Yoga Is the Union of What 3 Things Understanding Yoga Union Practices

Yoga Is the Union of What 3 Things? — Understanding Yoga Union Practice

Yoga is the union of what 3 things?  Understanding the threefold path to union is the key.  The practice of Yoga Asana is widely accepted as a form of exercise, but this is only one aspect of Yoga.  To get the most out of Yoga, you must know how to achieve yoga union for balance and integration.

Yoga is Sanskrit from Yuj, which means to join or to yoke or to unite.  Today, the movements of Yoga Asana are a universally accepted form of exercise.  But it is just one of the eight components that make up this system.

What is The Threefold Path to Union?

There are three elements on the path of Yoga:

— Karma (behavior) relates to the body
— Jnana (knowledge) associated with the mind
— Bhakti (devotion) links to the spirit

The Bhagavad Gita (1) outlines these three in a conversation between Krishna and Arjuna.  Arjuna was confronted by an impending battle involving relatives on both sides.  Who will he fight for?  Krishna explains knowledge and action to Arjuna.  Arjuna must learn to control his mind and emotions.  But, his Ego clouds his judgment and prevents him from finding the right solution.  Krisha tells Arjuna that his senses and emotions must not control him.  Instead, they must act with a clear and focused mind.  Arjuna must learn how to achieve Yoga union and balance.

Yoga is the Union of What 3 things?

The practice of Yoga Asana is popular.  But the focus on the postures misconstrues their true purpose.  Yoga Asana is one of the eight parts of a holistic approach to integration.

There is no doubt.  The practice of Yoga Asana has health benefits.  The postures and movements are a combination of flexibility, strength, and stamina.   These postures range from gentle to vigorous and challenging poses.  But when we take them out of context, we miss the true benefit of their link to the internal practice.  That’s where the concept of the Yoga trinity can help us regain balance.

The trinity of Yoga’s union comes from Vedic tradition.  This is the concept of Supreme Reality.  It is expressed as Brahma, the creator, Vishnu, the sustainer, and Shiva, the destroyer.  It has roots in Karmic philosophy.   Each energy has a specific task.  This is the soul aspect of Yoga.  It’s the key to understanding Yoga union practice.  Almost every one of the eight limbs of Yoga affects the spiritual or soul when done correctly.

This trinity is an analogy for understanding the nature of creation.  It predates the concept of the trinity in Western religion.  This idea suggests that God manifests in three ways: God, the Son, and the holy spirit.

Understanding the Threefold Path to Union

understanding the threefold path to union how to achieve yoga union for balance

Patanjali is the historical authority on Yoga.  He was born in India in 200 BCE.  The elements of Yoga existed long before Patanjali put them together.  His genius was to combine the knowledge from Vedic tradition in a new way.  This system he called the Tree of Knowledge.   In his work, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, he describes the potential outcomes of using the eight limbs of Yoga.

Unfortunately, his work does not provide the details about how to apply these formulas or reach the goals he says are possible.  Some speculate that this formation was omitted to retain the secrets of the system.  Who knows?  Because of this gap, there are several interpretations of how to use his sutras.

The purpose of these sutras is not to gain supernatural powers.  The goal of the Yoga Siddhis is to integrate and harmonize all aspects of our Being.  That’s the true benefit of Yoga.

The spiritual origins of Yoga tell us we can only achieve fulfillment when there is harmony of body, mind, and soul.  There isn’t another way.  When everything is in balance, the Ego does not overpower the Observer.  The mind and Ego become the tools of consciousness rather than the rulers of perception.  We can live life fully present.

How to Achieve Yoga Union for Balance and Integration

“Yoga is the union of what 3 things?  Yoga means union.  The goal of Yoga union practice is the integration and harmonization of body, mind, and spirit.

Today, people use the term Yoga interchangeably with other forms of physical exercise.  It has become something you add to your exercise routine.  It is much more than exercise; it is a practice to harmonize and integrate all aspects of our Being.

There is nothing wrong with exercise.  We need proper exercise to maintain a healthy body and mind.  But Yoga is more than exercise; it is a preparatory element of spiritual practice.  If you treat Yoga like exercise or a form of gymnastics, you miss the real goal of the system, and instead of promoting union, you are creating division.

If you want to know how to achieve Yoga union and balance, you must practice all eight limbs of the tree of Yoga.   You must balance time and effect between all elements.

