General Principles of Yoga Formation
by Hank Friedman
Yogas are a core principle in Vedic astrology, and contribute greatly to the use of and understanding of Jyotish. Yogas primarily influence the house(s) occupied by the yoga-forming planets.
Note: This article was handed out in a class that I taught, and as such is quite condensed. Reading the other articles on my website on planetary strength, yogas, and other topics will help to flesh it out.
In order to perform yoga analysis, since most yogas depend upon house rulership and/or house placement to a large extent, the birth time must be reasonably accurate, i.e. the Lagna must not be uncertain or near a sign boundary (less than 2 degreesd
In addition, if the Lagna, the Sun, or the Moon are very weak, positive yogas may not manifest appreciably.
E.g. If the Moon is within a few degrees of the Sun, or either the Sun or Moon are at their points of maximum debilitation (10 degrees of Libra and 3 degrees of Scorpio respectively),
(and all of the following conditions should be met) the Lagna is Gandanta (the last 3 degrees 20 minutes of a water sign or the first 3 degrees 20 minutes of a fire sign) or within 1 degree of a sign change, and occupied by (or aspected by) only malefics and the Lagnesa weak and poorly placed, positive yogas will give few results. (All these conditions for the Lagna must be met.)
Furthermore, for positive yogas to be utilizable by the person, they should have some relationship with the First House or Lagnesa, i.e. you can initiate actions with skill instead of just having positive events happen to you..
Most positive yogas require that the yoga-forming planets be in Kendras or Trikonas, and at least one of the yoga-forming planets should be strong (own sign, exalted, vargottama, dig bala, retrograde, or Bright Moon) and preferably not influenced by malefics.
Similarly, for negative yogas to carry full weight, the planets involved should be weak, poorly-placed and aspected by malefics (and without benefic influence).
Yogas of Reversal
There are a few types of yogas that take weak planets and make them give good results, however in all cases, good usually follows bad, i.e. that after some degree of trial or hardship or challenging events, the person's life turns around and their abilities and life themes develop significantly.
The three most common yogas of reversal are dusthana rulers in dusthanas, Vipareeta Raja Yogas, and Dainya Parivartana Yogas. When the ruler of the 6th, 8th, or 12th is either:
1. In the 6th, 8th, or 12th (dusthana rulers in dusthana) -- this yoga rarely gives much benefit, but some of the negative themes of the house ruled may be diminished ("bad to bad is good").
2. Is with or mutually aspects the ruler of another dusthana (and is neither with nor aspected by any other planet) (Vipareeta Raja Yogas)
3. The rulers of two dusthanas are in each other's signs (Dainya Parivartana Yoga)
Then positive events and qualities will emerge after the person experiences negative challenges.
Yogas of Vitality
To have a healthy body and vital beingness, the Lagnesa and its dispositors should be well placed, strong, and not influenced by malefics.
While having a strong Lagnesa in an angle or a trine is not a classical yoga, per se, it nevertheless indicates both a vital constitution and a healthy personality.
The Parvata yoga occurs when the owner of the sign Lagnesa occupies is placed in an angle or a trine, while a Kahala yoga occurs when the owner of the owner of the sign Lagnesa is placed in occupies an angle or a trine. Both require the disposing planet have strength.
For example, in my chart with Leo rising, my Sun is in Gemini. Its dispositor Mercury is in an angle in Taurus, and Mercury's dispositor Venus is in its own sign of Taurus (also in the same angle), and therefore forms a Kahala yoga.
The Pushkala yoga is formed when Lagnesa and the Moon's dispositor are together in an angle and the Lagna is influenced only by a strong benefic.
Pancha Maha Purusha Yogas. When a planet is either exalted or in its own sign in an angle (or a trine), it becomes exceptionally powerful. This adds to the vitality especially when it either occupies or rules the First House (or aspects the First House if it's a benefic).
All of these combinations are not only vitalizing but increase the likelihood of success and popularity, since the Lagna represents both.
Yogas of Illness
The primary indication of illness and injury is the state of the Lagna. When the Lagna and its Lord are impacted by malefics, without the influence of benefics, then one's health suffers.
More specifically, when any of the following occur, physical problems are likely to manifest, provided that there is no influence of benefics, and that the planets lack strength:
Multiple malefics in and/or aspecting one house (e.g. Sun + Mars = inflammation)
Lagnesa in dusthana, especially if with a malefic.
The 6th or 12th lords with Lagnesa, the Sun, or the Moon.
Planets in dusthanas, especially if with the 6th or 12th lords.
Yogas of Mental Illness
One part of exploring Darpana, i.e. the Vedic assessment of psychological factors, is the evaluation of Manas disorders -- issues with the physical equipment of the mind (brain, sense organs, nervous system). These are indicated by a confluence of impacts by the Nodes and Saturn upon the Fourth House, the Fourth Lord, and the Moon. These issues are magnified if any of the planets involved (including the Moon and the Fourth Lord) have exaggerated strength or weakness.
