Yoga is an ancient oriental technique that is practiced today in the West like any other sport. We can find it in specialized centers or gyms, combined with other sports like pilates. However,if we seek to practice yoga properly, we must follow a series of standardstaking into account two very important points: the physical and the mental. Thus, for an integral development, it is recommended to follow the 4 paths of yoga.
These 4 ways of yoga stimulate our development on different levels:action, spirituality, wisdom and mental / physical control.
Karma yoga, the first path of yoga
This is the "yoga of action".It is based, as its name indicates, on the conscious action of the person who practices it.It is associated with aspects such as attitude, duty, motivation or renunciation.
The main goal of the first of the four ways of yoga is religious devotion:the individual must fully rely on his beliefs, putting aside assumptions about the result. A maxim is put into practice: the path is much more important than the destination and theDharmaor religious duty must be respected. Thekarma,that is, action, must have God for destination so that themoksha(release) occurs.
This form of yoga can be understood in different ways, even if all come together to the same idea: selfless work (which can be material or not).The result of this work will be correct according to the degree of devotion of the person.
Bhakti yoga, the second path of yoga
This type of yoga is related to spirituality.The relationship between God and the believer is important.This relation is established by reciting the name of the god in the form of mantra; the devotees also reach it through the singing of hymns and emblems. Another important part is the pilgrimage to religious places.
All these actions would bring the person closer to his divinity and result in relationships of all kinds. This form of yoga is therefore considered areligious and non-religious discipline at the same time.To establish a relationship with God through thebhakti yogamay suppose to turn into a friend of the deity, while assuming a duty to her.
Jnana yoga, the third way of yoga
Also called gñana yoga, this is the branch that considers thatwisdom or absolute knowledge is the most appropriate way to get closer to God. In this discipline, it is necessary to make the difference between the material and the immaterial, between what is real or not. The control of senses and impulses as proof of wisdom is also practiced. Renouncing pleasure and concentration are fundamental points.
Adepts of this doctrine must havea total control of their emotions, their sensory experiencesand dedicate their existence to knowledge. It's part of their process of devotion to God.
Raya yoga, the fourth way of yoga
The last of the 4 ways of yoga, therāja yoga,is described in theoldest yoga book: theYoga sutra. This doctrine considers as fundamental the mental and physical control as a method to get closer to God. This doctrine is not very clear, and that is why it has sometimes been confused or merged with other kinds of yoga. Among the yoga classes that are related to this doctrine, we find thehatha yoga,one of the most popular yoga methods in the world, based on asanas or postures.
The practice of raya yoga often involves that of meditation. To practice it, the individual must seek a quiet place and sit down to focus on the present and away from external noises. The practitioner must learn to reach a state of mental peace in his daily life.
These four ways of yoga are very ancient religious practices, described in books that are difficult to interpret. Today,our conception of yoga is from a Western point of view.We only take what interests us. We can simply try to get away from stress, relieve back pain, or connect to our spirituality in another way.