YOGA : Fullness or Emptiness


THE Eightfold path of yoga Some Spheres of the Yogic Tradition





 IN harmony  with

The Rhythm of the Breath

"Om, Pūrnamadah Pūrnamidam, Pūrnāt Pūrnamudachyate.

Pūrnasya Pūrnamāddāya Pūrnamevāvashishyate."

The Seer in Brihadāranyaka Upanishad 5.1.1 [in Sanskrit]


 "This is fragrant. That is fragrant.

Even though this fragrance came out of that fragrance, all that remains is fragrance itself."

Brihadāranyaka Upanishad 5.1.1

[Translated by Ariosto Coelho]



These reflexive reflections by Dr. Coelho are based on the experiences and writings of many yogis and authors including  Deepak Chopra, M.D., and David Simon, M.D., in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga (2004)


YOGA is an old Sanskrit word for

UNION of Body, Mind and Spirit

enfolding EMPTINESS or unfolding FULLNESS

[Yoga corresponds to "jugum" in Latin and "yoke" in English,

and means to be united or experience communion : fullness]


In The Yoga Sutra  Patanjali [one of the world’s greatest yogis and sages who roamed India around 200 B.C.]  compiled 195 concise aphorisms. The heart of his teachings is:


THE Eightfold path of yoga

1. YAMA is the constant practice of the 5 entry points or principles IN-HARMONY with nature:


Nonviolence (ahimsa)

 is compassion for the existential condition  = Harmonious Love

"Love one another as I have loved you." John 15/15

Truthfulness (satya)

 is  commitment to spirit-enhancing choices and actions = Integrity

"You are salt for the earth... You are light for the world." Matthew 5/13-14

Nonstealing (asteya)

 is self-sufficiency where inner fullness predominates = Intimacy

"For wherever your treasure is, there will your heart be too." Matthew 6/21

Nonlust (brahmacharya)

 is merging along the pathway to unity consciousness = Infinity

 "The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is close at hand. " Mark 1/12

Nonpossessiveness (aparigraha)

 is generously sharing abundance = Impermanence

"You are with me always and all I have is yours." Luke 15/31



2. NIYAMA is the responsible practice of inner discipline or the rules for personal behavior:


     ♦ Purity (shauca) clears away the negative physical and mental states of being.

        It encourages a non-judgmental mindset 

 -the presence of nourishment away from toxicity

THE REALM OF FORGIVENESS : gracefully with gratitude


     ♦ Contentment (santosha) finds happiness with what one has or with who one is.

        It is the fragrance of this moment

-the absence of addiction to power, sensation, security:

 the realm of centered living - INTIMACY


     ♦ Enthusiasm or Austerity (tapas) controls and directs the mind and body

        for higher spiritual aims. It is the fire of transformation

-the pathway to higher consciousness:

 the realm of new awakenings - INTEGRITY


     ♦ Self-Exploration (svadhyaya) helps one to realize that all creation

        is meant for adoration rather than for enjoyment. It is inner joy

-away from outer accomplishments:

the realm of balancing opposites IN-HARMONY


     ♦ Surrendering to God (ishvara-pranidhana) is the celebration of the spiritual.

        It is living with an awareness of the Divine

-relinquishing the past, embracing uncertainty:

the realm of infinite possibilities - Delight


3. ASANA means seat or posture. At a deeper level, asana means the full expression of mind-body integration. Through proper posture practice one becomes consciously aware of the flow of life energy [prana] in one's body creating balance, flexibility, strength and inner peace. These postures are mastered by freeing the body and mind from tension and restlessness and by consciously meditating. According to great yogis, "Infinite flexibility is the secret to immortality."



4. PRANAYAMA means mastering the life force, vital energy or prana [chi or ki in Traditional Chinese Medicine and ruach in the Kabalistic Tradition]. According to Patanjali, a key way to enliven prana is through conscious breathing techniques: inhalation, retention of breath and exhalation. Below are the seven moving principles as described by Donna Farhi (2000) in Yoga, Mind, Body & Spirit.

