People search the internet to explore the term “levels of yoga.” I suspect that they may be exploring what it means to be a beginner, intermediate or advanced levels. I suspect that the levels of yoga relate to the degree of difficulty related to the asanas or poses.

In this article I would like to explore the levels of yoga from a different perspective.  These are four levels that are the real journey of yoga that take you into living a life of purpose, passion, peace, and prosperity.

Levels of Yoga Menu

In the Western world the key focus of Yoga is on the physical level. This is the focus on fitness and flexibility. However, if fitness is your key intention, then as many yoga teachers know there are better programs that facilitate fitness than yoga.

Yoga, however, is the complete program for the attainment of fulfilment by way to peace, prosperity, and purpose.

The reason I have created this website htpps://yogajourneyforlife.com is to make you aware of the full potential within yoga that is also within yourself and that you are here to fulfil and have joy within such fulfilment.

So, let’s explore the deeper invitation by taking the journey of yoga through the four levels of understanding and revelation as shared above.

Before we start exploring the four different yoga levels let me share with you the meaning of yoga as it is shared throughout this website.

Meaning of Yoga

levels of yoga meaning

Yoga is the Journey from the self to the Self through the self – Patanjali

The word ‘yoga’ means union. The practice of yoga is intended to take you into the experience of unity within that then expresses without.

This is more than fitness. It is the unfolding of your fitness to be the unique expression of Love you are created to be.

Your purpose is to serve Love’s purpose – Guy Finley – Spiritual Teacher.

Yoga is the science and practice of unfolding peace, prosperity and living from alignment with Presence. This gives you alignment with the Source of all Creation. This alignment is the felt at-one-ment with Divine Intention.

This is the gold standard of yoga practice. This is the standard that the Sages of India intended for you to enjoy.

Most yoga teachings in the West are simply programs that keep you comfortable in living a life from the continued identification with the separate personal self.

It is this identification with the separate sense of the personal self that creates most of the unnecessary suffering in your life and in the world.

It is this sense of the separate personal self that tries to solve the problems it creates which can’t be done.

A problem cannot be solved at the same level of consciousness that created it – Albert Einstein.

Yoga is the journey of revelation that takes you beyond this over identification with the personal sense of self and reveals to you the truth of who and why you are.

This has been given different names by mystics from different traditions.

  • The False Self – Thomas Merton –
  • The Impersonal Self – Joseph Brenner – Mystic
  • The Ego – The Ever Grasping One
  • The Flesh – St. Paul

Only with this KNOWING are you fulfilled because you become a channel for the outpouring of Divine Intention.

This journey begins for many people who have an interest in yoga at the level of the physical.

For the majority of people this is where they stay at least for a while. For a number there will be those who by way of the physical practices of Yoga begin to open to something other.

This may not be their intention, but it happens. This happened to me when I practice Hatha Yoga many years ago and had the experience of revelation from which this article is written.

The reason is because with Yoga practice you work with what the Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957) called “body armour.” This is the armour you unconsciously protect your self with from having to feel feeling that you have denied and needed to deny.

Most yoga schools and teachers never touch on the impact that the postures and asanas have on the awakening of what can be called the emotional body or what the modern mystic Eckhart Tolle writing in The Power of NOW calls the pain body.

At the level of the physical there are different levels of asanas or postures. Over time and it is usually a short time (2 years) many people lose interest in practicing these postures. They get bored with the same old yoga sequence.

To use a metaphor used by different spiritual teachers they remain in the basement while unaware that they are living in a Palace.

Most yoga studios are focused on improving your basement living experience. Soon you will go elsewhere and explore another improved basement living program.

To continue the metaphor this website has as its intention the invitation to leaving the basement and exploring the Palace.

Yoga Level 1 – Physical – Lead

levels of yoga physical

The body is your temple. Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in. ― B.K.S Iyengar

The journey of yoga in mythological language is the process of turning lead into gold. In order to do this, you need the philosopher’s stone. This is your body.

Transformation is not away from the body but through the body – Eckhart Tolle – The Power of NOW

The early pioneers of yoga recognized that the body is the temple of the spirit. This emphasis on the body is a Western focus because it is the body that we are most identified with.

