Yoga is so much more than some physical activities to help us stay fit. Contrary to the popular conception about Yoga, it can in totality be defined as a wide range of spiritual practices to accelerate the evolutionary process of the soul.
To explain it in a nutshell, Yoga is basically a Sanskrit word meaning “to yoke,” “to join” or “to unite.” In esoteric sciences this union refers to the union of the incarnated soul with the higher soul. The incarnated soul is known by different names in different cultures. The incarnated soul is called the individual self (general term), the Holy Spirit (Christianity), the Jivatma (Hinduism) and the Personality (Theosophy terminology). The higher soul refers to the divine, the universal spirit or the cosmic consciousness (general terms), I AM (Christianity), the Atma (Hinduism) and the Ego (Theosophy terminology).
Teachings of various esoteric schools believe that a human being is a soul with various vehicles including physical, emotional and mental bodies. A human being can be compared to an inverted tree with its roots upward, rooted to the higher soul and ultimately to God, according to teachings and practices of Kaballah, Hinduism as well as in the art crafts of Indonesia and Persia.
According to Master Choa Kok Sui, this Union can Happen in Several Stages
The First Stage is the realization by the person that he is the soul occupying various bodies; a spiritual being of divine light, love and power. This realization is however still in the intellectual level. The first stage happens when one realizes that he is not his physical body, not his emotions, nor his thoughts; the emotions and the thoughts are only products of the soul.
The Second Stage in this case happens when one experiences himself as the soul, during meditation or any other spiritual practice, not being able to feel his physical body. The spiritual practitioner may have an out-of-body experience where the soul uses the other subtle bodies and is able to travel faster than the speed of light. He further might experience the nature of the soul as a being of light, traveling in all directions.
In The Third Stage the yogi, as the incarnated soul, may have the experience of being united with the higher soul. He may further experience oneness with other souls, including other human souls, animals, nature and etc.
Last stage is the experience of oneness with God, where the spiritual practitioner experiences oneness with God and oneness with all. Such soul can be literally called a God-realized person.
The Spiritual Cord
The Spiritual Cord or the Antahkarana plays a very important role in the union of the incarnated soul and the higher soul. The extent of realization or union depends on the size of the spiritual connection which is in fact known as the Spiritual Cord. The thicker the Spiritual Cord, the more control the higher soul gains over the mind and the emotions. The weaknesses and unwholesome actions and behaviors can basically be attributed to less soul connection. Less soul connection happens when the higher soul loses control over the incarnated soul and its vehicles.
Yoga, a holistic spiritual practice requires a strong and pure character in order to achieve the desired results. Character building is thus an important part of Yoga and oneness cannot be achieved with the Higher soul while still being enslaved by lower thoughts and emotions.
Different branches of Yoga include Hatha Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga, Arhatic Yoga, Kundalini Yoga and Tantra Yoga. Spiritual evolution of the soul and union with the Higher soul can be achieve through the different schools of Yoga. Arhatic Yoga, developed by Master Choa Kok Sui is a combination and amalgamation of different schools of Yoga and can be practiced by people across all walks of life and various backgrounds.
Source: The Origin of Modern Pranic Healing and Arhatic Yoga by Master Choa Kok Sui