DIFFERENT PATHS OF YOGA

Yoga means union, union of man’s individual spirit with the spirit of the universe or God. However, there is more than one method of achieving this union. But all the methods lead to the same goal.

Though each of these yogic paths is distinguished by its particular practice, they cannot be rigidly classified or put into watertight compartments. They overlap, merge and become diffused at certain points of training.

Spiritual enlightenment is not dependent on intellect or education. Although scholars and men of great mental gifts are more drawn to yoga, there is something above intellect, a direct channel to divinity which makes a person suitable for yoga practice. By understanding that all systems of yoga lead to the same final goal, we can go deep into any of the systems depending on our capabilities and inclinations.

Some of the different paths of yoga are as follows:

  • Hatha Yoga
  • Karma Yoga
  • Bhakti Yoga
  • Jnana Yoga
  • Raja Yoga
  • Kundalini Yoga

Hatha Yoga

Cleanliness of the body is the declared objective of Hatha yoga. Every living being aspires for the longevity of life by keeping the body healthy.

According to ancient Sanskrit facts, ‘Ha’ means the sun or the Pingala Nadi, which works on the right, “That signifies the moon or the Chandra Nadi which flows on the left. To inhale is the ‘Ha’ and to exhale is the”Tha’.

Hatha yoga is the path of bodily strength and control. Liberation through Hatha yoga involves bringing the body to its highest state of development and under complete control of the mind.

For Hatha yoga, concentration and identification is a must. Concentration is the total attention kept focused at one point because it brings power to still the mind.

Identification is the state of extreme concentration that the personality becomes merged with the object of contemplation. Identification leads to the liberation of the spirit, and one feels united with God.


Karma Yoga

No person can keep himself away from ‘Karma’ (action). Man is a social animal. Humanity is the most precious jewel he possesses but being swayed by temptations and blinded by selfishness he leads to sinful acts. Doing everything in life with the fullest and utmost love of God is Karma yoga.

Remaining unconcerned about the fruit of the actions done, fulfilling family obligations and social demand, to live in complete harmony with the humanity is Karma yoga.

Karma yoga is the path of the right action. This is a practical path for men and women who must lead an active life as householders in a materialistic society.

It does not require withdrawal from the world nor impose any rigid training. It is the path of duty and right action.

The Karmayogi works as hard as he can and enjoys the material fruits of his work but at heart, he remains detached and free from worldly affairs.


Bhakti Yoga

The essence of yoga sadhana (practice) consists in the sadhaka’s filling himself to the brim. i.e. fully with God’s boundless power, vast endless knowledge, limitless love and immense joy.

Attachment, lust, vanity, temptation are the real obstacles in the path of Sadhaka (seeker). To reach the Bhakti stage, faith (Shraddha), confidence (Nishta), and devotion (Bhakti) are very necessary.

Bhakti yoga is the path of devotion. The yoga of love and devotion always appeals to those who live more by emotions than by intellect.

This is the most popular yoga among the people of India, for it makes no great intellectual demands and requires no special training.

Bhakti yoga appeals to man’s instinctive nature and recognizes the love of all kinds as a form of worship, whether lovers, parents, children or friends.


Jnana Yoga

Knowledge is endless and boundless. Following the developmental changes and realizing the greatness of the creation and reposing oneself with the seat of parmabrama to meditate on it is called Jnana yoga.

A sadhaka developing his discrimination (veiveka) absence of worldly desires and temptations (Vairagya), starving after final emancipation moves near his deliverance (Mukti).

Jnana yoga, the path of knowledge, attracts intellectuals and philosophers, those who must know the reason behind everything, the secrets of creation.

It is a difficult and lonely path for its demands are too great for the average man.

The Jnana Yogi steps aside from life and dedicates himself to find truth through the highest form of thought. He is withdrawn and detached from society and has his own personality.


Raja Yoga

In Raja yoga, greater importance is given to pranayama, Along with Pooraka, Kumbhaka, and Rechaka, the sadhaka is to destroy all dualism and secure control over the powers of the world.

Pranayama is of great help in achieving excellence in Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi the sure ways of bringing external forces under one’s control is to control one’s mind.

“Yogas Chitta Vriti Nirodha” i.e. controlling the tendencies of one’s reasoning mind is called yoga according to Rishi Patanjali.

Raja yoga brings complete mastery of the mind. It is connected with the attainment of full power and control of the mind.

Raja Yoga, the highest or the King of yoga is often described as the last stage of development and like the Jnana yoga is for the few rather than the majority.

Raja yoga is concerned with the attainment of full power and control of the mind. It is the yoga of wisdom, balance, control, and emergence.


Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini which resides in a dormant state in the upper part of a root is for the attainment of Moksha for the yogis.

The three Nadis (Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna) and six chakras (Mooldhara, Swadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishudha and Ajna) are related to Kundalini.

The six glands located in the Sushumna Nadi (between Mooldhara and Brahmrandhara) are called Shatchakra.

Arousing the Mooldhara based dormant Kundalini (Shayita-Supta) by yogic Kriya (exercises) and making it flow by Sushumna Nadi via the above Shatchakras and reach the Brahmrandhra is known as arousing the Kundalini.

Kundalini Yoga is the development of mysterious energies of the body. Kundalini is stated to be a “coiled serpent lying dormant at the base of the spine” and when it is aroused through appropriate practices; it uncoils and springs up, hissing through the spine to the top of the brain.

The ultimate purpose of the yoga is to awaken the Kundalini which has been defined as the cosmic power underlying all organic and inorganic matters within us. A yogi who has controlled Kundalini can achieve Samadhi at will.

Whatever path a true yogi follows, he is always striving for an objective where the barrier of mind and body fall away and permit him to liberate his spirit.

Conclusion

So those are the types of Yoga that you can learn. We highly recommend learning from a reputed and/or qualified teacher who has ample experience with clients. If you can cannot find a local Yoga school or class, then you can take up one of the online Yoga programs.

One of the better ones we found recently was the Yoga Burn program by Zoe Bray-Cotton. This is an online video Yoga program that has a special stress on losing fat. I mean, who doesn’t want to lose some of that belly fat, eh?

So go ahead and have a look at the program (here’s a good review of it). Or you can even give a try with one of those yoga cards set on Amazon. This one, right here is a good one and easy to begin.

All in all, our main purpose of this article is to make you aware of the types and power of real Yoga. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose from this ancient art/exercise form. Give it a go! You won’t look back!

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