Issues with identity occur when a planet with exaggerated condition impacts Lagnesa (or is Lagnesa), or secondarily, the Lagna itself.
And disruptions of decision-making and evaluation occur with malefic impacts upon the Fifth House, the Fifth Lord, and Mercury.
The close conjunction (within 2 degrees) of one of the Nodes with a planet can also disturb mental/emotional functioning. Especially sensitive to Nodal influence (even with wider orbs) are the Sun and the Moon.
(By way of review, exaggerated strengths are exalted, retrograde, and Bright Moon, and exaggerated weaknesses are combust, planetary war, debilitated, and Dark Moon.)
Yogas of Intelligence
In all cases, the yoga-forming planets must not have the influence of malefics upon them, or the effects of the yoga will be greatly diminished or even reversed. The yoga-forming planets should not be in dusthanas, and at least one (but preferably all) should be strong:
Kalanidhi yoga occurs when Jupiter is in the 5th with or opposite to Mercury or Venus, or is in the sign of Mercury or Venus. If the latter, Jupiter should be in the 1st house or Vargottama or retrograde (in order to have strength).
Budhaditya Yoga: Mercury with the Sun, in, aspecting, or ruling the First House or Fifth House.
Saraswati Yoga: Jupiter strong while it and Venus and Mercury are all in angles or trines or in the 2nd house.
Yogas of Wealth
Like most of the yogas mentioned above, with the exception of the illness combinations, these require an absence of influence by both malefics and dusthana lords to manifest fully, and of course should not occur in dusthanas, and the yoga-forming planets must have strength. The yoga-forming planets also should not rule dusthanas (as their moolatrikona sign).
Trinal Raja Yogas form when the lords of houses 1, 5, and 9 combine. These bring prosperity and luck into one's life.
Dhana yogas come in many forms, but the primary ones involve the lords of houses 2 and 11 with each other or with any trinal lord.
The Chandra-Mangala yoga forms when the Moon and Mars occupy the same house, and indicates earning money through women.
The Lakshmi yoga forms when the 9th lord and Venus are strong and well-placed.
Yogas for Success
While many different yogas can contribute towards one's fame and success, these are the major ones considered:
Classical Raja Yogas. Also called DKA yogas (Dharma Karma Adhipati), these yogas form when trinal lords combine with angle lords. One variation is the 9th lord and the 10th lord in their own houses, or similarly the 4th and 5th lords in their own houses. (Note: the 7th lord is usually omitted from these combinations, in part because the 7th is a maraka house.)
Nodal Raja Yogas: This forms when one of the nodes is with a strong trinal lord in an angle or with a strong angle lord in a trine.
Maha Parivartana Yogas: When the lord of a trine occupies the sign of the lord of an angle and vice versa, a raja yoga forms.
Raja Yoga Karaka. Of lesser influence but still notable is when the Raja Yoga Karaka is both strong and well-placed (and unaspected by a malefic).
Life Theme-Specific Yogas
Each of the houses represents specific life themes, and when the house and its lord and the theme's karaka are all confluently well-placed or poorly placed, then the theme is strongly affected.
For an exceptionally supported theme, the house and its lord and karaka should not have any influence of malefics, and the lord and karaka should be well-placed and not weak.
For a disrupted theme, the house and its lord and karaka should be influenced by malefics, and the lord and karaka should be weak and poorly-placed.
Yogas based upon House Occupation
There are both positive and negative yogas formed by planet(s) occupying specific houses or ranges of houses.
For example, the Shushubha and Amala/Amla yogas are formed, respectively, by the placement of a benefic in the 2nd or 10th houses (unaspected by malefics).
Similarly, the Kesari and Gaja Kesari yogas are formed by the Moon and Jupiter in an angle to each other, while the Shakata yoga is formed when the Moon is not angular and is 6/8 to Jupiter. (I have not found the Shakata yoga to accurately predict financial ups & downs in most cases).
On the negative side, having all of the benefics in dusthanas form an Ashubha mala yoga, which creates many life obstacles.
Similarly a Papa Mala Yoga forms when houses 12, 1, and 2, or houses 6, 7, and 8 are all occupied by only malefics, or any house has only a malefic in it and only malefics flanking it (and there is no benefic influence on the central house).
The Kartari (scissors) yogas occur when a house is flanked by benefics or malefics (shubha or papa respectively) and the Solar and Lunar yogas are similarly formed.
The Vasumat yoga occurs when benefics all occupy houses 3, 6, 10 or 11(Upachaya houses) indicating a life of continual improvement.
Finally the Kalasarpa Yoga or Dosha occurs when planets occupy only the houses on one side of the Nodal axis. This yoga tends to magnify the heights and/or depths of a person's life.
There are thousands of yogas not covered by this cursory article, but what is covered here are core yogas of great importance.
Initially, one must memorize the rules of yoga formation and the specific conditions needed to form each yoga. Eventually, one can recognize combinations that are not quite identical to the ones learned, or even gain insight into each combination in a chart.
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