When yoga was first introduced to the West the focus was on that aspect of yoga called Hatha Yoga. This has remained the key focus of Yoga as taught in the Western world.

However, the word “Hatha” in Sanskrit means the union of the Sun (Ha) and moon (tha).

This points to the unification of the masculine and feminine energies within the body.  Most Western yoga studios do not advertise a program of such unification. This unification is the experience of the inner mystical marriage as taught in the journey of esoteric Christianity.

Hatha yoga in the West usually has no focus on preparing the body for the higher energies of spiritual yoga. It has become a program of practice to accrue benefits of fitness and flexibility.

In that sense there is no focus on the spiritual journey of turning the lead of the separate sense of the personal self into the gold of the Impersonal Self that gives purpose, peace, and true prosperity.

This does not mean that the practice of Hatha Yoga will not open you to the experience of union.

It opened me to that experience but then I was seeking that experience of union.  I was seeking to KNOW what it was to Love. I had the longing to connect and speak the truth.

Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them, “love me”
of course you do not do this out loud,
otherwise someone would call the cops.

Still though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect.

why not become the one who lives with a full moon in each eye
that is always saying,
with that sweet moon language,
What every other eye in this world is dying to hear?

Hafiz of Shiraz – Mystic poet

The practice of some style of yoga such as Hatha, Flow, Power, or other style can be a beginning to awakening the desire for liberation from the suffering of the separate sense of self.

This can be the key to opening the door to the higher states of awareness that bring purpose, peace, and true prosperity.

Yoga Level 2 – Psychological – Bronze

levels of yoga 2

When everything is upside down in life; Don’t worry take a deep breath. The Almighty is busy remaking the best for your life. ― I’m salmiah

Beyond the yoga level focused on fitness and flexibility is the psychological level. Most yoga schools never touch this level.

The aspect of Yoga teaching in the West focused on the physiological level is referred to as Yoga Therapy.

This is where you consciously focus on the integration of the personality. You consciously create a healthy ego structure.

The science of yoga comes from the teachings by the Indian sage Patanjali who wrote The Sutra’s of Patanjali.  Sutras are short sayings. Patanjali spoke of the journey of yoga in this way.

The journey of yoga is from the self to the Self through the self – Patanjali

The ‘self’ with a small ‘s’ refers to the ego or the separate sense of personal self that you and 99.9% of people take to be their true self.

The ‘Self’ with the capital ‘s’ refers to the Divine or what I refer to as Divine Intention.

The whole purpose of yoga is to take you into the direct experience of union with the Divine. This is what will truly fulfil you and bring you peace, purpose and prosperity arising from unity with Presence.

The journey to this Divine union is through the ego or personal sense of self. This development of the ego is what the mystic Richard Rohr calls “The first stage of Life.”

The 1st stage of life is that stage where you learn to integrate your mind, emotions and personal will. In Yoga this is the integration of the lower three chakras.

Most people are not trained in this journey of integration. Most people are unaware of the need for such integration.

The first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego, the second half is going inward and letting go of it. – Carl Gustav Jung – Swiss analytical psychologist – 1875-1961

The journey of Yoga beyond the limited focus on physical fitness and flexibility does recognize this stage. It is necessary to develop psychologically in order to advance spiritually and beyond.

This 2nd level of yoga is recognized by teachers such as Mark Walsh presenter of The Embodiment podcast and also by the founder of ParaYoga® Rod Stryker and writer of The Four Desires – Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity and Freedom.

Yoga Level 3 – Spiritual – Silver

levels of yoga spiritual

The body benefits from movement, and the mind benefits from stillness.– Sakyong Mipham

The yoga level referred to as spiritual is where you begin to become the witness to the antics of the ego mind that is your ending overthinking.

This is the level of yoga where you begin to practice meditation (known in the Christian tradition as contemplation).

It is also this level at which you begin to establish a life of prayer.  This is not prayer as understood by most religious traditions. This is prayer as a state of allowing.

The modern mystic and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle says

The beginning of spirituality is the recognition that you are not your thoughts but the awareness beyond thinking. – Eckhart Tolle – Stillness Speaks.

