The simple meaning of Yoga is to add. But, here the meaning of Yoga is to add the Soul with the GOD. In the other way, Yoga is the science of purification of Body and Soul. Yoga completely purifies the Body, mind, and soul. Yoga plays an important role in the development of a man’s qualities. Yoga alone can faster balance the muscular system, the elasticity of bones, the proper circulation of blood in the body, and the proper function of, the glandular system. The practice of Yoga keeps us far away from ailments. If sometimes, ailments come our way we take no time to recover
Maharishi Patanjali, the writer of the classical yogic text, the Yoga Sutras, defines yoga as: ” Complete control over the different patterns or modifications of consciousness.”
In other words, yoga implies control over the conscious, unconscious, and super-conscious realms of our being. One becomes the observer of these different higher states attaining complete knowledge of them. Yoga can be defined as a science for developing creativity; as the science for unfolding the deeper aspects of the personality; as the science of being; as the science of consciousness. The definition of yoga will be perhaps a little different for each practitioner, for the individual will relate to yogic experiences and hence explain them in different ways. One thing is certain, whatever definition of yoga is chosen, the implications on one’s life are vast, for yoga concerns itself with the very core of our lives: body, mind, and consciousness. With this in mind, we leave the reader to work out his definition of yoga through personal experience.
TYPES OF YOGA
There are many types of Yoga, but, we are explaining the main eight (8) types of Yoga:
1. Ashtanga Yoga ( अष्टांग योग )
The simplest meaning of Ashtang Yog is yoga which has 8 limbs. Here Ashtanga is a Sanskrit word. And the meaning of Ashtanga is Eight (8). So, Ashtanga yoga is a yoga of 8 limbs.
Before the time of Maharishi Patanjali, yoga was un-arranged. But, Maharishi Patanjali arranged well it in Eight (8) Limbs. There are 4 External Limbs and 4 Internal Limbs
2. Hatha Yoga ( हठ योग )
Hatha Yog is perhaps the path of Yoga you are most familiar with since this is the most popular branch of Yoga in the West. This branch of Yoga uses physical poses or Asana, Breathing Techniques or Pranayama, and Meditation to achieve better health, as well as spirituality. There are many styles within this path – Iyengar, Integral, Astanga, Kripalu, and Jiva Mukti to name a few.
If what you want is a peaceful mind and a healthy body to go along with it, Hatha Yoga may just be the path for you.
3. Raj Yoga ( राजयोग )
Raja Yoga or Yoga of Self-Control. Raja means “royal”. This path is considered to be the King of Yoga and this may be because most of its practitioners are members of religious and spiritual orders. Raja Yoga is based on the teachings of the Eight Limbs of Yoga found in the Yoga sutras.
A Raja Yogi sees the self as central, and as such, respect for oneself and all creation is vital to this path. They achieve self-respect by first learning to be masters of themselves.
If you wish to learn discipline, then Raja Yoga would perfectly suit that need.
4. Bhakti Yoga ( भक्ति योग )
Bhakti Yoga or Yoga of Devotion. Bhakti Yoga is the path most followed in India. This is the path of the heart and devotion. Yogis who practice this branch see the “One” or the Divine in everyone and everything. Bhakti Yoga teaches a person to have devotion to the “One” or Brahma by developing a person’s love and acceptance for all things.
5. Karma Yoga ( कर्म योग )
Karma Yoga or Yoga of Service, Path of work. Karma Yoga is the path of service for in this path, it is believed that your present situation is based on your past actions. So by doing selfless service now, you are choosing a future that is free from negativity and selfishness. Karma Yogis change their attitude towards the good and in the process, change their souls, which leads to a change in their destiny.
Lord Sree Krishna explained Karma yoga is very detailed on the battlefield of Kurukshetra
KARMA: The word originated from the root “KRU” meaning do, work, etc. Karma thus means action or work, and not the popular meaning of “fate”. There are two types of Karma- 1) Niskama Karma- work without attachment, which produces no bondage, and 2) Sakama Karma-all work done for some result, which leads to bondage for the doer. The work may be to maintain your body, meet your official obligations, to upkeep your family, prayers & other religious activities, service to society, or many other things. In Gita, the word Karma is used to denote all human activities.
YOGA: This word is used at innumerable places in the Gita with meanings like appropriateness, joining, expertise, attainment, etc. The essential meaning of Yoga is explained by Sri Krishna himself as “Yogah Karmasu Kausalam” (Gita 2.50). Kausalam means a special talent, expertise, or skill in doing something. So doing things with expertise is Yoga. A Yogi does something with expert knowledge or skill.
