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Breathe, Stretch, Realize... YOGA TIME

By Sister Jenna

We know we are in a state of dramatic change when we witness a world leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, aiming to awaken people everywhere to the benefits of yoga and consciousness. It is a remarkable moment. With the endorsement of world leaders to “OM,” stretch, breathe, and harmonize our minds and bodies, we are empowered to truly make the world a better place.

As we lead up to the fifth annual International Day of Yoga, you might be wondering what kind of yoga to practice and how you will know if it is the right fit for you. You won’t know until you try, which is what I did 30 years ago. My practice is Raja Yoga Meditation. It is led by the Brahma Kumaris, a nonprofit spiritual organization with leadership held mainly by women, and whose leader, Dadi Janki, a 103-year-old yogi, will visit New York at the Peace Village Learning and Retreat Center in May 2019.

History has left us with a variety of forms of yoga to practice, and each one emerged to assist some in a particular area in their lives. We can use yoga to liberate our body from physical discomfort or to liberate our minds from experiences of the past.

The word yoga itself, which means “union,” advocates remembrance of the One. It generally refers to the union of the individual consciousness or soul with the Universal Consciousness, often referred to as God. With the modern-day emphasis on physical health and fitness, many people think of yoga only as physical exercises — asanas or postures — but these are only the surface aspects of the infinite mind, body, and soul.

There are various “paths of Yoga” that lead in some way toward this goal. They include:

  • Hatha Yoga — a system of physical postures, or asanas, whose higher purpose is to purify the body, giving one awareness and control over its internal states and rendering it fit for meditation.
  • Bhakti Yoga — all-surrendering devotion through which one strives to see and love the divinity in every creature and in everything, thus maintaining a constant worship.
  • Karma Yoga — selfless service to others without attachment to the results and the performance of all actions.
  • Jnana (Gyana) Yoga — the path of wisdom, which emphasizes the awakening of the intellect (opening the third eye).
  • Mantra Yoga — centering the consciousness within through japa, or the repetition of certain universal root-word sounds representing a particular aspect of Spirit.
  • Raja Yoga — the royal or highest path of Yoga, immortalized by Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, and formally systematized in the second century B.C. by the Indian sage Patanjali, which combines the essence of all the other paths.

There are different forms of Raja Yoga; the one I practice through the Brahma Kumaris has me check inside to see if I have taken or given sorrow to anyone, which I consider an ideal practice. It takes one deeper into the subconscious, thus assisting one to realize the self and make any necessary shifts in one’s life.

By practicing Raja Yoga through the Brahma Kumaris, I have discovered that it is not simply for sitting down to meditate. I can also practice while I am walking, eating, speaking, and moving around, and find great benefit from raising my level of consciousness during these daily activities. In addition, by having union with God the Supreme Being, the love that is experienced becomes a means of absolving negative experiences from the past.

Imagine being able to realize yourself as you truly are: a good, beautiful, powerful, clean, and clear soul. A living energy of love and peace, whereby you are able to bring that intent in work, play, family, and the world.

I am not sure about you but I can speak for myself — life is draining when you live in fear, anger, inadequacy, hate, pain, or a sense of loss. An acronym I use all the time is ALGAE, which stands for Anger, Lust, Greed, Attachment, and Ego. I have realized they are the root cause of creating sorrow; and if I am in that state of sorrow, it’s natural to give sorrow to others.

Raja Yoga taught by the Brahma Kumaris has helped me tremendously reduce that cycle with my optimistic attempt to eventually put a full stop to ALGAE and be my real self. This International Year of Yoga could just help us all globally to put a stop to ALGAE... and help us breathe, stretch, and realize our worth!

  
Sister Jenna conducting Raja Yoga for a group from 60 countries in India at Brahma Kumaris Headquarters.
 
  

  
Sister Jenna with the sculpture "Child in Concentration," which was donated to the Meditation Museum by Park Chan-Soo, a Buddha sculptor representing Korean culture. The uniqueness of his work originates from the tradition of Korean woodcarving that has lasted for thousands of years.
 
  

Sister Jenna is a spiritual leader, author, radio and TV personality, renowned speaker and founder of the Meditation Museum in Maryland and Virginia. She serves as one of the Evolutionary Leaders in service to conscious evolution and was selected by Empower a Billion Women 2020 as one of 100 Most Influential Leaders of 2015. She is an Advisory Team Member of the Million Mamas Movement, Conscious Good Media, and Global Women's Network.

Sister Jenna also served as a principal partner with the Oprah Winfrey Network and Values Partnerships on the Belief Team, a community of individuals from diverse spiritual, cultural, and faith backgrounds, and was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree by St. Thomas Aquinas College for her many years of dedication and service to humanity. She is a contributing author in the book, Mr. President: Interfaith Perspectives on the Historic Presidency of Barack H. Obama.

Sister Jenna’s mission is to decode critical current issues and offer a perspective for folks to find clarity, power, and insight. Her voice of influence is particularly needed in the wake of tragedy and increasing violence in our world.

Sister Jenna has traveled to over 80 countries where she continues to provide practical life tools and solutions that empower people to foster and build stronger relationships. Her wisdom, peace, and compassion for humanity are expressed through the variety of initiatives she spearheads for youth, women, governments, and communities. She has collaborated with Fortune 500 companies on key issues, and her syndicated radio show, America Meditating, is a popular global online show.

Sister Dr. Jenna is the recipient of numerous awards and proclamations including, the President’s Lifetime National Community Service Award, Every Day Hero Award by the Foundation for A Better Life and the Friendship Archway Awards, to name a few.
 

The Catalyst is produced by The Shift Network to feature inspiring stories and provide information to help shift consciousness and take practical action. To receive The Catalyst twice a month, sign up here.

This article appears in: 2019 Catalyst, Issue 10: Personal and Global Transformation Through Yoga