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 state of well-being, for example, you might want to direct your efforts to the practice of hatha yoga, which is considered
to be one of the primary forms of modern physical therapy. Apart from
meditation, which is a common goal for all yoga branches, hatha yoga
teaches you a series of important postures (known in yoga terminology
under the name of asanas) and breathing exercises (entitled pranayamas).
- Another common and highly appreciated branch of yoga is karma yoga, which promotes 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 its practitioners to try to eliminate all
the negativism and the selfishness from their present, in order to
avoid having to deal with them in the future. Actually, for optimum effect, karma yoga
should be practiced everyday, including at work. Performing
activities carried out with the goal of helping other people,
as a Peace Corps volunteer, for example, can be easily aligned with the karma yoga path.
- Another branch of yoga, which, this time, places a strong 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 hatha yoga, in order to prepare the
body for more advanced training stages. Studies have demonstrated that
the persons attracted by this form of yoga are, as in general, more
introspective people, interested in profound meditation. Moreover,
various religious groups devote themselves to this yoga path, which is
close to a monastic or contemplative lifestyle.
- Jnana yoga is a branch of yoga
which is directed mainly at scholars. It provides a development of the
intellect through the study of yoga tradition scripts and texts. 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.
- 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.