So KARMA YOGA refers to all human activities performed with concentration, skill, and finesse. The way to liberation is to perform your duties without attachment
6. Tantra Yoga ( तंत्र योग )
Tantra Yoga or Yoga of Rituals. Perhaps the most misunderstood of all the paths, Tantra Yoga is about using rituals to experience what is sacred. Although sex is a part of it, sex is not the whole of it since this path aims to find what is sacred in everything we do. Tantra Yogis must possess certain qualities like purity, humility, devotion, dedication to his Guru, cosmic love, and truthfulness among other things.
Many people think that Tantra yoga is related to black magic. But this is a wrong perception. If we try to find the meaning of Tantra in the dictionary, then we know the meaning as 1. A Theory, 2. A branch of Shruti, 3. Bunch of works, as this we found many definitions from the dictionary.
“Tanyate Vistaaryate Gyanmanen” Scope of Tantra is to spread education and knowledge which take a human towards “Parmatma” (God) and Self-Realization.
There are still a lot of misconceptions about Yoga, for instance, Yoga being a religion. Yoga is not a religion. It is more of a set of techniques for us to find spirituality. Yoga is practiced by a lot of people from different religions like Christians, Jewish, Buddhists, and Muslims.
Another misconception is that Yoga is an exercise, a way for us to keep fit. It is partly true, but if you think that Yoga is just that then you are greatly mistaken. Yoga develops the body since a weak one is a hindrance to spiritual growth. It does not simply focus on the physical but on the mental and spiritual aspects as well.
7. Mantra Yoga ( मंत्र योग )
Mantra yoga is a type of yoga that uses mantras to awaken the Self and deepen the meditative aspects of a physical yoga practice. Mantra yoga is an exact science that is meant to engage the mind by focusing on sound, duration, and number of repetitions. Repetition of the mantras is a means to get closer to the divinity within, and it creates positive vibrations that benefit both the one who chants and the one who listens.
Mantra yoga may also be referred to as Japa yoga. Japa is a Sanskrit word for the act of repeating mantras.
Mantra yoga neutralizes rajas (agitation) and tamas (inertia), which allows the practitioner to move into a more pure state of consciousness. Chanting mantras calms the mind, brings focus, and is great for controlling the breath. Mantra yoga is highly beneficial to the practitioner as it improves overall health and mental stability.
Although Mantra yoga is generally considered an innovation of Hinduism, it has been adopted and developed by other religions as well. Religions like Buddhism and Jainism have embraced Mantra yoga as part of their efforts to reach enlightenment.
Mantra yoga can be practiced in three ways. The first way is called Bukhari, wherein the mantra is chanted in a loud manner. This type of chanting is advantageous for removing unwanted thoughts from the mind to make the meditation process easier. The second method of chanting is called upanshu, in which the mantra is chanted in a very low voice that only the practitioner can hear. The third method is chanting the mantra silently to one’s self. This is called manasic and it is used by advanced practitioners. Individuals may also like to use mala (yoga beads) to keep count of their repetitions.
8. Kundalini Yoga ( कुंडलिनी योग )
Kundalini yoga is also called the “yoga of awareness.” Originally known as Laya yoga, the practice was brought to the West in 1969 by Yogi Bajan, the founder of 3HO (Happy, Healthy, Holy Organization).
The primary aim of Kundalini yoga is to awaken the Kundalini energy, which lies coiled, serpent-like, at the base of the spine. In Kundalini yoga, practitioners use breathing exercises, physical postures, chanting, and meditation to unlock this energy.
Kundalini means “coiled like a serpent” in Sanskrit. Kundalini energy refers to the coiled-up energy that lies at the base of the spine. When released, this energy moves from the base of the spine through the seven chakras (or energy centers) in the spine. Specific meditation and breathing techniques were used to tap the kundalini energy, and these practices were known as Laya yoga. This school of yoga was founded by Sage Gorakshnatha, a sage from Nepal.
The ancient practice of Laya yoga was secret and finds mention in classical Indian texts such as the Upanishads (which date back to 500 B.C.E.). The secrecy of these practices was challenged and it was eventually taught publicly to the West in 1969 by Yogi Bajan.
Kundalini yoga is a combination of specific kriyas and meditation aimed at raising the kundalini energy. The practices also help prepare the practitioner physically and spiritually for the intensity of this energy. Each kundalini class begins with a chant and is followed up by a warmup for the spine. The main part of the class is the kriyas, which combine postures and breathing techniques and end with a meditation and chant.