Branches of yoga

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Branches of Yoga

Yoga is an aggregation of diverse form of approaches and practices of self-actualization from centuries. Yoga practice includes several types of body postures, mental exercises and it unites the body, mind and soul to the nature to attain the desired result. Based on these facts, yoga has been basically divided in six major branches, which includes all the aspects of yoga. These branches are famous as Hatha yoga, Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Tantra Yoga.

  1. Hatha Yoga: This is the most familiar type of yoga to the present world, which mainly involves the physical practices (asanas), the breathing techniques (pranayama) and mediation (dhyana). This is the most popular form of yoga in the west and used mainly for different physical therapies. This is one of the best paths to gain the physical healt and spirituality. Some of the main tools to achieve this are- Astanga, Iyengar, Kripalu, and Jiva Mukti, Integral.
  2. Raja Yoga: As the name itself suggests, it is the highest form of all yogas. Raja menas'king' and hence, it is considered as the king of all yogas. Raja yoga mainly focuses on meditation and is based on the eight limbs of yoga modified by Patanjali. It is very helpful to gain control of the physical body, energy, senses and mind and to attain self-realization.
  3. Karma Yoga: The literal meaning of karma is'action'. Thus, it is also known as yoga of action. Karma yoga tells that what we are experiencing today is the result of our doings in the past. So, devoting selfless services to others is the main principle of karma yoga. Because our present is linked with our future. So, we should do good to deserve good. Karma yoga includes all the activities we are doing in our daily life. It tells that, good thoughts, good expressions and good manners will transform you into a selfless soul.
  4. Bhakti Yoga: Bhakti literally means'devotion' in Sanskrit. So, bhakti yoga is the path of devotion. Doing bhakti yoga means, devoting yourself completely to one who is superior to you. You should deveote with open heart and indiscriminate love to enter the grace of self-relisation. Bhakti yoga revolves around trust, grace and love. Bhakti yoga teaches us to develop tolerance, acceptance and love for all living things.
  5. Jnana Yoga: Jnana menas knowledge and hence jnana yoga is considered to be the yoga of mind, wisdom and knowledge. It requires a great level of concentration and mental activity. This enhances the intellectual level of a person and ability to differentiate between good and bad. Jnana yoga also increases the ability to take right decisions at right time. Meditation is the best tool used in jnana yoga.
  6. Tantra Yoga: People generally misunderstand tantra yoga but tantra yoga is the yoga of rituals. Tantra yoga tells us to learn from everything we do in our life. It promotes a ritualistic approach to life. Tantra yoga teaches us purity, humanity, devotion to Guru, love, and truthfulness.

Though, yoga has been divided into six branches but all of them are some how interlinked and you should not be confined to a single form of yoga. You may practice hatha yoga, for your physical body; while simultaneously raja yoga can be performed to add meditation to your practice; performing karma yoga by engaging in selfless service to others and a bhakti yogi to expressing your respect for everyone you meet.

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