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:


CNN

Sleep better with six minutes of bedtime yoga
CNN
Dana Santas is the creator of Radius Yoga Conditioning, a yoga style designed to help athletes move, breathe and focus better. She's the yoga trainer for the Atlanta Braves, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Lightning, Orlando ...

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Raw Story

Texas woman smiles with pride after setting fire to yoga studio to 'get rid of ...
Raw Story
The 41-year-old Duarte, who goes by Suzanne, said she smiled in the photo to help let go of the anger that drove her to American Power Yoga with a baseball bat and can of gasoline, reported the TV station. She said the studio had brought her “so much ...
Woman explains smiling mugshot after arrest for burning down yoga studioNew York's PIX11 / WPIX-TV
Why Is This Woman Smiling? Because She Just Set Fire to a Yoga StudioGawker
Angry Woman Tries to Burn Down Yoga Studio...Then Takes One of the Most ...IJ Review
People Magazine -Daily Caller
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azcentral.com

These yoga poses land Scottsdale woman in jail
azcentral.com
Good for Scottsdale police for arresting the, um, augmented yoga instructor who they say preyed on boys last weekend at a party. It seems 32-year-old Lindsey Ann Radomski is quite proud of her DDD's, or whatever the size of her made-to-order breasts, ...


azcentral.com

Scottsdale PD: Yoga instructor flashed, abused kids at bar mitzvah
azcentral.com
Radomski, a yoga instructor, was arrested on suspicion of sexual abuse and sexual conduct with a minor, Hoster said. She was held on a $10,000 bond and will have to wear an electronic monitoring device if she is released from custody, according to ...
Yoga Teacher Allegedly Allows Young Teens to Fondle Her BreastsBreitbart News
Arizona yoga teacher arrested for alleged sex abuse of teen boysYahoo News
Yoga instructor 'exposed new breast implants and performed sex act on teenage ...mirror.co.uk
Daily Mail
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Port Huron Times Herald

Happy Dog Yoga to open, encourage young athletes
Port Huron Times Herald
During their 2007 Division 4 state title run, Marine City's head coach Tony Scarcelli introduced yoga to his team. Former offensive coordinator and current head coach Ron Glodich has been around football long enough to notice the difference in his ...


CBS News

Woman explains smiling mugshot after arson arrest
CBS News
The door to American Power Yoga in Dallas was boarded up Monday, but the manager tells the station the damage is minimal, and they are moving forward with regularly scheduled classes. Nancy Duarte -- who goes by Suzanne -- admits she's responsible ...
Woman's Only Regret About Setting Fire to Yoga Studio Is It Didn't Burn to the ...New York Magazine
Smiling Arsonist Burns Yoga Studio: 'It Was Kind of a Celebration'Jezebel
Woman sets fire to yoga studio after being sexually harassedDeath and Taxes
Cosmopolitan.com (blog)
all 7 news articles »

Quartz

Catholic priests are stirring up an epidemic of yogaphobia
Quartz
We see yoga practically everywhere we turn, from strip-mall yoga studios to advertisements for the Gap. So it seems reasonable to assume that yoga is near-universally accepted, if not practiced. But a growing number of individuals and institutions ...


Taylor business brings hot yoga classes Downriver
Southgate News Herald
Fedel, who has five years of experience as a certified teacher, will begin teaching March 31 at Taylor Yoga, which is owned by his wife, Connie Fedel. The class will be a bit of a homecoming for Vince since it was Connie who initially introduced him to ...


Huffington Post

Introduction to Kundalini: The Yoga of Awareness
Huffington Post
Yoga today is an urban trend, growing quickly in popularity since the turn of the 21st Century. The irony of yoga's "now" status as a popular workout is that the practice is among the oldest rituals known to man. Today's polished yoga centers and ...


Forbes

Employers Boost Wellness Spending 17% From Yoga To Risk Assessments
Forbes
The nation's employers, trying to boost participation in corporate wellness programs to improve the health of their workers, this year have increased spending by 17 percent on everything from biometric screening and yoga classes to incentives to walk more.

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Google News

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