If you imagine women in impossible-looking poses, then you may have some idea of what Yoga is. But only this – some idea. You have a long way to go before you can fully understand what yoga is all about.
Yoga is an ancient Indian science dating back more than 500 years. The word “yoga” comes from the word ” Yuj ” in Sanskrit, which means “unification”, “integration”, “union”. Yoga is the union of one’s consciousness with the universal consciousness. The ancient yogis believed that to be in harmony with oneself and one’s environment, one must unite one’s body, mind, and spirit. To combine these three things, emotions, actions, and reason must be balanced. Yogis have found a way to achieve and maintain this balance and this is through exercise, breathing, and meditation – the three main yoga structures.
In yoga, the body is treated with care and respect, as it is the main tool of a person in his work and growth. Yoga exercises improve blood circulation, stimulate the abdominal organs, and put pressure on the glandular system of the body, which can mainly lead to better health.
Breathing techniques have been developed based on the concept that breathing is the source of life. In yoga, learners gain control over their breathing as they slowly increase their breathing. By focusing on their breathing, they prepare their brain for the next step – meditation.
There is a common misconception that during meditation, your mind should remain empty. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In meditation, learners focus on the activity of their mind, leading to a “quiet” mind. Through physical postures and breathing techniques that develop the consciousness of our body, yoga helps us focus and relieves us of our daily stress.
The six branches of yoga
- Hatha Yoga or Yoga of poses. Hatha Yoga is probably the yoga trail you are most familiar with, as it is the most famous branch of yoga in the West. This branch of yoga uses physical postures or asanas, breathing techniques or pranayama, and meditation to achieve better health as well as spirituality. There are many styles in this trail – Iyengar, Integral, Ashtanga, Kripalu and Jiva Mukti are just some of them. If you want a calm mind and a healthy body, Hatha Yoga may be the right path for you.
- Bhakti Yoga or Yoga of Initiation. Bhakti Yoga is the path that is most followed in India. This is the path of heart and devotion. The yogis who practice this branch see the “only” or the Divine in each and everything. Bhakti yoga teaches one to be devoted to the “only” or Brahma by developing love and accepting all things.
- Raja Yoga or Yoga of self-control. Raja means “royal”. This path is considered the king of yoga and this may be because most practitioners are members of religious and spiritual organizations. Raja Yoga is based on the teaching of the Eight Limbs of Yoga found in the Yoga Sutras. One Raja Yoga sees himself as the center, and as such, respects himself and all creatures, which is vital to this path. They achieve self-esteem by first learning to be masters of themselves. If you want to learn discipline, then Raja Yoga is perfect for you.
- Jnana Yoga or Yojana Consciousness. Jnana Yoga is the path of yoga that mainly deals with the mind, and as such, it focuses on one’s intelligence. Jnana Yogis consider wisdom and intellect to be important, and they seek to unite the two to transcend limitations. As they seek knowledge, they are open to other philosophies and religions because they believe that an open and rational mind is crucial in knowing the spirit.
- Karma Yoga or Yojana is selfless service. Karma Yoga is the path of service because in this path it is believed that your current situation is based on your past actions. So through this selfless service now, you are choosing a future without negativity and selfishness. Karma yogis change their attitude towards the good, and in the process, they change their souls, which leads to a change in their destiny.
- Tantra Yoga or Yojana Rituals. Perhaps the most misunderstood of all paths, Tantra Yoga is about using rituals to experience the sacred. Although sex is part of it, sex is not the only thing in Tantra Yoga, as this path aims to find what is sacred in everything we do. Tantra Yogis must possess certain qualities such as purity, humility, devotion, devotion to their guru, cosmic love, and fidelity, among other things.
There are still many misconceptions about yoga, such as that yoga is a religion. Yoga is not a religion. It is rather a set of techniques to find spirituality.
Yoga is practiced by many people of different religions, such as Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and Muslims.
Another misconception is that yoga is an exercise, a way to keep fit. This is partly true, but if you think that yoga is just that, then you are very wrong. Yoga develops the body because the weak person finds it difficult to grow spiritually. It focuses not only on the physical but also on the mental and spiritual aspects.