Paths of Yoga I

With dozens of Hollywood celebrities following in their Guru's lotus footsteps and the sick Western commercial behaviour exploding Yogas popularity to a system that simply enhances people's health, Yoga remains a system of spiritual unity of mind, body and soul among millions of Indians and many others from Eastern beliefs, as it has been for over five thousand years. As a result, some forms of yoga have gained significant popularity outside India, particularly in the West during the past century.

Yoga is a form of mysticism that developed on the Indian subcontinent in the Hindu cultural context. The origins of Yoga are difficult to track due to the lack of recorded testimony. One of the closest meanings of Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word "Yuj" which it is generally translated as "union" or "integration" of the individual soul with the cosmos, or higher self.

Since the goal of Yoga dwells above any bodily consciousness, it has both a philosophical and a practical dimension to achieve that ideal state. On one hand, the philosophy of yoga manages the relation of both the individual soul and the cosmos. This universal philophy enjoins the practitioner to pursue his or her own path to enlightenment. And on the other hand, its practice can be any exercise or activity that approaches the yoga practitioner to self-realization.

Four Paths of Yoga

Special practical yoga techniques have been developed by experts in yoga. Traditionally, they have been classified into four categories or paths: the path of meditation (Raja Yoga), the path of devotion (Bhakti Yoga), the path of selfless service to the Divine (Karma Yoga), and the path of intellectual analysis or the discrimination of truth and reality (Jnana Yoga).

These Yoga techniques cover a broad range, encompassing physical, mental, and spiritual activities.

? Raja Yoga involves psycho-physical meditational techniques to attain experience of the truth and finally achieve liberation described in Hindu thought to be moksha. The basis of ashtanga yoga is the Yoga sutras (Sanskrit Verses) of Patanjali. We will consider the different aspects of yoga while remaining under the guiding principles of Patanjali's Yoga (Ashtanga Yoga). Raja Yoga is a comprehensive yoga system which deals with the refinement of human behavior and personality through the practice the Yama (restraint) and Niyama (disciplines); attainment of physical health and vitality through Asana (postures) and Pranayama (pranic breathing techniques); management of mental and emotional conflicts and development of awareness and concentration through Pratyahara (sensory withdrawal) and Dharana (concentration); and developing the creative aspect of consciousness for transcendental awareness through Dhyan (meditation) & Samadhi (absorption in the universal identity).

? Bhakti Yoga is the Hindu term for the spiritual practice of fostering of loving devotion to God, called Bhakti. Traditionally there are 9 forms of bhakti yoga. Sravana (hearing of God's Lilas and stories), Kirtana (singing of His glories), Smarana (remembrance of His name and presence), Padasevana (service of His feet), Archana (worship of God), Vandana (prostration to Lord), Dasya (cultivating the Bhava of a servant with God), Sakhya (cultivation of the friend-Bhava) and Atmanivedana (complete surrender of the self). The nine modes of Bhakti are the ways in which a devotee attains the Supreme Ideal of life. A devotee can take up any of these paths and reach the highest state. The path of Bhakti is the easiest of all and is not very much against the nature of human inclinations.

? Karma Yoga focuses on the adherence to duty (dharma) while remaining detached from the reward. Karma means to do, action, including those acts done by the individual from birth to death. "Karma Yoga is the selfless devotion of all inner as well as the outer activities as a Sacrifice to the Lord of all works, offered to the eternal as Master of all the soul's energies and austerities," the Bhagavad Gita says. Following the practice of Karma yoga, an individual becomes true spiritual seeker and realizes his true nature as Atman and he lives in this world, works for this world and still stays untouched from the grossness of the mundane pleasures, thus doing immense good to the society while on his path to salvation and spiritual freedom.

The Swami Sivananda Yoga Venanda Center sums up karma yoga into five actions:

Right Attitude It's not what you do that counts, it's the attitude while doing it that determines if a job is a karma yoga job, i.e. a liberating job, or a binding job.

Right Motive Same as attitude. It is not what you do that counts but your real motive behind it.

Do your duty. Give your best. Give results.

? Jnana Yoga. This is the most difficult path, requiring tremendous strength of will and intellect. Taking the philosophy of Vedanta the Jnana Yogi uses his mind to inquire into its own nature. We perceive the space inside and outside a glass as different, just as we see ourselves as separate from God. Jnana Yoga leads the devotee to experience his unity with God directly by breaking the glass, dissolving the veils of ignorance. Before practicing Jnana Yoga, the aspirant needs to have integrated the lessons of the other yogic paths - for without selflessness and love of God, strength of body and mind, the search for self-realization can become mere idle speculation.

