“Yoga is a journey of the Self… through the Self… to the Self” ~ Bhagavad Gita
“Yoga is stilling of the modifications of the mind field” ~ Patanjali
The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘yuj’ meaning to bind, join, to direct and concentrate one’s attention on, to use and apply. It also means union or communion.
Yoga is a system that recognises the multi-dimensional nature of the human person, and primarily relates to the nature and workings of the mind, based on experiential practice and self-enquiry.
In Yoga, the body, breath and mind are seen as a union of these multi-dimensional aspects of each and every human being. The system and various techniques of Yoga cultivate the experience of that union, leading to greater integration of being, internal peacefulness, and clarity of the mind. It is a system that is designed to cultivate health and happiness, and a greater sense of self-awareness and higher consciousness.
Types of Yoga
The four paths of Yoga: There are four traditional schools of Yoga, and these are:
- Jnana Yoga: Jnana Yoga is the path of knowledge, wisdom, introspection and contemplation. It involves deep exploration of the nature of our being by systematically exploring and setting aside false identities.
- Bhakti Yoga: Bhakti Yoga is the path of devotion, emotion, love, compassion, and service to God and others. All actions are done in the context of remembering the Divine.
- Karma Yoga: Karma Yoga is the path of action, service to others, mindfulness, and remembering the levels of our being while fulfilling our actions or karma in the world.
- Raja Yoga: Raja Yoga is a comprehensive method that emphasizes meditation, while encompassing the whole of Yoga. It directly deals with the encountering and transcending thoughts of the mind. The Patanjali Yoga Sutras gives a complete understanding of Raja Yoga
Integration of Hatha Yoga: In the text Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Hatha Yoga (often called “physical yoga”) is described as also related to Kundalini Yoga. It also explains that the purpose of Hatha Yoga is Raja Yoga. Thus, we can easily see the relationship of Hatha Yoga and Kundalini Yoga as being parts or aspects of Raja Yoga, which is one of the traditional four paths of Yoga.