By Swami Harshananda
layayoga (‘yoga of dissolution [of the mind in Brahman]’)
Out of the several systems of yoga mentioned in the works on yoga, Layayoga also is one.
Laya or dissolution of the individual consciousness is achieved when prakṛti (Mother Nature, same as the Kuṇḍalini)
is taken up from the mulādhāracakra (the lowest plexus), step by step, right up to the sahasrāra (the ‘thousand-petalled lotus’) where it is merged in Puruṣa or Brahman. This is called ‘Layayoga’.
According to some works on yoga like the Mandalabrāhmana Upanisad (5.1-5), Layayoga comprises nine steps: yama (restraint), niyama (culture), sthulakriyā (gross practices like the āsanas), sukṣma kriyā (subtle practices like prāṇāyāma), pratyāhāra (withdrawal of senses), dhāraṇā (fixed attention), dhyāna (meditation), layakriyā (act of dissolution of the mind into Brahman) and samādhi or mahālaya (final dissolution resulting in the losing of one’s personality into that of Brahman).
Mokṣa or liberation from transmigra-tory existence results from this.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore
Layayoga This is another name for Kuṇḍalinī- yoga.