The Yoga Chakra or Wheel of Yoga consists of six branches of yoga.
Paramahamsa Sri Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati
Hatha, raja and kriya yoga are the external practices and disciplines, the bahiranga yoga.
Karma, jnana and bhakti yoga are the inner yoga, the antaranga yoga.
The wheel of Satyananda Yoga - Bihar Yoga
The Government of India recognizes four yoga institutions in the country: the Bihar School of Yoga, Sivananda Ashram, Vivekananda Kendra, and Kaivalyadhama.
The classical systems in Bihar Yoga are hatha yoga, raja yoga and kriya yoga as identified and taught by our guru, Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati. The sub-yogas which complement the attainments of hatha yoga, raja yoga and kriya yoga, are karma yoga, jnana yoga, and bhakti yoga. They are also supported by other yogas such as mantra yoga, nada yoga, laya yoga and kundalini yoga, along with yajnas, which regulate ligestyle and connect you with the cosmic forces that surround you.
"When you put the two halves of the chakra toggether, then the understanding of the yoga that we practise in the Satyananda Yoga-Bihar Yoga tradition becomes complete. That is the Wheel of Yoga"
"In the Eight Limbs of Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali Maharshi you have the Bahiranga and Antaranga Sadhana. Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama and Pratyahara are the Bahiranga Sadhana. While Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are the Antaranga Sadhana. ~Sri Swami Sivananda"
When Sri Swamiji Satyananda established the Bihar School of Yoga, he developed a system of outer and inner yoga. The external yoga is known as bahiranga yoga, and the internal yoga as antaranga yoga.
Outer Yoga - Inner Yoga
External yoga is done to improve the quality of the body and mind, and the expression of the senses and behaviour. It is the effort that one makes. Internal yoga is the attitude that one cultivates and the change one brings into one's ideas and perceptions. This change is based on one's experience, understanding and one's own practice.
In the outer expression of yoga one is preparing, reconditioning and fine-tuning oneself. Once the outer expression has been managed, discipline of the body and mind has been attained, and once the emotions have been harmonized through a series of sustained practices, the mind experiences a new understanding.
With this new understanding one begins to live a harmonious, peaceful and creative life. The moment this happens, one's inner self becomes soft. It begins to experience a change in its radical behaviour in the realm of the senses and realizes its pure nature in the realm of the spirit.
The outer yoga allows one to attain the discipline of the koshas and to move from the physical to the mental and then to the spiritual dimension.
Bahiranga is the concept of external consciousness.
Sri Swami Satyananda defined these three as Bahiranga Yogas:
hatha yoga for body and prana, raja yoga for mind, and kriya yoga to go through the various awakenings in one's own consciousness – to experience ultimately the luminosity of the self from consciousness to spirit.
Hatha yoga is for annamaya kosha and pranamaya kosha. Raja yoga is for manomaya kosha, and Kriya yoga for vijnanamaya and anandamaya kosha.
These three yogas constitute the discipline which transforms human nature, the human personality and the human identity. Even if one lives these three yogas without thinking about jnana, karma or bhakti yoga, if one lives these three yogas in one's home and day-to-day life, it is enough. The appropriate, correct and sustained practice is enough. Hatha yoga, raja yoga and kriya yoga take one from point A to point E, from annamaya to anandamaya.
Bahiranga is a Sanskrit term meaning “external,” “outer” or “outside.”
Bahiranga yoga, therefore, refers to external yoga or the outer path. It is typically associated with the first five limbs of the Eight Limbs of Yoga.
The five Bahiranga yoga practises:
The five yamas, or personal virtues – ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truthfulness), asteya (not stealing), brahmacharya (self-discipline and self-denial) and aparigraha (non-possessiveness).
The five niyamas, or codes of behavior – shaucha (purity of mind and body), santosha (contentment), tapas (self-discipline), svadhyaya (self-study) and ishvara pranidhana (devotion to a higher source).
The asanas, or postures that Westerners most often associate with yoga practice. They strengthen and discipline the body and the mind.
Pranayama, or breathing exercises, rejuvenates the body and mind by sending the life force energy where needed.
Pratyahara, it is the transition between the external and inner practices. Pratyahara is the transcending or withdrawal of the senses. In this practice, the yogi observes the external world objectively to enhance his/her inner growth.
Antaranga is the concept of internal consciousness, which the yogi experiences the state of mind where there are no thoughts or external sensory perceptions.
Karma Yoga is the first aspect of antaranga yoga. Karma yoga is not just working without expectation as defined in the scriptures. Karma yoga is one's involvement to create a beautiful effect in one's life. Karma yoga is a process of cultivating the garden of life and a yogi is always a gardener. People say a yogi is a warrior. Movies have come out such as 'Spiritual Warrior'. That is not the correct idea, for after all a warrior attains victory after a lot of death, destruction and spilling of blood. In that victory there is no happiness and no peace.
A gardener who can work the barren piece of land and convert it into a most beautiful garden is the person who succeeds in life. Therefore, I suggest, "Don't try to become a warrior and fight with yourself; try to become a gardener and plant the seeds of good intention, good samskara, good thought and good behaviour in your life." Ultimately this will carry one through on the road of success, peace and prosperity. If one is not able to cultivate the positive in life, the negative will pull one back. The positive propels one forward, the negative holds one back. It restricts the onward journey.
The concept of karma yoga according to yoga is that one's expressions have to be harmonious. One's expression, performance and action have to lead one to the attainment of success, peace and prosperity. Actions can take one to prosperity, yet if there is no peace one will not be satisfied even in prosperity. Actions should lead one to prosperity and peace, together and at the same time. If one is only seeking prosperity in life and not peace, one will always have tension. If one is only seeking peace in life, there won't be enough in the pocket. It is as simple as that.