When taken out of context, you reinforce the illusion between the Observer and the instrument of observation.  Understanding the threefold path to Yoga union for balance in and integration is the key to growth.” — Guru Tua

Understanding Yoga Union Practice

Below are the key terms to help you understand this system.  They are the key ingredients of Yoga you can use to create a holistic platform of personal and spiritual development:

— Yama = external discipline
— Niyama = internal discipline
— Âsana = posture
— Prâñâyâma = breath regulation
— Pratyâhâra = withdrawal of the senses
— Dhârañâ = concentration
— Dhyana = meditative absorption
— Samâdhayaï = oneness, integration

The order above is consistent with their presentation in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, but we recommend you start with the last one, Samadhi.  It will help you put things in perspective.  Samadhi is the transcendent, the ultimate unifying field of awareness.  This aspect of Yoga is the union of what completes us.   Want to be complete?  Learn to meditate!

Samādhi is the heart or trunk of the eight limbs of Yoga, and you can reach this unique partition of awareness using the right meditative process.  This unique partition of awareness has several names.  Some call it pure consciousness, bliss consciousness, or the 4th state.  Others call it transcendental awareness or the ground state.

We reach this state with a meditation technique that uses a mantra to transcend the active mind.  We recommend a meditation method called Japa, which is the generic name for the process.  Maharishi Mahesh Yogi calls it Transcendental Meditation (TM) (2).  He used the terms transcendental mediation and bliss consciousness to describe transcendental awareness.

Yoga Union For Balance The Trinity of Yoga’s Union

the trinity of yoga's union

Understanding the threefold path to union as a balance of the eight limbs is essential.  These eight limbs are part of a whole; each one of the elements is a part of a holistic approach.  Remember, Yoga is the union of what 3 things?  It is the union of the soul with the body and mind.

Don’t overemphasize the physical practice of Asana.  You must also include your mind and soul in your practice in order to grow and reach your full potential.  Enhance your critical thinking and observational skills.  Develop the memory by creating a memory palace.  These tools will strengthen your mind.  Meditation is the key to developing a connection with your soul.

1.  Yama:

Yama refers to ethical thinking and actions.  You should be truthful and authentic.  But you must refrain from becoming violent even when you are angry.  You should be loyal and honor commitments.  You should not be possessive and allow those you love to have autonomy.

These attributes should be the basis of your moral code.  The actions we support and conduct reflect the trinity of Yoga’s union in our lives.  When our thinking and actions don’t reflect these values, we know we have an imbalance to correct.

— Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): Nonviolence
— Satya (सत्य): truthfulness, and authenticity
— Asteya (अस्तेय): Not stealing, controlling envy
— Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य): marital fidelity or preoccupation with instinctual passions
— Aparigraha (अपरिग्रहः): non-avarice, non-possessiveness.

2.  Niyama:

Niyama refers to five key internal practices.  These are the things you should do every day in order to cultivate a healthy mindset and balance between Ego and Observer.

— Self-Purification (Shaucha)
— Contentment and Self-Acceptance (Santosha)
— Self-Discipline (Tapas)
— The Study of Self (Svadhyaya)
— Self-Surrender (Ishvara Pranidhana)

To purify means to do those things which optimize health and durability.  It deals with eating, exercising, and taking care of your mental well-being.  Someone with a healthy mindset reflects the virtues of the spirit in their lives.  Self-discipline is living with positive intent and being fully present.

Self-study involves exploring your divinity.  Here, one must be careful not to mistake religious mythology and superstition for facts.  It’s prudent to study the stories of enlightened beings as they contain messages of wisdom.  The stories of the great sages, from Buddha to Jesus, contain one common message.  They achieved enlightenment by walking alone.  Most found enlightenment by meditating in the wilderness.  They did not follow a religion.  They created their own paths.

Self-surrender is the process of de-cluttering the mind.  It means minimizing our attachments in order to find value in the simple things in life.

There are several tools to help you explore yourself.  There are methods to enhance self-observation and expand awareness.  You accept yourself when you embrace the concept of surrender.  When we surrender, we can change and overcome roadblocks to our development.  This is the path we call spiritual exploration.

Yama and Niyama are the components of the Yoga Sutras, which provide preparatory steps that enable you to apply the Sutras.

