Yoga Vijnana

Yoga Vijnana means the “Science of Yoga.”

Is Yoga a science? The traditional system of Yoga is indeed a science. Since the last few centuries, with the advent of the contemporary notion of science, the culture and habits of human beings have changed. In its beginning stages, contemporary science did not acknowledge the ancient understanding of science. This was because the ancient civilizations were not technologically adept. Since the ancient civilizations were technologically unsophisticated, they were disregarded by the advocates of modern science. Due to this, Yoga, Tai-chi and other ancient philosophies and practices were ignored until the demand for health routines rekindled an interest in these sciences, both in the West and in the East. However as science matured, and as it developed (from Cartesian notions to Quantum Physics), it still could not accept the ancient notion of science that appeared crude due to its holistic nature, as holistic meant the embracing of organic notions.

Dhirendra Brahmachari in Bhadrasana

Dhirendra Brahmachari in Bhadrasana

In this process, the science of Yoga was modified to suit the changing technology-oriented world. At this time, many varieties of Yoga were born. In the late nineteenth century, many Yoga schools mirrored the demands of the then Western culture. The nineteenth century person searching for supplementary religious practices found occultism in Yoga (as can be seen in the philosophies of Annie Besant, the founder of the Theosophical society, C.W. Leadbetter, and the Mother, Mirra Alfassa, of the Shri Aurobindo Ashram). The change in the West from miracle-orientated ideologies to science saw Yoga affording a vision of liberalism. This then became a sought after ingredient and Yoga ashrams that facilitated this aspect were prevalent. Then Yogis were associated with hippies. After this brief spell, demands on health become the focus and many specialized forms of Yoga swamped the market. Some merely focused on the cardiovascular aspect of Yoga, some on the weight-watchers aspect, some on muscle-toning systems, and yet others offered Yoga as an antidote to sedentary habits. In the process, the original interpretation and practices of Yoga became almost extinct. Teachers in India who emphasized on an organic, wholesome system lacked support and vanished into oblivion.

However, with the inroads made by modern science, we now understand that the ancient sciences of Yoga and Tai-chi were in the first place based on a notion of science that was advanced. Indeed, these ancient traditions anticipated what we today understand as science (see Tao of Physics and Turning Point; Dr. Fritjof Capra). The holistic sciences, as Yoga and Tai-chi, are by their very nature drawn from principles analogous to modern science.

This Yoga Ashram endeavors to preserve and perpetuate this holisticorganic Yoga. The name for this holistic system of Yoga is Shaiva Yoga Vijnana. This is to distinguish this system of Yoga from the Yoga systems of other schools. The unadulterated, ancient science of Yoga, in its pristine form, happens to embrace this holisticorganic notion of Yoga. Shaiva Yoga Vijnana is this pristine system. It teaches not only the Yogic postures known as asanas, but also the Yogic principles of pranayama and dhyana from a holistic perspective. The holistic principles of the science define that the practices and philosophy embrace an organic notion.


Shri Ma Kristina Baird