The book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga: A Practical Guide to Healing Body, Mind, and Spirit, by Deepak Chopra and David Simon (originally released in 1994) provides an overview of yoga including philosophy, asanas, meditation, and breathing within the detailed context of the seven spiritual laws or principles. The “program is designed for those who wish to take their yoga practice to a deeper level, using their bodies to access more expanded levels of their minds.”
Chapter One delves into yogic philosophy, in particular the theory that we live life simultaneously on three levels, the final or deepest being the goal of yoga. In considering the first or physical level, our personal body is described as a vast collection of molecules in which the cells, comprised mainly of the food we ingest, are in a state of perpetual change. A natural consequence of this knowledge manifests as a diet conducive to purity and health of the body; the top four yogic choices being almonds, honey, milk (organic) and ghee (clarified butter). Our extended body is the environment, with which we are in constant and dynamic exchange of energy and information, thereby making us natural environmentalists.
The third body, the energy body, conducts prana or vital energy throughout the five seats in the body; pranayama awakens and purifies this body. The second, subtle level includes the mind, intellect and ego, and is generally what we identify with; however, it is really a “repository of sensory impressions”, a discriminator that integrates information based on our belief system to help us make decisions, and the way we project ourselves to the world.
Furthermore, this ego projection causes us distress when we attempt to control or assert ownership over others and things. Both of these levels must be moved past in order to experience the deepest level of ourselves: the spirit or causal body. This third level includes a personal soul which we carry in to this life full of seeds of memories and desires; under the right circumstances these seeds will grow into our unique talent and purpose in this lifetime. It also includes the collective domain – a sort of mass creative force – that resides in each of us and contains all of the roles and quests we play out and long to fulfill throughout each lifetime.
Lastly, it contains the deepest level of being which is beyond time, space and causality and births the manifest universe as we know it. This is the universal domain of spirit or field of pure potentiality. This realm is the source and goal of life which yoga encourages us to bring our awareness to; the Seven Spiritual Laws are intended to provide the tools with which to achieve access to these deeper levels of ourselves.