A individual training contains in its basis a «closed to itself loop» model. It allows one to achieve a one hundred percent ideal relationship between the training program and the needs of the practitioner, both in respect to structure and timing interrelations. It gives the best possibility to «work for oneself», achieve any individual narrowly specialized training purposes, develop one’s «poorly developed elements and weak qualities», harmonize one’s feelings, balance one’s consciousness, and realize the «know yourself» principle.
A group training contains in its basis an «looped to the Universe» open model. It allows one to understand various energy-based interconnections between different individualities. It enables the practitioner to work out different forms of interactions, reactions and social behaviors of people, while «working for everybody, including oneself» to achieve group purposes and mutual assistance, and realize the following principle: «know the world and your place in it».
An independent training by the definition means that the «leader» and the «follower» (student and master) are one and the same person. It implies that the practitioner must possess his own knowledge and experience sufficiently, in order to independently define the purpose of the training and make the correct choices among relevant methods and means in order to achieve the goals.
A guided training implies that the «leader»-master, using his knowledge and experience, determines the goal, the methods and the means of the practice for the «led pupil», who has no requisite practical experience and knowledge.
A training under a predefined program means that a goal is defined before it is started, and there is a definite algorithm for achieving this goal through specific methods and means. In this case such a program may be defined by both the master and the student himself.
Spontaneous training has no predefined program and is determined solely by the free choice of the practitioner at the present moment of time on the basis of spontaneous motivations.
There is a principal difference between these types of training. There is a number of arguments which ground pros and cons with respect to each, but, coming from the essence of Yoga, one can make a conclusion that these varieties of training are in addition to, rather than in lieu of each other, and each being necessary in its own fashion.
The drawbacks, as a rule, result from the incorrect application of a particular type of training to achieve a specific goal, rather than from the types of training by themselves. The goal and the methods for achieving it in the training must correspond to each other.
Consider a number of examples of such non-compliance.
1. The first example. There is a wide spread critical opinion that group training does not provide the possibility to achieve results which would conform 100% to the needs of each practitioner comprising the group, that in the group one cannot achieve deep peace or achieve the «dive» in contemplating practices, etc. And this is completely true, but the point is that the individual training exists to achieve the goals listed above. But the attempt to achieve them in a group is an example of the non-compatibility of the goal and the method for its achievement.
The main goal and principle of group training is the group psychic resonance, which allows the practitioner to achieve a great capacity of psychic-energy processes, which is considerably inferior in the individual training. The main intent of the group training is «energy feeding» and «energy pumping».
Such «energy feeding» and «energy pumping» do not mean that some people in the group «rob» somebody. Psychic exchange is fundamentally different from physical exchange. According to the laws of Newton physics, if something is added to something, then something is decreased by something. Under psychic laws, however, this situation is only true in the events of unconscious energy exchange. If it is conscious, then something may be added to something, without reducing anything else.
This means that every member of the group receives energy feeding without anybody being «robbed». This is due to the fact that first, the psychic-energy potential is increased due to resonance, and second, because everybody is feeding off each other. But the difference is that everyone is generous about giving off energy because they know the boundless «ocean of energy» can restore it. Also keep in mind that the «one who loves» will be bestowed with all the love that has been given off by the «ocean of energy».
And if somebody comes to class tired after a work day, the person who is feeling perfect that day undertakes the initiative in the course of group training, thus generating a powerful determined intent to achieve the goal in the united group field. In this situation the first person will be charged and use the drive of the second person, and as a result, will achieve more than if he/she trained independently, based on his/her tired state. The next day, they may switch roles. This is the model of unification, mutual assistance and practical love, which serves as the basis of all tantric techniques.
In psychic exchange, everything is conditional upon one’s attitude. The one who gives off energy without desiring to will definitely feel «robbed».
If he/she understands that in this world everything is based on the natural energy balance, he/she will not burden themself with egoistic thoughts, will not be afraid to give off energy, thus becoming a perfect conductor and, as a result, receiving much more.
For example, if parents do not wish to put out energy without keeping some for themselves, they feel that their kids have «robbed» them. But the reason for such parental discomfort is the lack of love they have for their children, and without understanding that, in fact, they and their children are one and the same. Some may deem it «hard to believe», but, in fact, all the people and all the things in this world are One.
Besides if a group has been «getting along» and every member of the group behaves in a sincere and open fashion, the group may produce such «miracles» which are simply inconceivable in independent training. In this event, all the drawbacks that are usually assigned to group training are completely absent. That means that the results of training, the level of peace, depth of contemplation practices, etc. considerably exceeds an individual’s maximum margin (which, with respect to the majority of people, is high only in their dreams and fantasies).
2. The second example involves the critical confidence of students with respect to teachers, and their attempts to self-affirm in the presence of the teacher. Such mistakes are based on the «feeling of personal greatness» and the inability to take off the «ego-crown». Here, coordination of the purpose and the method consists of determining the purpose in this actual situation. If a student is absolutely sure that he/she knows everything, and can’t even assume that in this world he/she may meet somebody knowing and capable of doing more than he/she, so he/she should train himself/herself and not encroach upon the teacher’s time!
If, one assumes that there is something that they do not know, this “something» may come through anybody and anything. And if somebody intends to learn it, do not «show off», learn to take off the «ego-crown», while taking guidance with gratitude.
