6 major branches of yoga

Raja Yoga literally means “Royal Yoga” or the “The Royal Path”.  This branch refers to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (196 aphorisms that constitute the foundational text of yoga).    The 8-limb approach of Raja Yoga is as follows:   1) Yama (ethical observances), 2)  Niyama (self observances), 3)  Asana (postures), 4)  Pranayama (breath control), 5)  Prathyahara (withdrawal of the senses), 6) Dharana (concentration), Dhyani (meditation) , Samadhi (union with the divine, absolute realization).

Jnana Yoga means the “path of wisdom”.  The world renowned spiritual leader, Krishnamurti, spoke internationally about examining the condition of one’s own mind.   Becoming “The Watcher”. He said that in order to love unconditionally, you have to let go of all of your beliefs.  This path focusses on direct observation and dismantling attachments.   Vipassana meditation, which means to see things as they really are, follows this path.  It is a meditation method that has been practiced in India for thousands of years.

Bhakti Yoga means “devotional” yoga practice or “the path of spiritual devotion”.  It’s objective is to achieve union with the divine or pure awareness.  The Bhagavid Gita is an important text for this branch of Yoga.  SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Hatha Yoga refers to the physical practice of Yoga or asana practice.

Karma Yoga means “path of action” or “discipline of action”.  This path focusses on achieving perfection in action.  Ghandi was a teacher of Karma Yoga.

Tantra Yoga refers to the meditation and ritual path of Yoga.

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