There has to be balance, and karma yoga allows one to achieve this balance. Right performance gives one 'wisdom full' action. Prosperity and peace are attained through action and that is the idea of karma yoga.
The second component of antaranga yoga is jnana yoga. It should not be seen from a philosophical perspective, asking oneself the question, 'Who am I?' Jnana yoga should be understood in practical terms.
The best quality one should cultivate in this life is understanding. Not love, not sympathy, not cooperation, only understanding, samajh. With understanding there can be no problem between two people. It is lack of understanding which creates problems: I do not understand you, you do not understand me, we come to loggerheads. However, if I understand you and you understand me, there is cooperation, sympathy, closeness and strength.
Therefore in the beginning, one should not search for love, compassion or kindness, but for a better understanding of oneself and other people. Then through understanding one can connect to help others in an appropriate manner. That is jnana yoga.
People think jnana is knowledge of the divine, the transcendental. According to yoga, jnana is the knowledge that uplifts. Every kind of knowledge uplifts a person. After all, when one becomes an engineer, a doctor, a professional person, then it is that knowledge which helps one to excel and succeed in life. If one did not have that knowledge, one would not excel or succeed. Just as material knowledge becomes the means to prosperity for a human being, in the same manner spiritual knowledge becomes the means to develop a better personality, character and nature.
This has been the statement of the gurus of every tradition throughout the ages: try to develop understanding, try to develop your role in life and try to connect with other people.
Sri Swamiji's mahasamadhi indicates the jnana aspect. With jnana, which is uplifting for everyone, one becomes selfless. In ajnana, ignorance, one is selfish, whereas in jnana there is no other choice but to become selfless, if not one hundred percent at least one percent. With jnana one has no choice but to extend a helping hand to somebody in need. In ajnana one can withdraw that hand and not bother about the other person, however samajh, understanding and wisdom will always ensure that one extends a hand. One does not put one's hands behind the back.
That is the concept of jnana yoga, not the question, 'Who am I?'
The third expressive aspect of antaranga yoga is bhakti yoga. People think bhakti yoga is the yoga of devotion, but it is the yoga of emotional management. Emotions are connected with the world, yet when the same emotions are connected with the inner self they are identified as and become bhakti. When one sees a person whom one likes there is the experience of passion. When one sees a child one experiences love and affection. When one sees a bag of money lying on the ground one experiences greed. These emotions arise due to the senses connecting with a sense object. Between the money bag and greed there is a connection of the sense with that sense object. A beautiful girl is sitting there and passion is felt. There is connection. My adversary is sitting there, there is connection, animosity is felt. With connection an emotion comes to the surface, yet without connection that emotion becomes redundant and has no meaning.
For an emotion to have meaning, connection is important. Whether it be greed, envy, jealousy, hatred, compassion, love, sympathy or anything else. Without connection no emotion can rise. These emotional connections are flowing outwards. When the same emotion flows in, and seeks to discover one's peaceful self, that is known as bhakti.
Bhakti yoga is not the yoga of devotion. Only devotion is bhakti. Going to the temple is bhakti, however bhakti yoga is the discovery of the pure emotional sentiment within. The pure sentiment within connects one with one's transcendental self and transcendental nature. When one is connected with the transcendental nature one's sentiments are not limited to oneself only, they touch each and every person.
When that pure sentiment touches people all around, others will say, "Oh, in the presence of that person I felt shanti, peace, in the presence of that person I experienced love, in the presence of that person I experienced quietness."
People express such sentiments from time to time when they encounter people they consider different or special. When emotion is purified, it connects one with everyone and that is known as atmabhava. The real bhakti and aim of bhakti yoga is atmabhava, the ability to see oneself in other people.
If atmabhava can be applied to everybody and one is able to look after and care for the other person with the same intensity and in the same manner that one would look after one's own son, that is pure emotion. This pure, selfless emotion is bhakti yoga. The apex of bhakti yoga is atmabhava, to see one's reflection in each and everyone. If one sees one's reflection in each person then one cares for each person. If one does not see one's reflection in the other person then one does not bother about that person.
When atmabhava is cultivated, the suffering of other people reduces, for one looks after strangers as if they were one's family. This bhakti, this atmabhava comes with love and sacrifice.
Once this sanyam which is external, physical, psychological and emotional has been attained in one's life, the behaviour of the mind changes.
Then the natural attitude becomes purer and untainted.
That natural expression of one's INNER, enlightened behaviour is known as bhakti yoga, jnana yoga and karma yoga.
Therefore one has to identify with the naturalness of yoga and the naturalness of life.
Antaranga is a Sanskrit term meaning “internal,” “inner” or “inside.” Antaranga yoga, therefore, refers to the inner path. It is typically associated with the last three limbs of the Eight Limbs of Yoga.
The three Antaranga yoga practices are:
Dharana (concentration) involves removing the distractions of the mind by concentrating on a single focus, which can be one of the chakras, an image, a deity, a silent bija mantra or an object.
Dhyana (meditation) is a state of deep meditative in which the mind has been quieted, but is aware without producing thoughts. In dhyana, the yogi is free from distractions.
Samadhi (unity) is the experience of transcending the self and obtaining unity with the true inner self. In a state of samadhi, the yogi experiences no separation between the individual and universal Consciousness. It is a state of absolute bliss and is the ultimate goal of yoga.