Guided training implies conveying knowledge and experience from the master to the student. For this occurs naturally and easily, there should be no personal opinion of the student, unless, of course, if it is asked by the teacher. The student must only receive everything that the teacher conveys to him and follow the teacher sincerely.
Another mistake also exists when training independently. The practitioner seems to be waiting for somebody to do his practice for him. Such training will be of no use. If somebody has undertaken to train themselves and to pull themselves together without relying on anybody, then they should «guide» themselves and show themself what kind of teacher they are.
3. As the last example of the inconsistency between the goal and method is «distraction to spontaneity» when one practices under a predetermined training program. This is not a grave mistake. Often such a distraction is justified, and manifestations of spontaneity are specially provoked. But not to make mistakes it is necessary to understand the following: if there is a particular goal and there is a special training program developed beforehand to achieve it, it is best not to digress from this program whatever «esoteric» things may happen. For example, the growth of Power through gaining a training form requires multiple repetition of the same exercises within a limited period of time. And becoming distracted by new sensations, internal «pictures» or movements of Power though has cognitive interest, but breaks the process of achievement of the contemplated.
On the contrary, in spontaneous training there is no room for a plan or definite goal other than removing barriers to the manifestation of spontaneity itself. And that one who sets the «goal» before training spontaneously, but does it in a planned fashion is, in no doubt, applying the wrong method to achieve the goal.
Spontaneity may not follow a program. All that is required at the beginning of spontaneous training is to remove mental control and stop impeding the energy and active forces to control yourself. Having feelings and reactions without the participation of the mind is crucial to spontaneous training. In this event, the controlling and protective function is performed by the intuition instantly reacting to passing signals and determining what can and cannot be done, but, exclusively, as a «live reactive feeling» rather than with the mind. But the mental logical explanation for all that happened is possible only after the completing of the spontanity. The attempt to switch to it immediately cuts off spontaneous training.
Depending on the main orientation, training may be comprehensive or specialized.
Comprehensive training implies the development of all of the body elements equally, varying the training effect on all principal muscle groups. It comprehensively influences the nerve, lymphatic, blood and endocrine systems and creates necessary conditions for psychic-energy plasticity, which may be used to achieve different abstract (comprehensive) or particular (specialized) modified states of consciousness.
Specialized training implies selective development of particular body elements by exerting specific training influence only on particular joints and muscle groups. This has a local effect on the systems of the body, and creates conditions for special psychic-energy shifts required to achieve typical modified states of consciousness.
Comprehensive or specialized approaches may happen in both the process of training under a predefined program and in the process of spontaneous training. In this event he difference is only that the algorithm of training under a predefined program is defined by a predetermined comprehensive or specialized goal of the training. But the algorithm of spontaneous training is not known beforehand and is only defined by the spontaneous development of the processes that may be of both a comprehensive and a specialized nature.
Comprehensive training in the Tradition of Yoga is ideal because it is harmonious. But there are no limits to comprehensiveness. And willingness to it leads to the necessity to include an excessively large number of possible components in the training program. And such training is conditional on the endurance of the practitioner and his time resource.
This does not mean that comprehensive training is, in principle, impossible. There are a number of options of comprehensively developed and well-balanced training complexes, but these are deemed comprehensive only with respect to narrowly specialized programs. Real (time-limited) training, however, is, as a rule, specialized and aimed to achieve particular physical, psychic-energy or spiritual results.
Based on the above, all yoga therapy exercise sequences are also specialized.
But specialized training should not be seen as defective. One should understand that it is either supplementing, or compensating for, particular motivations in the process of human development, or compensating for particular influences (stresses) on a person in his social activity. When this happens, the aggregate program of various day-to-day and special training effects within the day, form a comprehensive training scheme.
So, for example, if a person’s major type of activity is physical work with substantially little scope for mental concentration, a special training aimed at harmonizing his feelings should be carried out with an ascent to both the muscles stretching and relaxation. And also this program should include training the muscle groups which are not used during his work activity. This will facilitate the redistribution and distraction of energy from the zones of physical stress to free zones. Such training should also include special exercises developing the concentration of attention and coordination, which are not present in his/her day-to-day work in a sufficient scope.
And on the other hand, if the main type of work activity is psychic concentration, which does not imply any physical actions, then special training should be oriented to increasing the training form and tonus of the organism. Such training should include comprehensive strength-based training and improvement of the mobility of all body elements. And it should also include special psychic-energy exercises to relax the mind and release attention from the «stress situations».
From the point of view of harmonious development, each practitioner has underdeveloped or unequally developed body elements which require more attention. Each practitioner has habits fixed in his consciousness, which create obstacles to practicing psychic-energy exercises. Removing these habits requires individual contemplation devices to realize the pollutions of consciousness, and experience liberation from them. And each practitioner fills the lack of energy for expanding his consciousness, since there are no limits to the perfection and growth of the Power of Spirit and the Infinity of the Universe.
Therefore, standard programs, developed according to common principles for all followers, are used in the practice of yoga at the initial preparatory stage. Because this is only «the way to the base of the mountain». The more conscious the practice becomes, and the stronger its orientation towards overcoming personal defects, the more individual and the more increasingly specialized training becomes. And the striving for harmony in one’s comprehensive practice grows larger and larger in this Battle.