Today’s Modern Challenge
Every day each of us is asked to deal with unreasonable amounts of stress and anxiety. Growing numbers of people feel emotionally unbalanced, angry, depressed, fearful and dissatisfied—all of which will eventually impact our health and well-being. And these issues are affecting all facets of the population, including our healthcare providers. In fact, burnout among U. S. physicians has now reached an alarming, epidemic level.
In trying to identify and diminish the cause of our pain, we tend to blame external factors like family, overwork, economic uncertainty, terrorism, the government, cumbersome regulations, and the many unresolved, complex cultural divisions in social and racial relationships. But unless we can regularly access a higher state of consciousness, our conceptual conditioning cannot be overcome.
Twentieth century psychologist Abraham Maslow famously stated that if the only tool you have is a hammer, you’ll treat every problem as if it were a nail. That’s what we’re doing, for instance, when we try to deal with every human challenge from within a strictly physical orientation. We’re seeing only physical solutions—which cannot be effective, because our problems are not physical in origin. They are mental and emotional in origin. And to make matters worse, many of our misguided attempts at change can have dangerous consequences.
Five to six thousand years ago, the pioneers of modern Yoga Science dealt with similar stressors of their own. But instead of seeking solutions outside themselves, certain women and men embarked on a journey of self-inquiry and self-discovery. By experimenting with scientific meditation techniques, they learned how to unify the wisdom potential of the mind with the skillfully dynamic capacities of the body. Through their process of internal research, pioneering meditators of long ago received a priceless, practical treasure that can serve us well today—if we are motivated to follow in their footsteps.
What is Yoga Science?
- Yoga Science is the oldest body of holistic mind/body medicine. It is 5,000-6,000 years old.
- Yoga Science provides a scientific template to access and employ higher knowledge, and to experience happiness, health and security––while fulfilling the purpose of life without pain, misery or bondage.
- Yoga Science serves as a framework for gathering, measuring and organizing data, making predictions, testing those predictions with repeatable experiments, and drawing conclusions.
- The conclusions derived from each Yoga Science experiment then become the basis of our daily thoughts, words and deeds to help us live and act in the world more skillfully, lovingly and rewardingly—physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
- The laboratory for every Yoga Science experiment is your own mind, body, sense complex.
How to Perform a Yoga Science Experiment
- You receive “higher” knowledge from the conscience (buddhi) before you take an action.
- You assimilate the “higher” knowledge to become familiar with it.
- In the midst of a relationship that requires an action, you test the “higher” knowledge in an experiment by basing your thoughts, words and deeds on your own Inner Wisdom. To facilitate each experiment, you sacrifice old habits that conflict with Inner Wisdom.
- At the conclusion of each experiment, you experience the “higher knowledge” you received in a practical way that expands your previous horizons and capacity for creativity.
Eight Steps of Yoga Science
The AMI MEDITATION six-week foundation course provides an experiential understanding of the traditional eight steps of Yoga Science. The entire AMI curriculum is holistically designed to incorporate Yoga Science into daily modern life. The eight steps are presented here in reverse order since the ladder being used by the Yoga scientist begins at ground level and ascends to the culmination of union with the Supreme Reality.
8. Samadhi – absorption into the superconscious state or Godhead; also known as Self-realization
7. Dhyana – meditation
6. Dharana – concentration of mental energy (one-pointed attention)
5. Pratyahara – control of the senses
4. Pranayama – control of breath and prana (vital energy)
3. Asana – physical postures
2. Niyamas – constructive observances designed to organize our personal daily lives. These are:
- saucha (purity)
- santosha (contentment)
- tapas (self-discipline)
- svadhyaya (self-study)
- Ishvara pranidhana (surrender to Truth)
1. Yamas – disciplines and restraints regulating external relationships with other people as well as with one’s own body, energy and senses. These are:
- ahimsa (non-harming)
- satya (truthfulness)
- asteya (non-stealing)
- brahmacharya (conservation/moderation of energy)
- aparigraha (non-possessiveness)