Article by Craig Perkins
The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word Yuj, which means to join or unite. The word implies the acts of joining or uniting the body with the mind and the mind with the soul. The goal of this union is to achieve a happy, balanced and useful life.
For many centuries, many yoga paths have become specialized. The philosophy of yoga comes from many sources and has been taught and written about by many different teachers. The Vedas and the Upanishads provide some of the earliest references to differing paths of yoga but they are compilations of yoga teachings that were handed down for centuries prior to their creation.
Stories of yoga are portrayed in early versions of the Puranas, the Ramayana and the Mahabarat. Most of these embrace the spiritual aspects of yoga. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika is a more technical presentation of exercise and breathing practices.
Over time, differing teachers have developed their own methodologies and philosophies. The Yoga Sutras was written more than 2200 years ago and brought together all known theories and practices as of that time. Many of today’s yoga practices have roots in these original teachings.
Amazingly, the Sutras are still considered a very compelling and profound study of the human psyche. Teachers have adapted their interpretations of the Sutras to the era in which they practice. The goals have always remained achieving the perfect balance through a union of the body and mind.
The Yogis believe that the body is the primary instrument in our work and growth. As a result, proper care of the body allows students to realize their potential and achieve proper balance. Yoga exercises are designed to improve circulation, stimulate the abdominal organs and put pressure on the body’s glandular system. To achieve and sustain our balance, exercise, breathing and meditation are practiced. Only then can we be in balance with our environment.
Although there are numerous forms of yoga practiced today, there are six primary branches.
Hatha Yoga – This is the most common path of yoga taught in the West. Hatha Yoga incorporates physical poses (Asana), Breathing techniques (Pranayama) and meditation to achieve health and spirituality. Popular styles of Hatha Yoga include Iyengar, Integral, Astanga, Kripalu and Jiva Mukti. The common goal of these styles is healthy mind and healthy body.
Bhakti Yoga – This path is most popular in India. The focus is on heart and devotion. Yogis encourage us to find the “One” in every person and everything. By developing our abilities to accept and love, we will become devoted to the “One.”
Raja Yoga – This is the path of yoga that is described as the King of Yoga. Self-discipline is at the core of Raja Yoga. Most of the practitioners of Raja Yoga are members of religious or spiritual orders. Teachings of this path evolve around the Eight Limbs of the Yoga sutras. The self is central to this path and practitioners achieve self-respect by learning to master themselves.
Jnana Yoga – The development of the mind is central to the practitioners of Jnana Yoga. By developing one’s intelligence, man surpasses any limitations so that the mind can absorb more wisdom. This path allows man to experience other religions and philosophies as an open and rational mind are necessary to fully develop the spirit.
Karma Yoga – Karma Yoga is the path of service emphasizing that your present situation is based upon past actions. By choosing a path of selfless service, we choose a future that is free from negativity and selfishness. Practitioners commit to change their attitude toward good, change their souls and these changes alter their destiny.
Tantra Yoga – This is the most confusing of yoga paths as it singularly focuses on man’s rituals to experience those things that are sacred. Tantra Yoga is the path of rituals. Tantra Yogis must possess qualities like humility, purity, devotion, dedication, cosmic love and truthfulness to embrace man’s rituals. Sex is just one of the paths of this yoga.
Yoga is not a religion. In fact, yoga is practiced by persons of many differing faiths. Yoga is a set of techniques that enable us to develop and understand our spirituality. Similarly, yoga is not an exercise plan although exercise does develop physical fitness which allows us to perform better mentally. However, yoga practices strive to develop the mental side as well as the physical side. More than anything else, yoga is a spiritual quest that includes improved health, happiness, tranquility and knowledge as core benefits.
About the Author
Yandara.com offers yoga certification emphasizing yoga practice, teaching skills, organizing a class, creating confidence and making postural corrections. Visit us online to learn Hatha Yoga with Iyengar-based precision alignment, emphasizing heart-felt energy.
Table pose to Boat pose, Yoga
In this short flow “Table pose to Boat pose, Yoga” you work on your arm strength and your shoulder health with table pose, and your abdominal strength with boat pose. The reversed table pose is a great counter pose if you practice a lot of chaturanga dandasana’s.. It balances the shoulders Table pose to boat pose, yoga Please subscribe to my channel here: www.youtube.com Go to my channel: www.youtube.com Follow me on facebook : www.facebook.com Follow me on twitter: www.twitter.com Look me up on Google+ : www.gplus.to
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