Types of Yoga
The ancient scriptures are the basis of yoga. And according to them yoga has been categorized into different types. The types of yoga includes: kundalini yoga, swara yoga, raja yoga, kriya yoga and mantra yoga.
1)Kundalini Yoga: It is considered to be the most powerful yoga which generally focuses on activation of energy which is thought to be settled in dormant form in the base of our spine. These are called chakras. Kunbalini yoga helps in awakening of chakras with the help of meditation, yogic postures and chanting of mantras. Much emphasis is laid on breathing in this form of yoga. According to this, our mind is an combination of different layers which associates with different levels of consciousness. All these levels are associated with different chakras or psychic centers present throughout the body. Awakening these chakras leads to generation of immense energy and consciousness within us. The major yogic practices which can help to activate these chakras are asanas, mantra, pranayama, mudra and bandhas.
2)Swara Yoga: In sanskrit swara mens 'sound'. With it's existence for more than 10,000 years, it involves control and manipulation of breath to attain the consciousness of body, mind and soul. Pranayama is the practice which is used to do swara yoga which basically focuses on the association of breath with the activities of nature .e.g. sun, moon, seasons and also our physical and mental condition.
3)Raja Yoga: Raja yoga is a collection of eight stages of yoga which has been described by sage Patanjali in his work Yog Sutra. It directs us to maintain a harmony of mind with our emotions. Practicing raj yoga improves our behavior and personality through the practice of yama and niyamas. Asanas helps us to keep our body fit. Prayanama maintains a harmony between the mind and the emotions. Similarly, pratyahrara and dharana improves the concentration level. Dyana is the meditation and through the practice of all these we can attain the self actualization i.e. Samadhi. Thus, by following all the eight stages of Patanjali yoga sutra, raja yoga can be performed successfully.
4)Kriya Yoga: Kriya means 'activity' and hence, kriya yoga discusses about the activity of consciousness. Kriya yoga consists of more than 70 kriyas of which 20 are considered most common. It includes several meditation practices to attain the spiritual growth. Kriya yoga believes in the union of soul with the divine. It helps in movement of energy through the spines. The various aspects of kriya yoga has been mentioned in the tantra and were spread by Swami Satyanand Saraswati who learnt it through various ancient scriptures and tantra sutras.
5)Mantra Yoga: Originated during the Vedic period, mantra yoga involves the continuous chanting of words, phrases and mantras until the desired level of self
consciousness is not attained. It reduces the distractions within us by increasing our concentration level. There are several mantras described in the ancient texts which are generally used during the mantra yoga.
Thus, there are several yoga practices that can be practiced by us in order to get the desired result. Though all types of yoga can be performed by an individual but one can perform it as per their need also.