  • 1. Let the BREATH move you. "The breath arises out of stillness, expands, and returns to ground of stillness. Oscillation is an intrinsic part of life and all movements." [p29]

  • 2. YIELD to the Earth: Weight and Levity. "Actively yielding to the earth creates a rebounding force away from the earth elongating the body upward into space. Whenever the relationship of yielding to the earth is lost, breathing is restricted." [p35]

  • 3. RADIATE from the Inside Out: The Human Starfish. "The six limbs of the body (head, tail, arms and legs) connect to one another through the core body. The initiation of movement from the core to the limbs back to the core is called 'navel radiation.'" [p38]

  • 4. CENTER the Integrity of the Spine: The Central Axis. "The integrity of the spinal column must be maintained in all movements. The spine elongates through the combined efforts of gravity, the breath, and our directed intention." [p42]

  • 5. SUPPORT the Foundations: Structural Building Blocks. "Whatever touches the ground becomes the foundation of support for each asana." [p47]

  • 6. ALIGN with Clear Lines of Force & Sequential Flow. "Alignment is the clear sequential flow of force through the body." [p49]

  • 7. ENGAGE the Whole Body: The Democratic Body Community. "Every body has its own unique function, expression and associated quality of consciousness and is interdependent with every other system in the body. In embodied spiritual practice we nurture democracy within the body community as a way of creating balance, harmony, and freedom." [p52]

  •   RETURN the Mind to ORIGINAL SILENCE. "Clear Inner Perception allows us to see ourselves as we truly are." [p77]


5. PRATYAHARA is withdrawal of the senses by directing one’s attention inward so as to hear the inner voice more clearly. According to an yogi expression "I am not in the world; the world is in me." By going inside oneself, one can access the impulses of sound, sensation, touch, sight, taste and scent  and directly experience the knowledge of the world of forms and phenomena as a projection of one's awareness. In the words of Albert Einstein [1879-1955] "There are only two ways to live your life: one is as if everything is a miracle, the other is as though nothing is a miracle."



6. DHARANA is the mastery of attention and intention. According to some yogis "your intentions have infinite organizing power." One way to focus the mind on one point or image is by gently pushing away superfluous thoughts, intentions and desires. By concentrating on some object such as a candle flame, a flower or a mantra one can learn to surrender one's goals at the service of the universal drama, cosmic dance [lila] or divine plan. Victor Frankl [1905-1997] has expressed this aptly when he writes "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of human freedoms- to choose one's own attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."



7. DHYANA is the development of witnessing awareness or reflexive reflection. According to many yogis, dhyana is the expression of knowing that you are in this world but not of this world. It is living with the awareness that the only constant is perpetual change. It is developing the capacity to observe without needing to react to changing stimuli and impulses. It is learning to stay centered and awake to all possibilities whenever a challenge arises and to choose the best course of action. It is being in touch with one's unchanging soul [atma] which experiences the heightened awareness and oneness with the universe [parmatma] through uninterrupted meditation. According to a great soul, Mahatma Gandhi [1869-1948], "We must be the change we want to see in the world."



8. SAMADHI is the experience of pure bliss, contemplation, super-consciousness, fullness of realization: "tat tvam asi - thou art that." It is a state beyond space and time, beyond haunting memories of the past and anxiety-ridden dreams of a future. It is Moses' burning bush with the realization that "I am who am." According to Chopra and Simon (2004), "Immersing yourself in Samadhi on a regular basis catalyzes the transformation of your internal reference point from ego to spirit." For Teilhard de Chardin [1881-1955] "we are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience." Samadhi is the experience of infinity, intimacy and integrity in harmony.



Hatha Yoga     - Fullness of Physical and Psychic Balance

 ha is symbolized by the sun,  the physical side of our being -energy

tha is symbolized by the moon,  the cool, mental and psychic side -consciousness


Raja Yoga     - Fullness of the Royal Road

knowing the laws and the essence of one's mind

by overcoming limitations and mastering concentration


Karma Yoga  - Fullness of Action and Consequences

participating in the creative process: living life simply as it is

with the ability to start all over again: experiencing totality as it is


Jnana Yoga   - Fullness of Truth and Realization

knowing "thou art that" reflexively reflecting the ebb and flow of experiences

if you want a mirror, look at this moment - respectfully


Bhakti Yoga   - Fullness of Love and Devotion

a purpose-driven life - unfolding one's destiny as loving devotion

existing, living, being at home here - feeling secure with what is now.


