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    Yoga Explained

    Yoga in Detail

    Here is a detailed explanation on Yoga. The yoga widely known in the West is based on hatha yoga, which forms one aspect of the ancient Hindu system of religious and ascetic observance and meditation, the highest form of which is raja yoga and the ultimate aim of which is spiritual purification and self-understanding leading to samadhi or union with the divine.

    There are four main Yogas:

    • Bhakti Yoga is a devotional form of yoga.
      It changes emotion to devotion. It seeks to trust love. Reading and singing the name of God helps the participant to surrender to God.
    • Karma Yoga is selfless service.
      It focuses on selfless actions without a thought of personal reward.
    • Jnana Yoga.
      Tthis is the most direct path. Its steps are to study the Holy Scriptures such as the Puranas Vedas under the guidance of a teacher. The focus here is intellectual analysis of the Vedas. Using the intellect it strives to negate bondage to the material world.
    • Raja Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga.
      It has eight limbs. Raja yoga’s focus is on the mind and its control, through analysis. Its applied techniques bring the mind under control and achieve high states of consciousness.
      Raja Yoga’s eight limbs are as follows:
      Yamas, Niyamas, Asanas, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.


    Bhakti Yoga

    Bhakti is the term that signifies a blissful, selfless and overwhelming love of God as the beloved Father, Mother, Child, Friend or whichever relationship or personal aspect of God that finds appeal in the devotee’s heart.
    There is nine primary activities of bhakti, with the instruction that by following all, or just one, of these activities perfectly the aspiring devotee can achieve pure love of God:

    • Hearing about the Lord – singing & chanting God’s names /japa /hearing stories from scripture.
    • Glorifying the Lord – describing God’s all-attractive features.
    • Remembering the Lord – internal meditation on the Lord’s form, activities, names or personality.
    • Serving the lotus feet of the Lord – providing a form of physical service.
    • Worshiping the Lord -deity worship puja is a popular form of this within India.
    • Offering prayers to the Lord – any form of prayer offered to please God.
    • Serving the Lord – offering a service for Lord’s pleasure, such as preaching activity.
    • Building a friendship with the Lord – having an internal, loving relationship with God.
    • Surrendering everything unto the Lord – surrendering one’s thoughts, actions and deeds to God.

    Karma Yoga

    The word Karma is derived from the Sanskrit Kri, meaning ‘to do’, in its most basic sense karma simply means action, and yoga translates to union. Thus Karma yoga literally translates to the path of union through action. It is described as a way of acting, thinking and willing by which one acts in accordance with one’s duty (dharma) without consideration of personal selfish desires, likes or dislikes. Acting without being attached to the fruits of one’s deeds.

    Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty, for by working without attachment one attains the Supreme.

    Jnana Yoga

    Jnâna yoga teaches that there are several means to salvation:

    • Viveka – Discrimination: The ability to differentiate between what is real/eternal (Brahman) and what is unreal/temporal (everything else in the universe.)
    • Vairagya – Dispassion: After practice one should be able to “detach” her/himself from everything that is “temporary.”
    • Shad-sampat – The 6 Virtues: Tranquility (control of the mind),
    • Dama (control of the senses),
    • Uparati (renunciation of activities that are not duties),
    • Titiksha (endurance),
    • Shraddha (faith),
    • Samadhana (perfect concentration).
    • Mumukshutva – Intense longing for liberation from temporal limitations. /From Samsara/

    Raja Yoga

    Raja Yoga is so-called because it is primarily concerned with the mind. The mind is traditionally conceived as the “king” of the psycho-physical structure which does its bidding (whether or not one has realized this). Because of the relationship between the mind and the body, the body must be first “tamed” through self-discipline and purified by various means ( Hatha Yoga). A good level of overall health and psychological integration must be attained before the deeper aspects of yoga can be pursued. Humans have all sorts of addictions and obsessions and these preclude the attainment of tranquil abiding (meditation). Through restraint (yama) such as celibacy, abstaining from alcohol and other hard drugs and careful attention to one’s actions of body, speech and mind, the human being becomes fit to practice meditation. This yoke that one puts upon oneself (discipline) is another meaning of the word yoga.

    Every thought, feeling, perception, or memory you may have causes a modification, or ripple, in the mind. It distorts and colors the mental mirror. If you can restrain the mind from forming into modifications, there will be no distortion, and you will experience your true Self.


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