What is yoga? As commonly understood.
Today people mostly think of yoga as just a kind of aerobic exercise. This is because most of people have got many health benefits from yoga. When you know, what is yoga? You understand that health benefits are just preliminary effects of yoga.
What is Yoga Actually?
Yoga means to unite. Yoga is the practice of uniting our conscience to universal conscience. For theists, it is the practice of uniting a soul to the God. What is yoga can actually only be explained by a siddha yogi (a practitioner of yoga who has reached the state of union), in terms of what that final union feels like. But, talking about just the method, it is the path that a yogi follows.
Yoga as the practice is a discipline which when followed by someone properly aligns his mind, body and soul with each other to promote physical, social and spiritual well-being of the person and enables the person to withstand the intense experience of enlightenment. What is yoga can be realized by anyone by sincere practice.
How Many Types of Yoga are There?
Today, we listen about so many types of yoga. Actually, I have seen terms on internet being searched as “hot yoga” and “bikram yoga”. I mean it is ridiculous. Basically, when people started using yoga as business, they wanted to have a keyword, something that can make them look different. That is the main reason why we hear about so many types of yoga today. Most of these types of yoga that is taught in big branded organizations today are just modified Raj Yoga or Yoga of Mind Control.
How Many Types of Yoga Actually Exist?
There are mainly just four types of yoga. All of them are very different from one another. Yet, they all can also be practiced together. They are:
- Gyan Yoga (Yoga of Knowledge): This type of yoga gives most importance to knowledge. The practitioner questions everything in great details. He tries to reach the core of everything. This is the birth place of philosophy.
- Karma Yoga (Yoga of Action): This type of yoga gives most importance to actions. The practitioner works without any motive to gain or lose anything. He works just for the sake of incorporating his duties. This frees him from any effect of any action.
- Raj Yoga (Yoga of Mind Control): This type of yoga focuses on mind control. This is the famous Maharshi Patanjali Ashtang Yoga (The Great Sage Patanjali’s Eight Step Process of Yoga). Yam (Morals), Niyam (Discipline), Asana (Posture), Pranayam (Regulated Breathing), Pratyahar (Renunciation), Dharana (Concentration), Dhyan (Meditation) and Samadhi (Super Conscious Awareness) are the eight limbs of Raj Yoga. Hath Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Sahaj Yoga and various meditation techniques are all focused on only one or the other part of it with slight modifications to just get it patented for an organization.
- Bhakti Yoga (Yoga of Devotion): This is the type of yoga with gives most importance to devotion and love. I believe by one or the other way one has to finally reach to a state where he cannot move forward without love or devotion. This is the kind of yoga we see Vaishnavas (followers of Lord Krishna) following. For such a practitioner, words of the Lord are above any reasoning and must be followed.
We will discuss all of these in details in our next articles. Feel free to share your comments and ask any questions. I will be glad to know what you think. Thanks.