Tantra Yoga   - Fullness of Expansion and Liberation

tanoti means to expand and trayate to liberate

freedom through expansion or contraction of one's consciousness


Pūrņa Yoga   - Fullness of Communion

blends relevant methods from all branches of yoga

to realize at-one-ment, liberation, fullness or communion



"Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road?"

"Then they told their story of what had happened on the road

and how they recognized him in the breaking of the bread."

[The disciples at Emmaus in the Gospel of Luke  24/32 & 35]


with the Yoga of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ


Did Jesus practice Yoga according to the Sutras of Patanjali? Did Jesus know of Siddhartha Gautama's enlightenment? Did Jesus live in India? Contemporary researchers may or not have conclusive answers to these questions that relate to Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of Faith and History.

According to Jaroslav Pelikan (1987) in Jesus through the centuries "Regardless of what anyone may personally think or believe about him, Jesus of Nazareth has been the dominant figure in the history of Western culture for almost twenty centuries."

Albert Nolan (1988) in Jesus before Christianity explains how Jesus was experienced as the breakthrough which led to his divinization. "Jesus was experienced as the breakthrough in the history of man. He transcended everything that had ever been said and done before. He was in every way the ultimate, the last word. He was on a par with God. His word was God's word. His Spirit was God's Spirit. His feelings were God's feelings. What he stood for was exactly the same as what God stood for. No higher estimation was conceivable."

In The Yoga of the Christ in the Gospel of St. John  Ravi Ravindra (1990) writes "I AM, the divine ego eimi, is the true Light shining in the darkness of the world; and a follower of this I AM, who can be a follower only if he dwells in the Logos as the Logos dwells in him (John 8:31, 14:23), naturally participates in the Light." There is no doubt in the mind of the author of the Gospel of St. John that Jesus of Nazareth participated in divine illumination and gave expression to his divine union: "On that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you" (Jn. 14/20).


Derek Biermann (2000) describes this state in Samadhi: Personal Journeys to Spiritual Truth "as the deepest level of meditation in which the mind becomes completely absorbed in the uninterrupted contemplation of reality and ceases to function other than as pure consciousness."


According to Ariosto Coelho (1994) in Mandalas, Personal Mythology and Midlife Spirituality, "My personal understanding reveals a Jesus who stood at the crossroads of an emerging consciousness. His universal compassion [cosmic love] based on his communion [fullness of life] with the Father gave rise to a courageous vision [personal vocation]. This led to an experiential process of de-linking from Judaism [conversion] and re-linking with the new set of values [resurrection], which was his life. Hence, I strongly feel that it was on account of the conflict of values and the clashes with the emerging consciousness that Jesus was condemned, crucified and killed by those authorities who favored the perpetuation of the structures of stagnating legitimacy and who felt threatened by his authenticity: Truth!"  Tat tvam asi = thou art that.


"He had both a religious dream and a social program,

and it was this conjunction that got him killed."

John Dominic Crossan in The Essential Jesus (1994)


"Not my will, but Yours be done."

The Essence of the Yoga of Jesus of Nazareth

"May they all be one, just as, Father, you are in me and I am in you, so that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me that they may be one as we are one.  With me in them and you in me, may they be so perfected in unity that the world will recognize that it was you who sent me and that you have loved them as you loved me."

(The Prayer of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ,

in  The Gospel of John 17/21-23)


"I have loved you just as the Father has loved me.  Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. No one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do what I command you."

(The Farewell Discourse of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ,

in The Gospel of John 15/9-14)


traveling ON THE road to yoga with the love of CHRIST



with  Impermanence  :

The Rhythm of the Universe


Graceful Grateful Peaceful Playful laughter

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