The Branches of Yoga

The Branches of Yoga

The elegance of yoga is that the more you learn, the deeper the experience and the more beneficial. There are, however, different kinds of yoga that appeal to a range of individuals.

Some people have to experience yoga physically; they find meditating or relaxing too challenging. Others have a deep urge to understand and intellectualize their yoga practice, and the physical component of yoga may not take priority. There are those who cannot imagine yoga without a relationship with the Divine people who practice the yoga of devotion, meditation, service, knowledge, and study and there are many who never incorporate religious beliefs into their yoga practice at all. Some people chant, others are more contemplative.

If this is your initial foray into yoga, investigate the different practices and methods and pick the one that works best for you. No matter what type of yoga or combination of yoga styles you choose to practice, the effects of your practice will be cumulative on your body, mind, and lifestyle. Yoga is not a static practice; it encourages you to investigate various techniques and teachers.

The most widely practiced yoga tradition in the West is hatha yoga (which is physical yoga; this is the branch of yoga that this blog will primarily focus on). However, there are five other branches or paths of yoga as well. Many people practice just one branch of yoga, while others integrate a few together. Just as we all have different learning preferences some of us are somatic, others of us are visual or auditory we may feel more comfortable with one branch of yoga rather than another, because of the way we assimilate information or learn. The six branches of yoga to explore are the following:

¢ Raja, yoga of physical and mental control

¢ Karma, yoga of action

¢ Jnana, yoga of knowledge or wisdom

¢ Bhakti, yoga of love and devotion

¢ Tantra, ritual yoga to awaken energy in the body

¢ Hatha, physical yoga

SMART SOURCES

The Shri Ram Chandra Mission is one source for information about blogs, seminars, member services, and research on raja yoga.

http://www. srcm. org/index. html

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