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:


What's Behind Dear Kate's No-Underwear Yoga Pants
Huffington Post
Lingerie company Dear Kate's new no-underwear yoga pants make a lot of promises: No panty lines. No bunching. No riding up. No camel toe. No stressing about comfort. And they'll make your butt look great. If they can deliver all that, the new pants ...

and more »

2 local yoga studios close without warning
KOIN.com
“The Bikram Yoga community is pretty trustworthy.” People showing up for classes said they were given no warning about the closure, and just this week, the owner posted a Groupon deal on his website for the studios with the dates ranging from Oct. 21 ...

and more »

KSAT San Antonio

Fox Tech teacher uses yoga balls in classroom
KSAT San Antonio
“I come in and I (say,) 'Yeah, Ms. Lankes' class!'” said Julia Ortiz, a Fox Tech freshman. This is the second year Lankes has gone to the yoga ball bounce to help her students. “When I started (using) the yoga balls, I spent the first two weeks of ...


ABC News

No-Underpants Yoga Pants May Be Next Darling of Workout World
ABC News
One product is poised to solve these problems and take the yoga world -- and the world of women who wear yoga pants but don't practice yoga -- by storm. Dear Kate, a company that had previously manufactured only high-performance underwear, will be ...


Attorneys file final appeal over yoga in schools
Coast News
ENCINITAS — The battle over whether Encinitas Union School District's yoga program promotes religion in public schools took another step recently as attorneys suing the district announced they had filed their final appeal brief, setting the stage for ...

and more »

ZDNet

Lenovo launches 13-inch Windows Yoga Tablet 2
ZDNet
The Lenovo Yoga line of tablets gets a new member with a 13-inch Yoga Tablet 2 running Windows 8.1. This joins the existing 8- and 10-inch Yoga Tablet 2 and features a kickstand that houses a long-life battery of up to 15 hours. The kickstand rotates ...
Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro First ImpressionsPaul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows
Lenovo's 13-inch Yoga Tablet 2 adds a Quad HD display and Windows 8.1CNET
Who needs a PC? Lenovo's new 13-inch Windows Yoga Tablet 2 can do it allDigital Trends
Ars Technica -PCWorld
all 100 news articles »

Yoga NoMa is the first studio to say 'namaste' to the neighborhood
Washington Post
In Amanda Kitanga's neighborhood in Chicago, she could easily walk to four different yoga studios. So when the 26-year-old moved to D.C. earlier this year, Kitanga looked for a place near her new NoMa apartment to keep up her practice. There wasn't one.


Yoga program helps youths in detention find peace
Arizona Daily Star
The yoga classes are one of many programs offered at the Pima County Juvenile Detention Center to supplement the regular rehabilitation and education programs for the youths detained there. Some of the other programs include poetry classes and ...


Reuters

Paddleboard yoga stands venerable practice on its head, on water
Reuters
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Move over hot, flying and spinning yoga. Paddleboard yoga is the latest trend to stand the ancient practice of breath control, body postures and movement on its head - this time on a surfboard surrounded by water. Fitness experts ...
Paddleboard yoga -- the latest fitness fadTheHealthSite

all 20 news articles »

Lenovo's new 13-inch 'Yoga' tablet is as big as its Windows Ultrabooks
Engadget
Lenovo seems to be coming full circle. After knocking our socks off with the original Yoga, a 13-inch Ultrabook whose screen could fold all the way back, the company followed up with a spinoff product called the Yoga Tablet. Today, the lineup includes ...

Google News

Using Yoga to Manage ADD

Exercise is a powerful tool for ADD management. Medical professionals... Read More

Some Tantric Exercises to Increase General Well-Being and Sexual Abilities

A healthy anal and genital area is of great importance... Read More

Yoga For a Beginner

Yoga for a beginner is an exciting time when you... Read More

This is Not Your Grandma?s Rocking Chair

Senior Yoga / Chair YogaIs it possible that grandparents are... Read More

The Benefit of Yoga

The benefit of yoga practice goes far beyond the actual... Read More

What is Self Mastery? ? Part 3

The next large component of self-mastery is mental health, and... Read More

Secrets of Teaching Yoga

What you are about to read applies to teaching, in... Read More

The Mystery of Enlightenment

Initially, enlightenment is living in the present moment and accepting... Read More

Mind and Thoughts

Yoga is controlling of thoughts arising in the mind. When... Read More

Yoga - The Solution for Insomnia

At one time, or another, all of us have experienced... Read More

Yoga is Unity

Experienced Yoga practitioners often feel discouraged when a naturally gifted... Read More

Yoga and Christianity a Conflict?

Being a practicing Christian myself, there are very few things... Read More

What is Self Mastery? - Part 1

Self Mastery, alone, sounds like a selfish term; but if... Read More

Paths of Yoga I

With dozens of Hollywood celebrities following in their Guru's lotus... Read More

Positive Energy

Cultivating positive energy: Most of us who study Yoga have... Read More

Don?t Focus on Failure

Internal defeat is a state of mind, where you begin... Read More

Pain and Sorrow

Patanjali in his Yogasutra describes that people are afflicted with... Read More

Yoga Clothes for Comfort, Functionality ? and Lets Not Leave Out Fun!

Yoga clothes should be comfortable and functional. They should allow... Read More

Christian Yoga?

There is an interesting article in the September 5th issue... Read More

What is Patanjalis Ashtanga Yoga?- Part(I)

The Sanskrit word 'Yoga' has two meaning, because it is... Read More

The Benefit of Pilates

Pilates can benefit your overall health and sense of well-being... Read More

Understanding the Different Types of Yoga

Yoga is becoming a more and more popular activity in... Read More

Ayurveda and Yoga, Ancient Sister Sciences

Ayurveda and yoga are sister sciences that have been united... Read More

How to Find the Right Yoga Teacher?

I am often asked by beginners about how to evaluate... Read More

Yoga Accessories? Getting What You Really Need

Unlike some other sports, you don't need a lot of... Read More