This symbol was created by Joseph Le Page in 1993 to integrate the most fundamental concepts of Yoga into one symbol. The Integrative Yoga Symbol consists of the fusion of two other symbols: Trikaya, related to number three; and Panchadala, related to number five. These numbers are important in the Yoga tradition and in the Samkhya philosophy, which underlies Yoga psychology.
The fusion of these two symbols reflects the essential vision of Integrative Yoga.
Trikaya, the first symbol, means “three bodies.” It consists of a sphere divided into three parts, representing some of the important trilogies within Yoga philosophy.
- The Three Shariras – the three “bodies” or main aspects of the human being:
- Sthula Sharira – the physical body, including physiological systems & the five material elements;
- Sukshma Sharira – the energy body, including our subtle anatomy (chakras, prana vayus & nadis) as well as our thoughts and feelings;
- Karana Sharira – the causal body, including deep beliefs that are reflected in other bodies. These beliefs, or vasanas, are limiting when they reinforce the personality and freeing when they guide us toward recognition of our true Being.
- The Three Gunas – the three mental states:
- Rajas – state of activity, often associated with intense desire to do and succeed;
- Tamas – state of entropy, inertia often associated with lethargy and attachment to the senses;
- Sattva – state of balance, associated with clarity and purity as a reflection of our true Being.
- The Three Doshas – the three categories of the psycho-physical constitution of the human being, according to Ayurveda, the Indian medical system which, like Yoga, is based on Samkhya philosophy:
- Vata – comprised of air and space; its qualities are lightness, change and mobility;
- Pitta – comprised of fire and water; its qualities are warmth, luminosity and transformation;
- Kapha – comprised of earth and water; its qualities are density, stability and permanence.
Panchadala, the second symbol, means “five petals”. These five petals represent the five components of the main Yoga Systems or Models:
- The 5 Koshas Model – the five facets or dimensions of the human being:
- Annamayakosha – the physical body, including the five material elements and the physical systems;
- Pranamayakosha – the energy body, encompassing our subtle anatomy, including nadis, prana vayus and chakras;
- Manomayakosha – the psycho-emotional body, encompassing thoughts, feelings and emotions that make up the personality;
- Vijnanamayakosha – the wisdom body, the higher mind, buddhi, that allows for discernment between the personality and our true Being, leading to spiritual freedom;
- Anandamayakosha – the bliss body, encompassing all of the inherent positive qualities that manifest in meditation and in daily living, as natural reflections of our spiritual essence.
- The Five Elements – the five essential constituents of the material world, including the human body, and their qualities:
- Prithivi (Earth) – stability, density, solidity and immobility;
- Jala (Water) – flexibility, fluidity and adaptability;
- Tejas (Fire) – luminosity, energy and transformation;
- Vayu (Air) – lightness, mobility and openness;
- Akasha (Space) – expansion and limitlessness.
- The Five Pranavayus – the five main currents of prana that nourish vital functions:
- Prana – the upward current of energy, related to inhalation; nourishes the chest, cardio-respiratory & immune systems;
- Apana – the downward current of energy; related to exhalation; nourishes the pelvis, reproductive & eliminatory systems;
- Samana – the horizontal current of energy; expands on inhalation & retracts on exhalation; nourishes the solar plexus & the digestive system;
- Udana – the uppermost current of energy; rises on inhalation & circulates on exhalation; nourishes the neck, head, nervous & endocrine systems;
- Vyana – the all-pervading current of energy; expands on exhalation & contracts on inhalation; supports circulation from center to extremities beginning at a point just below the navel.
- The Five Kleshas – the five obstacles to mind-body-spirit integral health:
- Avidya – lack of self-knowledge;
- Asmita – identification with a concept of “I” as a separate self, embodied in the limited personality;
- Raga – likes, desires and attachments that bind us to the personality;
- Dvesha – dislikes and aversions that bind us to the idea that our surroundings are the source of suffering;
- Abhinivesha – existential fears that create doubt and confusion about our life’s meaning and culminate in the fear of death.
- The Eight Limbs of Yoga – the fusion of Panchadala and Trikaya represents Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga.
– Bahiranga – Outer Practice – The five petals of the Panchadala represent the first five limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras: yamas, niyamas, asana, pranayama and pratyahara.
– Antaranga – Inner Practice – The three sections of the Trikaya represent the last 3 limbs of Patanjali Yoga: dharana, dhyana and samadhi.