Jnana yoga teaches that there are four means to salvation:

Viveka - Discrimination: The ability to differentiate between what is real/eternal (Brahman) and what is unreal/temporary (everything else in the universe.)

Vairagya - Dispassion: After practice one should be able to "detach" themself from everything that is "temporary."

Shad-sampat - The 6 Virtues: Tranquility (control of the mind), Dama (control of the senses), Uparati (renunciation of activities that are not duties), Titiksha (endurance), Shraddha (faith), Samadhana (perfect concentration).

Mumukshutva - Intense longing for liberation from temporal limitations.

Alma De la Cruz, a staff mystic employed by http://www.psychicrealm.com, has a profound personal history where she has unabashedly delved deep into the heart of occult mysteries for an extensive period of her life. Her name literally means "Soul of the Cross" in Spanish. Currently she is working publishing a manuscript that delves into the mysteries of Hispanic new age beliefs incorporating old insights with new spiritual methodologies. Check out her bi weekly metaphysical column: http://www.newagenotebook.com where she takes a new twist, incorporating Latin shamanistic philosophies with leading edge occult beliefs.

In The News:


4 Reasons You Should Start Practicing Yoga Today
Huffington Post (blog)
Yoga teachers like to talk. Not all but some of them tend to go on and on about their rent, boyfriends, etc....happy, I suspect, to have a captive audience. The thing is, almost all of them are under 40, and when they talk about the many benefits of ...


WATCH: Israel takes yoga to a whole new level
Jerusalem Post
When I have tried yoga in the past, instead of drifting into spiritual abyss, my mind wanders. I tend to sit there wondering what my Mum is doing, how I need to go food shopping and what I need to do before the weekend. I can't make my mind be silent.


Yoga 101: Bikram Yoga Versus Hatha Yoga
One Green Planet
If you're new to yoga, sorting through all the different types can be slightly confusing. Vinyasa, Bikram, Hatha…and the list goes on. To help you get orientated with a few of these types, let's compare Bikram and Hatha, two common offerings at many ...


Michelle Rodriguez Strikes A Yoga Pose In Neon Bikini (PHOTO)
Huffington Post
The "Fast and the Furious" star posted a picture of herself in an impressive yoga headstand next to the luxury car late last week. Donning only a neon pink and black bikini, the actress shared the image on Instagram with a caption expressing her more ...


Full-body worship: Yoga, prayer combine for physical, mental workout
Detroit Free Press
And sometimes it can show up when you are in an uncomfortable yoga position where you started by doing a push-up, then your left knee dropped to the floor near your right hip and your forearms lowered to the mat and then your right leg fell to the ...


IU Health and Vitality: Iron and heart disease, animal memory, and yoga tips
IU Bloomington Newsroom
A new study from the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington has bolstered the link between red meat consumption and heart disease by finding a strong association between heme iron, found only in meat, and potentially deadly coronary ...

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10News

Yoga instructor hopes to raise $30K for homeless
10News
Kim Bauman, founder of the fundraising group One Love San Diego, organized a three-hour event dubbed “Yoga Glow in the Night” that will benefit Monarch School, a campus that educates roughly 350 local homeless students. The event, which will be ...


Zee News

Demi Moore Planning Yoga Retreat In India During Ashton Kutcher's Wedding ...
Radar Online
Demi Moore wants nothing to do with ex-husband Ashton Kutcher's upcoming wedding to pregnant girlfriend Mila Kunis, so she's planned a relaxing out-of-town yoga retreat, RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned. According to an insider, Moore, 51, ...
Demi Moore Heading to Yoga Retreat When Ashton Kutcher Marries Mila KunisWebProNews
Demi Moore to head to India for yoga trip to avoid Ashton Kutcher`s wedding?Zee News
Moore to head India for yoga trip to avoid Kutcher's wedding?Deccan Chronicle
Mirror.co.uk
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Pancho the Chihuahua Is Excellent at Yoga
Gawker
Meet Pancho the chihuahua. As you can see in the above video, Pancho is pretty good at yoga. Cobra pose, downward dog, various stretches: this little guy can do it all. Sure, there are some yoga dog truthers out there, who say things like "It's not ...
Dog Does Yoga, And More Of 'What's Trending Today' With ZahraCBS Local

all 2 news articles »

Cunnilingua Yoga
Huffington Post (satire)
You hear of hatha, vinyasa and Iyengar along with many other styles of yoga. Now there is a new addition to the varieties of yoga experience that is being offered. Cunnilingua yoga is becoming increasingly popular due to the unique positions and ...

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