Both Eckhart Tolle (Stillness Speaks) and Michael Singer (The Untethered Soul – Chapter 1) refer to the overthinking personal mind as “The voice in the head.”

You’re not the voice inside your head, you’re the one who observes the voice inside your head – Michael Singer

When you are identified with this never-ending inner dialogue you are locked out of hearing that deeper KNOWING called The Still Small Voice Within.

Another definition of Yoga from the sage Patanjali says that yoga practice is the modification of the mind. This is the practice of modifying your identification with the personal mind to the allowing of the transpersonal mind.

I call this allowing “Being thought through.”

Rather than have your energy focused on trying to solve the very problem that your personal mind has created you learn to practice allowing the personal mind to be still and KNOW the deeper experience of ONE MIND.

The yoga level referred to as spiritual takes you into the practice of meditation, contemplation, or prayer. This is prayer as the practice of silent allowing where you allow the intention of the Divine to manifest through you.

Yoga Level 4 – Mystical – Gold

levels of yoga mystical

When the higher flows into the lower the lower is transformed by the lower – Meister Eckhart – German mystic and Theologian – 1260-1328

In terms of levels of yoga this is the gold standard. This is where you as a mystic KNOW what it is to live in union with the Divine. A mystic is someone who has had a direct encounter with God.

The Master Jesus describe this experience of unity or yoga when he declares

At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. – John 14:20

Notice that the Master states “ye shall KNOW.”  He isn’t saying that on that day of union you will believe.

When you KNOW the experience of union of the personal “I am” with the Universal “I AM” you go beyond belief.

Why believe when you KNOW – Carl Gustav Jung

At this yoga level you have come home.  You are the union of the personal self and the True SELF. Your life flows from the fulness of Divine Intention.

In the words of the Master Jesus Christ, you now have all things added unto you. You now KNOW what it is to live a prosperous, purposeful, and peaceful life.

As you have journeyed through these four yoga levels you are being made fit for the revelation of Love’s Message (Awakening the Heart – 21 Ways to Follow Love’s Message) as it is intended to be expressed through you.

The question for anyone who begins the practice of yoga is this. “Are you willing to become that magnificent?” Are you willing to Companion the Greatness (W. B. Yeats) that is seeded within you from beyond the beginning of time?

Are you willing to take the journey through these different levels of yoga to that unfolding where you realise that you are blessed and can bless? This is what it means to be a true yogi or yogini?

4 Yoga Levels Summary

yoga levels summary

Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind – Patanjali

This yoga levels exploration invites awareness of the journey of yoga beyond the focus on fitness and flexibility.

This exploration invites you into the challenging journey that is turning lead into gold.

This is where you prepare the body for the revelation of LOVE. You are in training for the fitness of Love to be embodied through you. This is where the higher flows into the lower and transforms the lower. (Meister Eckhart)

4 Levels of Yoga

  1. The Physical – Lead.
  2. The Psychological – Bronze
  3. The Spiritual – Silver.
  4. The Mystical – Gold.

The first two levels are focused on the development of the personality and the ego. Levels 3 and 4 focus on the surrender of the personality to the flow of Divine Intention.

This is where the magic begins to happen. You become a happening. Your life begins to flow to the degree you are prepared to have faith in allowing your magnificence to unfold as intended by Divine Intention.

Level 1 of this four-stage journey is where most people begin and remain and more often than not leave. They have the key to the door of revelation, but it is focused on achieving a result within the limitation of time and space that is fitness of the body.

This dimension of time and space I refer to as basement living. This exploration of yoga levels I hope invites you to be aware that yoga is so much more.

You have the key to what the Chinese sage Chuang Tzu called The Palace of Nowhere which is the Palace of NOW HERE and the Palace of realising your full potential.

Come with me to the palace of nowhere, where all the many things are one. – Chuang Tzu (370-287 BC)

The higher levels of yoga show you how you have allowed the servant of the personal mind to run riot in the Palace of your Sovereign SELF. Your awareness of your sovereign sense of SELF (the REAL YOU) has left the building.

To attain liberation and freedom you are required to reclaim the KNOWING of your Sovereignty.  This is the journey through these four levels of yoga.