Are you assuming yoga is nothing but poses (asanas) and pranayams?
Hold on…it’s way beyond.
You will understand better if you know the roots and branches of yoga.Yoga is not just about toning your body. It’s also about refreshing your mind.
Yoga has been around more than 10,000 years ago. The word yoga was first mentioned in Rig Veda(The sacred text). The Bhagavad-Gita, most renowned of the Yogic scriptures
was composed around 500 B.C.E which teaches the sacrifice of the ego through self-knowledge, wisdom (jnana yoga) and action (karma yoga).
The systematic presentation of yoga is given by Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutras. Today the modern yoga is strongly influenced by Patanjali’s yoga sutras who is considered as the father of yoga.
What Yoga Can Do To You?
- It helps in decreasing your stress levels.
- It improves your immune system.
- It helps you to get good sleep.
- It enhances your body flexibility.
- It changes your mood.
- It gives you instantaneous relaxation.
- It gives you enlightnement. It makes you realize who you are.
- It helps in connecting ourselves with the universe
- And much more……….
Every pose you perform focuses on particular thing. One pose improves flexibility while the other gives strength to sustain any pain.
There are several types of yoga and you should know which branch of yoga helps you with what. what branch of yoga meets your needs.
Here are the 6 branches of yoga that you must know to analyze and know what type of yoga suits you better.
With a more detailed and important information……
#1 Hatha Yoga
It mainly deals with yoga asanas or postures and breathing exercises. This particular yoga prepares you for deeper spiritual practices.
Every beginner starts with Hatha Yoga. You will learn relaxation techniques, pranayams, basic yoga postures
- Focus of attention: Basic yoga poses, pranayamas or breathing techniques, relaxation techniques
- For whom it is: For beginners who wants to learn the basics of yoga poses, who wants to get relief from stress, who wants to improve their breathing
- Significance: It helps for the union of your body and soul
#2 Raja Yoga
It is the path of self-discipline. It is also known as Ashtanga yoga which means 8 steps of yoga. Those are Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.
- Yama means self-control which includes non-violence, truthfulness, not stealing others things, maintaining brahmacharya, not having possessions.
- Niyama means self-discipline which includes purity, contentment, devotion to god, firm determination, patience, perseverance.
- Asana means physical exercises. This is the basic for spiritual path
- Pranayama means breathing exercises. It is synchronizing body with breathings thus gaining control over mind.
- Pratyahara means withdrawing of senses from external objects. In the first stages of meditation, this is practiced.The whole attention is drawn inwards.
- Dharana means concentration of mind. It is focusing our thoughts and feelings on one thing. Of course, most of us struggle here.
- Dhyana means meditation. No one can learn how to sleep. It’s automatic, just like that mediation too. It can happen only when mind becomes quiet. Yoga helps for this.
- Samadhi means enlightenment or complete realization. The one who experienced pain only knows what it is, the one who experienced break up knows what it is. Similarly the one who experienced Samadhi, only they know how it is. It is like one with supreme.
All these gives inner peace to the person.
- Focus of attention: All those 8 steps discussed which are laid down by patanjali’s yoga sutras.
- For whom it is: It is for all those who wants to progress their spiritual growth, who wants to attain inner peace, who wants to attain enlightenment.
- Significance: Transforming one self into a noble soul.
#3 Bhakti Yoga
It is the personal relationship with GOD. It is nothing but seeing godliness and divine in every thing. It is the path of devotion. It is love, devotion and tolerance.
- Focus of attention: Using one’s emotions to reach the ultimate supreme power.
- For whom it is: Who wants to become one with supreme power, who wants to get detached with this materialistic world.
- Significance: Experiencing the unity of mind, body and soul
How can you attain?
Through the 9 limbs of devotion.
- Shravana: Listening to ancient scriptures.
- Kirtana: singing devotional songs.
- Smarana: Chanting god’s name constantly.
- Padasevana: Doing service to the feet of god mentally through devotion.
- Archana: The offerings to god like homa(fire offering) or puja to deity.
- Vandana: Prostration before the image of god.
- Dasya: Not questioning the god’s will.
- Sakhya: Friendship between devotee and god. Like sharing everything with God.
- Aatmanivedana: Surrendering one-self completely to divine.
#4 Karma Yoga
Without expecting any result, putting 100% effort on any work that you do. It is the path of action. Doing any work selflessly right from the simple ordinary tasks to the more challenging ones.
- Focus of attention: Selfless service.
- For whom it is: For everyone. When an action is performed selflessly, it gives contentment and satisfaction of achievement.
- Significance: It stresses on good deeds, good thoughts and good words.
#5 Jnana Yoga
If you are using your intellignece to reach the ultimate supreme power, it is Jnana Yoga. It is the path of wisdom, the path of intelligence.
It can be obtained through the study of yogic and sacred scriptures.
- Focus of attention: Focusing on nourishing one’s own intellect.
- For whom it is: Well suited for those intellectually inclined.
- Significance: Achieve union of inner self with Brahman(the oneness of all life)
#6 Iyengar Yoga
The world renowned yoga guru B.K.S. Iyengar incorporated new techniques from the Ashtanga Yoga to help everyone more flexible with yoga styles. He used wooden blocks, ropes, curved tables and straps in his teaching method which all assist in strengthening the body.
- Focus of attention: The main focus is to bring the body into alignment.
- For whom it is: Those who want to have speedy recovery from an injury and fractures, who wants to build up body strength, who want to have solution for chronic pains, who wants to correct alignment of yoga poses.
- Significance: Gives recovery from injuries and enhances flexibility.
These are the main branches of yoga. All modern yoga is derived from these branches. Now, figure out which one suits your needs the best.
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