Yoga: The Basics

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Yoga is a vast collection of spiritual techniques and practices all aimed at integrating mind, body and spirit and achieving a state of enlightenment or oneness with the universe. What is normally thought of as “yoga” in the West is really Hatha Yoga, one of the many paths of yoga. These different paths of yoga are simply different approaches and techniques that all lead to the same goal of unification and enlightenment.

Yoga is not a religion but a spiritual practice or Sadhana, which does not require any specific belief system to participate. The philosophies of yoga are universal and can be incorporated within any belief system.

Original Types

The science of yoga has developed a vast amount of techniques which all lead to the same point of unification of the mind-body-spirit.

Karma Yoga:

The way of right action, serving without the motivation of obtaining the results of labor.

Bhakti Yoga:

The way of devotion, devotion to a supreme being absorbing the emotions and self in pure love.

Jnana Yoga:

The way of knowledge, studying god and learning to discriminate between illusion and the reality that all is god.

Hatha Yoga:

The physical path, using the body through asana and pranayama to control the mind and senses.

Tantric Yoga:

The feminine path, worshiping the goddess energy and seeing the body as the temple of the divine.

Kundalini Yoga:

The path of energy, arousing the energy stored in the chakras through breathing and movement.

Raja Yoga:

The path of meditation, controlling the mind from wandering and obtaining mastery over thought.