3.  Asana:

It is the term most people associate with physical yoga postures.  Today, many mistranslate two key terms used by Patanjali; one of these is the word Asana.  Patanjali uses Asana to describe “presence.”  The second term often mistranslated is the word “seat.” Here, the word seat refers not to physically sitting but to “being established.” So, a seated asana means to be present and grounded.

The creation of modern yoga postures didn’t occur until much later.  So, the practice of Yoga Asana is the practice of being present.  Being present is an essential element in all forms of seated and moving meditation.  It’s also more akin to the practice of Kundalini Yoga.  Here, one activates a type of energy, Chi, or Ki, to feel “presence” flowing up through us.

4.  Pranayama:

Pranayama includes all forms of breathing exercises.  These techniques have a range of effects on the body and our consciousness.

On one side of the continuum are methods that produce subtle effects.  On the other side of the continuum, you find powerful techniques that create altered, hypnotic, and higher states of awareness.  Most people are familiar with changing waking consciousness via chemical stimuli like alcohol.  Here, one learns to alter awareness using the breath.

5.  Pratyahara:

The literal translation of this is “withdrawal of the senses.” But it’s much more than that.  It involves the progressive use of Mantra and Sutra.  Withdrawing from the senses is the first part.

Withdrawing from the senses refers to using a mantra to reach the transcendent state.  Then, while in this silent state, one introduces the proper Sutra.   Using the Sutra will return an immediate experiential result.  This practice is known as Siddhis.

Patanjali refers to the Siddhis as extraordinary powers.  There are many schools of thought, as there are interpretations of these formulas.  Perhaps it’s the controversy that kindles so much interest.  There is no doubt about the historical and spiritual significance of Patnajli’s work.

6.  Dharana:

This involves engaging the mind’s analytical powers.  It is learning how to use reason and common sense.  Thinking without limits is the ideal of the freethinker.  It involves conscious mental techniques for expanding awareness.  It reinforces internal and external observational skills.  It shapes thinking through common sense and reason.  So, those who prefer the analytical approach find this one appealing.

Logic and common sense can be a doorway to the harmony of body, mind, and soul, so don’t overlook this aspect.  The study of critical thinking skills will help you make more sound choices.

It’s important to devote equal time to enhancing Dharana, which is the key to understanding Yoga union practice.  This is often the one element that people leave out of their practice.  This creates an imbalance that stunts growth.

7.  Dhyana:

Dhyana is a combination of Dharana, Pratyahara, and Samādhi.  It’s the fusion of the analytical mind and our transcendent awareness.  It melds the 4th state with the waking state, resulting in a separate partition of consciousness known as Witnessing.  Wow!

One achieves this state through regular Japa or TM meditation.  The state of bliss naturally attracts the mind’s awareness.  It is a natural progression to bring this quality into the waking state.  The resulting experience is “witnessing.”

In this state of consciousness, there is an expansion of the mind’s ability to perceive two realities simultaneously.  You have a conscious awareness of the body while observing from a different point outside the body.

8.  Samadhi:

Samadhi is the first building block of consciousness exploration.  Although it is the last of the eight limbs of Yoga, it is the foundation for all the other sutras.  Many Yoga teachers like Maharshi Mahesh Yogi tell us that understanding Yoga union practice begins with Samadhi.   It’s the 4th state of consciousness.

This partition of awareness is the first higher state of consciousness.  It upholds the default settings of waking, sleeping, and dreaming.  Some call it pure consciousness or bliss consciousness.

This partition of awareness remains hidden to the untrained mind.  We can reach it using the proper meditation technique.  Japa meditation is a proven method that opens awareness to the transcendent.  Japa is the generic name.  The more popular name is Transcendental Meditation or TM.

Samadhi is the primary tool for integrating our minds, bodies, and souls.  The 4th state is the springboard for reaching higher states of consciousness.  It is the state that is required to engage the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

Conclusion Understanding Yoga Union Practice

Posture is only one aspect of Yoga.  The postures are one of the eight limbs of Yoga that help us achieve harmony of body, mind, and soul.

If you think of Yoga only as exercise, you are missing out on many of the benefits.  Add all the Yoga elements, and it will transform your spiritual practice.  Find a Yoga practice that’s right for you.  You’ll be glad you did.

The eight elements of Yoga are a powerful path of consciousness development.  It opens the door to other higher and altered states.  Learn how to achieve Yoga union for balance, and it opens the Rainbow of Consciousness.


(1) The Bhagavad Gita, Wikipedia
(2) Transcendental Meditation,