Branches of Yoga
Each specific branch of yogaTo some, yoga might be a new concept, but, most of us are aware that it is an ancient discipline with a history which stretches back over hundreds of years. As might be expected, over such a long history, it has changed in many ways, resulting in a variety of styles and yoga branches.
Each branch of yoga has evolved and developed to serve different needs and purposes. As a general rule,
however, they all serve the general purpose of harmonizing and identifying the equilibrium between body and mind. In the discussion
that follows, we are going to take a closer look at several different branches of yoga.
- If you are interested in increasing your personal well-being, for example, you might want to look into the practice of hatha yoga, which is also considered one of the better forms of modern physical therapy. Apart from meditation, which is a fairly common goal of all yoga branches, hatha yoga teaches a series of important postures (known in yoga terminology under the name of asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayamas).
- Another common, and highly respected branch of yoga is karma yoga, which offers us the concept that everything that happens to us in our present existence is a direct consequence of our previous actions. As a result, karma yoga encourages practitioners to try to eliminate all negativism and selfishness from their present existence, in order to avoid having to deal with them in the future. Actually, for optimum results, from life or the universe, depending on your beliefs, karma yoga should be practiced everyday, including at work. Activities carried out with the goal of helping other people, as a Peace Corps volunteer, for example, can be easily aligned with the teaching and philosophy of karma yoga.
- Another branch of yoga, which places a stronger accent on meditation, is raja yoga. Known also as classical yoga, raja yoga is a more complex form of training, which is why it typically starts with learning the basics of hatha yoga, in order to prepare the body for the more advanced training stages of raja yoga. Studies have demonstrated that most people attracted by this form of yoga tend to be more introspective, interested in deep self awareness and profound meditation. Various religious groups devote themselves to this yoga path, which is similar to a monastic or contemplative lifestyle.
- Jnana yoga is a branch of yoga which is of interest to scholars and similar individuals. It provides for development of the intellect through the study of yoga tradition scripts and texts in addition to the more physical activities. It is also known to be the yoga of the heart and wisdom. Although it is described as the most difficult of all yoga practices, jnana yoga is also one of the most direct and challenging paths to self awareness and personal growth.
- Another popular yoga branch, which promotes and sustains the idea of devotion, is bhakti yoga. The main philosophy within this yoga path is that there is something divine in any
form of creation. Thus, it is important to tolerate, accept and respect
any forms of life we come in close contact with.
These are, without any doubt, only a few of the various yoga
branches or paths, but, nevertheless, the important thing is that
anyone can find a yoga practice, which is able to promptly suit his or her needs of finding the inner equilibrium and peace.