The Seven Major Types of Yoga

Article by Donald Fountain

With the Yoga tradition, there are many different strands of development. Each of these Yoga traditions has its own subdivisions. An easy way to think of this is to think about Yoga as a giant tree. This tree has eight branches. Each branch of the Yoga tree has its own unique character, but each of these branches is still part of the same tree. The great thing about the different branches of Yoga is that within this diverse discipline, you are certain to find the type of Yoga that’s right for your lifestyle and your personality.

In the discipline of Yoga, there are seven principle branches. Each of these branches is approached from a different physical and mental standpoint. Within these seven principal yoga branches, there are even smaller subdivisions, but these seven branches are what form the base of the discipline itself.

Bhakti Yoga: Those who practice this discipline believe that The Divine (also known as the Supreme Being) transcends their lives. Due to this belief, they feel moved to connect or merge with that Supreme Being through various devotions. Bhakti Yoga includes practices such as meditation upon the Divine, producing flower offerings, singing songs of praise, and thought control.

Hatha Yoga: The primary goal of all branches of Yoga is enlightenment. but all take a different approach. Hatha Yoga takes this approach via enlightenment through the body. The thought here is that the upper stages of meditation and thought are impossible to achieve without the purification and perfection of the body.

Inana Yoga: Also called philosophical yoga, Inana Yoga focuses on the idea of nondualism. This particular idea is that reality is singular. Your perceptions are only real at your current level of consciousness, and these particular things are not eventually real as distinct items. Practitioners believe that once you realize this, you have achieved enlightenment, and you become one with the Divine.

Karma Yoga: This branch of yoga focuses on a lifestyle. A lifes tyle of acting without attachment, with unselfishness, and living a life of integrity. Practitioners of this branch of yoga believe that you must act responsibly at all times, since actions have far reaching consequences.

Manta Yoga: A mantra is defined as a sound, a syllable, a word, or perhaps a group of words that is capable of producing “transformation”. Thus, Mantra Yoga is focused around using sound to harmonize not only the body but the mind. Many practitioners will receive a word or phrase from their teacher, and they are asked to repeat it as often as possible, seeking enlightenment through it.

Raja Yoga: Also known as royal, or classical yoga, is a multi-prong style of yoga that focuses on moral discipline (Yama), self-restraint (Niyama), posture (Asana), breathing (Pranayama), sensory control (pratyahara), concentration (Dharana), meditation (Dhyana), and ecstasy (Samadhi).

Tantra Yoga: One of the most complex, and therefore misunderstood branches of Yoga, this discipline is a strict spiritual discipline involving very complex rituals, and detailed visualizations of deities. This discipline is oftentimes confused with spiritualized sex. There are some sex rituals used in some schools of Tantric Yoga (called left-hand schools), but they are not a regular practice in the majority.

The decision that you make to follow will be a personal one, and highly dependent on you as a person. Many times this will come down to whether you are using yoga as fitness training, yoga as a sport, as a body-oriented therapy, a comprehensive lifestyle, or as a spiritual discipline. However you choose, the different types of yoga offer something for everyone.

About the Author

As a corporate trainer, Internet Marketer, Web Designer, Programmer, and Pastor, Don brings a wealth of experience to his article writing, and has a unique take on life. Currently, he works as a corporate trainer within one of the largest web hosting firms in the nation, and spends his time writing and maintaining several blogs, one of which is, a site devoted to ceramic cast iron cookware

King of the Hill – Yogi Victor

Funny scenes of a silly yoga instructor who tries to teach Hank yoga. (voiced by Johnny Depp) Hilarious Must watch

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