoga has to be practiced along with Kundalini and Kriya Yoga. It is a process of observing the states of the emotions, attitudes, and behaviors which influence our external interaction in the world.
There are people who have been able to awaken their pranic energy, pranic forces but have not been able to manage the consequences. Even gurus have not been able to manage it and have gone into a state of semi-lunacy, eventually ending up in mental hospitals.
So, the aim of Laya Yoga is to be aware that with the pranic awakening in each chakra there is also an awakening of consciousness, and that this consciousness gives a different perspective, view, and vision. It can give birth to a different quality, attribute or guna. Sometimes we may be very tamasic in nature, sometimes we may become rajasic in nature. These different manifestations or cosmic attributes, these gunas, should not be taken as a natural state of life.
One should not just say, “Oh, this happens.” There has to be the realization that with pranic awakening the corresponding center in human consciousness is bound to be affected. For example, we have heard that the swadhisthana chakra represents the unconscious mind. Now imagine if swadhisthana is awakened and all of the unconscious stuff comes to the forefront. How are we going to manage it? Through Kundalini practices? Not possible, because that would not be an experience from the realm of energy.
The samskaras which we encounter, the karmas which we have to overcome, the impressions which we have to remove, are not simple energy experiences. When mooladhara awakens people begin to experience a lot of sexual energy. That changes the entire attitude and pattern of consciousness. It has to be managed, and Laya Yoga specifically speaks of four instinctive stages of consciousness which has to be managed.
Aspects of Laya Yoga
Recognizing the four instincts
The first is sexuality. It is a natural instinct. The process of reproducing oneself is an instinct of creation. In our material, physical life that instinct of creation manifests in the form of sexuality and the entire universe is geared to stimulate this instinct right from the cosmic level to the social level.
The second instinct is of fear, insecurity. People say, “Fear of the unknown”, it is fear of changing a known pattern of life, the desire to hang onto something which is known, with which we can identify. If you are a serious practitioner of yoga and you are practicing Kriya Yoga or Kundalini Yoga, of course, the instinct of fear is bound to come up.
When the energies begin to move, a thought will definitely come, “What is happening to me? I don’t want this to happen…”, yet you continue with the same practices for higher experience. Fear is another instinct which has to be managed.
Craving, wanting, desiring, the desire for satisfaction, fulfillment: sensorial, sensual, intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual, that is also an instinct. As a natural process, we only want good things to happen to us. We don’t want bad things or negative things. That desire for satisfaction, contentment, happiness, fulfillment, is an instinct.
The fourth instinct is of nidra. Nidra is translated as sleep but yogis have recognized nidra as the ‘shut down time’. It is a natural switch in our personality which stops the human personality from overloading itself with the inputs of the manifest world. It provides the opportunity to process whatever has gone in at an unconscious level, and that unconscious level is physically known as sleep.
So these are the four instincts which Laya Yoga says change the pattern of the behavior of human consciousness. They have to be managed by a process of knowing, awareness, and control. Apart from the instincts, there are other active states of consciousness which again have to be managed with the awakening of each psychic center, but we begin with the instinctual level first.
Recognizing the guna
Then we go on to the level of gunas, the tamasic and the rajasic manifestations of mind in life. This is how Laya Yoga evolves and while we are coming back to the basics, while we are learning how to manage our instincts, at the same time we need to evolve an understanding of the energy patterns which manifest when a change is taking place in human consciousness.
This energy pattern can be seen visually with the intensity of concentration. There are some people who have the ability to see the human aura. Just as this ability can be developed, the other ability, to see the change of the energy pattern within our own energy structure, can be developed.
Mooladhara, Dhyana and Laya Yoga
Going deep within our body, experiencing mooladhara and observing the energy at mooladhara, we combine it with the chanting of the mantra Om. Om is a vibration, and gradually, if you are regular with it, you will notice waves of energy coming up through your body. You will actually feel it physically. There may even come a time when the energy wave takes full control of the physical movements and motions.
People go into a state of uncontrolled, spontaneous movements. They begin in some states of meditation, you are sitting down, then suddenly you are hopping around the room. The mind is to be sensitized so that it begins to experience that movement and mind are also to be taught to control such chronic movements of energy.
The theory of Laya yoga is a very beautiful one. Laya Yoga says, “After you have controlled the instincts in the first stage and the gunas in the second stage, in the third stage you have only to control two chakras, mooladhara, and vishuddhi.” This is because mooladhara is like the black hole of our personality, where the cosmic energies have come and have focused in the condensed form of matter.
That center holds, the immense potential to either bind a person totally to the world of the senses or propel one through mooladhara into vishuddhi – from the densest element of matter to the most subtle element, that of the sky, ether. Vishudhhi is known as the white hole where expansion can take place, where manifestation can take place.
So, a laya yogi gains the ability to dive into mooladhara, bypass all the chakras and re-emerge as a new being in vishuddhi, to re-emerge as a star child. Mooladhara and vishuddhi chakras are the two important chakras of human awakening and these are the only two chakras that are dealt with in the final stage of Laya Yoga.
Do not be in a hurry to perfect Laya Yoga. Take your time and go through the process slowly and if you are sincere to yourself, in the course of time you will experience the states of Laya Yoga.
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