The term „integral yoga” was originally used by the Indian philosopher and Yogi Sri Aurobindo. His intention was to unite and harmonise the various yogic paths. Unlike the classical yogas, integral yoga has no clear, determined sequence of exercise but only a defined philosophical framework within whose expansive limits one can move relatively freely. The classical methods can still be used but the primary objective is another.
Sri Aurobindo’s main criticism of classical yoga was their striving towards Nirvana, or trying to escape the world. He suggested using yoga for the benefit of the world. All serious, spiritual traditions work on ascent where the emphasis is on elevating the soul to unite with the Divine.
This objective was also in accordance with Sri Aurobindos thoughts but he took it a step further, stating that an ascent to the Divine could not be the ultimate goal - it had to be followed by the descent of the Divine into the world. The student opens himself completely to the workings of the Divine and transformation happens by itself. „The goal of Integral Yoga is a progressive union with the Divine and, associated with it, the increasing revelation of the Divine in all areas of human life” ...“To grow into the power of the Spirit and, through the direct action of that force, to become a proper channel through which the Divine can express itself – that is the principle and the whole objective of an integral yoga of self-actualization.” No stages of the path can be left out if world transformation is to take place. Only he, who climbs all steps of the ladder, who consciously directs all aspects of his personality to the Divine, can turn back and bring the Divine into the world.
The definition of Integral Yoga has changed over the years and is no longer used in its orginal sense. It has now simply come to mean a union between the various yogic paths.
* In this text we used excerpts from the Wikipedia-article Integral Yoga