Branches of Yoga
Yoga has been divided mainly into 6 different branches as per their forms and practices to balance the body and mind.
- Karma Yoga –Karma means “deeds/actions”. This branch of yoga teaches us to walk on the path of selflessness and do good to others. It follows the principle that our actions of today will decide how we will be treated/receive in our future. Karma yoga makes one aware of being selfless in our day-to-day life and do kind to others without hatred and practice it for our entire life.
- Hatha Yoga– Hatha means “force”. Hatha yoga uses the technique of physical exercises. It is the most common form of yoga practiced in the west. It uses the combination of asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing technique) and meditation. It is said to build and strengthen the physical well being of a person through physical exercises and increase the control over the mind and de-stress one through meditation.
- Raja Yoga– Raja means “royal”. Hence raja yoga is also termed as royal yoga. It is the highest form in practice of yoga done with the combination of hatha yoga and meditation. The ultimate goal of raja yoga is achieving a state where your living self and your absolute self unify and liberate yourself from all the worldly desires thus attaining what is called “samadhi“. It is based on the eight limbs of yoga as described by Patanjali in The Yoga Sutras. Raja yoga is also named as classical yoga.
- Bhakti Yoga– Bhakti means “devotion”. In Bhakti Yoga one devotes himself in spiritual practice of the Divine. It is a path to oneness and self realization. It teaches us to love everything and appreciate everything we get in life and worship the Divine, thus taking us on a devotional path. Bhakti Yoga is practiced by many individuals and does not require you to be a yogi/practitioner of other yoga paths.
- Tantra Yoga– Tantra literally meaning “loom,twisted”. In this case a set of doctrine theory. This branch of yoga is quite often misunderstood and by many misinterpreted. However, in actual Tantra yoga is based on ritualistic approach and is practiced by meditation, mantras (chants) and rituals. It is mainly derived on set of beliefs and ritual practices to liberate oneself and attain the divine energy into the human microcosm.
- Jnana Yoga– Jnana means “knowledge”. This path of yoga is practiced to attain knowledge of your innerself and liberate your soul to the divine. It is a philosophical study of self realization, enlightenment and purity of your thoughts through the knowledge of Vedic texts and scriptures and attain oneness with the divine.