The integral Yoga does not depend, as many yogic paths do, on physical asanas or breathing techniques, nor on chanting of mantras, nor singing and dancing in ecstatic states of trance, nor deep philosophical inquiry or strict mental techniques. Nor does it depend on austerity or any kind of physical acts of penance such as flagellation or intense fasting. Religious rituals also are not a primary mechanism in the integral Yoga. In this regard, the integral Yoga is vastly different than other yogic paths or religious endeavours, although it does not deny or prohibit any practices that aid the seeker in achieving realisation, and thus, does not interfere with the religious or spiritual paths of the world.
The integral Yoga focuses on achieving a state of receptivity and responsiveness to the divine Force and Presence through what Sri Aurobindo has called in other places ‘applied psychology’. The main point, whether using traditional techniques as noted above, or not, is to achieve the right state of receptivity, the tuning of the consciousness, and the acceptance of the response when it comes. This is a process which Sri Aurobindo has called “aspiration, rejection, surrender”. Aspiration focuses and tunes and thereby opens up a link to the higher consciousness. This can come about through the action of the psychic being to open the heart and thereby through feelings of devotion, dedication, prayer or call. The rejection is to avoid the distracting energies and impulses that come from the outer being and impacts from the world at large that take one away from the one-pointed focus. Surrender is to accept and allow the higher influence to act upon the being and carry out its action without obstruction from the ego-personality and the desire-soul of the outer being.
Sri Aurobindo observes: “That is the fundamental rationale of the sadhana. It will be evident that the two most important things here are the opening of the heart centre and the opening of the mind centres to all that is behind and above them. For the heart opens to the psychic being and the mind centres open to the higher consciousness and the nexus between the psychic being and the higher consciousness is the principal means of the siddhi. The first opening is effected by a concentration in the heart, a call to the Divine to manifest within us and through the psychic to take up and lead the whole nature. Aspiration, prayer, bhakti, love, surrender are the main supports of this part of the sadhana — accompanied by a rejection of all that stands in the way of what we aspire for. The second opening is effected by a concentration of the consciousness in the head (afterwards, above it) and an aspiration and call and a sustained will for the descent of the divine Peace, Power, Light, Knowledge, Ananda into the being — the Peace first or the Peace and Force together. Some indeed receive Light first or Ananda first or some sudden pouring down of knowledge. With some there is first an opening which reveals to them a vast infinite Silence, Force, Light or Bliss above them and afterwards either they ascend to that or these things begin to descend into the lower nature. With others there is either the descent, first into the head, then down to the heart level, then to the navel and below and through the whole body, or else an inexplicable opening — without any sense of descent — of peace, light, wideness or power, or else a horizontal opening into the cosmic consciousness or in a suddenly widened mind an outburst of knowledge. Whatever comes has to be welcomed — for there is no absolute rule for all — but if the peace has not come first, care must be taken not to swell oneself in exultation or lose the balance. The capital movement however is when the Divine Force or Shakti, the power of the Mother comes down and takes hold, for then the organisation of the consciousness begins and the larger foundation of the yoga.”
Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 8, The Triple Transformation: Psychic, Spiritual and Supramental, The Spiritual Transformation, pp. 209-229