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:


Rare Vintage Yoga Photos | The Weather Channel
The Weather Channel
Modern yoga, as we know it today, gained popularity about 150 years, slowly trickling down from Indian spiritual leaders to a small population of curious yogis to finally, the masses, David Gordon White, a scholar of yoga and religious studies, writes ...


CNET

'Did you break this?' Lenovo Yoga ad pranks stunned shoppers
CNET
This time the fun comes courtesy of Lenovo, which tried a "prankvertising" approach to promoting its flexible Lenovo Yoga 3 laptop to Millennial consumers who might not be as receptive to traditional advertising. The stunt involves UCB members posing ...
Yoga Tablet 2 and Tablet 2 Pro review: Innovative but imperfectComputerworld
Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro review: slim and sexy comes with some trade-offsEngadget
Lenovo Pranks Shoppers for Yoga 3 AdPC Magazine
Tech Times -SlashGear
all 39 news articles »

San Jose Mercury News

What yoga can do for men physically and mentally
San Jose Mercury News
Jim Scheer used to "hem and haw" at his wife's suggestions that he sit in on her yoga class. "It was kind of like walking into a nail salon or something," he says, recalling how he felt at the time. "There were only a handful of men in that group of 20 ...
Photos: The men's yoga movementSan Jose Mercury News media center

all 4 news articles »

Yoga: Doctor talks health benefits, getting started
Newsday
Western medicine has forgotten that there is more to good health than just CT scans and cholesterol levels. There are emotional and spiritual components often neglected by rushed health care providers. Many Americans, myself included, have turned to ...

and more »

Quartz

Americans ruined yoga for the rest of the world
Quartz
Countless articles about the highly lucrative and often ridiculed yoga culture begin by locating us within a spacious, candlelit studio with polished wood floors, possibly bamboo in—pick your random major metro area. On the occasion of my visit to a ...


Review: Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro
ZDNet
The newest tablet, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, is one of the largest tablets on any platform, with a 13.3-inch display that offers extremely high resolution (2560x1440). It features a premium audio system including a 5-watt subwoofer and two 1.5-watt front ...


Eddie Stern: Yoga To Rewire Your Brain & Activate Your Genes For Radical Well ...
Huffington Post
Around the time I was 18 I learned about yoga from a friend," Eddie recalled in an episode of NEWSWIRE.FM'S program ONE WORLD with Deepak Chopra. Eddie realized that he was able to achieve the clarity and consciousness with yoga and meditation ...


Who Even Knew Airports Had Yoga Rooms?
Huffington Post
I peered inside and found a dark, quiet room with serene blue walls, hardwood floors, and yoga mats. One lone traveler was lying in peaceful shavasana. She looked so calm, her arm folded over her eyes. As if the insanity of the airport didn't even exist.

and more »

New York Times

Meet Jaysea DeVoe, One of the Youngest Yoga Teachers in the United States
New York Times
On a sunny Saturday morning on Catalina Island, a group of students planted their feet on the pebbled beach and unfurled their yoga mats. Jaysea DeVoe, their 80-pound instructor, stood before them, clad in black-and-white striped yoga pants, giggling ...


How Naked Yoga Can Lead To A Better Sex Life
Huffington Post
On the basis that facing your fear and trying new things keeps you young, Janey Hedge of High50 takes herself to a south London yoga studio on a Monday morning to try naked yoga for the first time. Yoga is about seeing yourself clearly, after all.

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Google News

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Paths of Yoga I

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