Whether one yoga stands higher than
another is an entirely personal matter.
"Parvati Meditating" by Pieter Weltevrede
(Click the picture for a larger image)
Rasa Sadhana really is Rasa Yoga. There are however a number of good reasons not to promote the term "Rasa Yoga" too seriously. As many individuals one takes, as many branches of yoga could be developed that optimally correspond to each of them. Sometimes it seems as if every day brings a new kind of yoga, promising to bring the ultimate goal within reach as no other. It seems best not to contribute to the resulting confusion. As a matter of fact, the term Rasa Yoga also has other meanings. A new branch of yoga called "Rasa Yoga" was founded by Ketul Arnold and Luther Kinney in 1992. It includes asana, pranayama, mantra, meditation, scripture, food and ayurvedic self-care. These practices "cleanse and sharpen the mind and senses, awakening a true taste (Rasa) for life". For the sake of clarity, this is not the Rasa Yoga that is meanth here as Rasa Sadhana, even though it seems like an interesting approach to combine yoga and ayurveda.
Rasa Sadhana or "Rasa Yoga" can be a valuable part of any yoga tradition, just like Tantra Yoga contains Mantra Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Laya Yoga, and Raja Yoga. Rasa Yoga can be performed twenty-four hours a day without consuming time, so it represents an ideal complementary exercise.
When performed correctly, all traditional yoga practices are helpful in Rasa Yoga. Emotional blockages are often sustained by physical tensions that can be released through the practice of asanas. Pranayama breathing techniques remove anxiety and depression through the power of prana. Pratyahara, or the withdrawal of sensory perception, purifies the senses and cures us from the pressing desires that are the cause of most emotional disturbances. The practice of dharana or concentration focuses the entire being on the Divine, with the help of sound (mantras, chakra sounds, inner sounds), visualization (deities, yantras, chakras) and concepts (God, the Self, the higher Rasas, the spiritual heart). After prolonged practice one can finally reach the stages of dhyana (uninterrupted meditation) and samadhi (uninterrupted dhyana).
It is often overlooked that the classical eight-folded path of yoga (Ashtanga Yoga) does not start with the practices of asana, pranayama, pratyahara, and so on. Yama (control) and niyama (rules of conduct) come first. They represent a set of practical, moral, and spiritual do's and don'ts that prepare the yoga practitioner for successful application of the better-known yoga techniques.
Without sufficiently sattvic emotions, attempting to follow yama and niyama and seeking higher states of consciousness may be premature. One minute of Anger can destroy much of the balance attained through any kind of yogic exercises. To attain yama and niyama, Rasa Yoga or Sadhana of various Rasas can be of great help, like Sadhana of Anger (non-violence, forbearance), Courage (fortitude, straightforwardness, austerity, modesty), Compassion (kindness, charity), and so on. As our mind is a strong barrier for meditation and as it is mostly excited through our emotions, achieving control over the Rasas means that our meditation will naturally deepen and devotion will come more easily.
Religion and spiritual practice are more or less organized forms of Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of devotion. When a religious festival or ceremony is created, positive emotional energy from all parts of the locality or country is brought together. With all attending people thinking of the same thing, vibrating in the same way, an extremely powerful atmosphere is created, first of all on the emotional level.
As we are all different, every individual must follow his or her own path to the Divine, so freedom is a requirement. The remarkable religious tolerance embedded within the pantheon of countless Hindu deities allows everyone to experience the Divine in the way that suits them best. This also explains how it is possible for many different deities to be worshipped by members of one and the same Hindu family. Hinduism even has an atheist branch, which is quite accepted by other branches. Anyone can build a Hindu temple. Anyone can start the worship of a river, tree, mountain, or new idol. Anyone can start preaching and create a religious order. Anyone can invent a new kind of yoga.
The above texts were extracted from the book "The Yoga of the Nine Emotions", which fully explains these subjects.