There is no doubt that you want to deepen in yoga. Stretching more maybe, or strengthening yourself to do handstands, improving your balance, relaxing… If you believe when you do the asanas (steady pose) better, you will deepen your yoga practice, I need to say that this will be just one of the steps of Raja Yoga which is one of the 4 Paths of Yoga.
Don’t be worried, you’re not alone. In the West, everybody starts yoga through asanas. Those who have deepened in Yoga, practiced something beyond body and mind, started searching for something else. What was beyond that? The answer is that the asanas are just a small piece of that.
While 4 Paths of Yoga are very well-known and practiced by so many people in India, we; Westerners are only able to get these esoteric information through initiation. Or of course for whom are interested in reading books can reach that, but can they experience it, not sure… As for everything, practice is more important than knowledge. Practicing what? Let’s learn more about 4 Paths of Yoga together.
4 Paths of Yoga
- Karma Yoga: Yoga of action; the path of selfless service
- Bhakti Yoga: Yoga of devotion
- Rāja Yoga: Yoga of mind control; the scientific approach
- Jñāna Yoga: Yoga of knowledge; the philosophical approach
Karma Yoga is always mixed with Karma philosophy. However, the name “Karma” is just mutual. This path involves the dedication of all work as an offering to the God or whatever power you believe in. It’s the any kind of service done without expecting any reward as a fruit of the action.
Karma Yogi, sees the one dwelling in all living beings and does his/her actions for whole. By not thinking of their own personal needs and desires, they help every creature, including animals, the planet and the whole world. Eventually the heart is expanded, and One-ness is realized.
Karma Yoga can be practiced at all times and under all conditions. We can witness the change in us by sprinkling a little bit of it into our everyday life.
Bhakti is the devotional approach of yoga. Bhakti Yoga, is the surest, easiest and safest way of practice. Bhakta (Bhakti Yogi), doesn’t try to get rid of his/her emotions, seeks to harness the emotions by sublimating them into devotion. Bhakti in their search for the Truth, is devoted to God (The Is-ness) and all forms of it.
Bhakti Yoga, can be practised by praying, chanting, japa (repeating a mantra or name of the God), reading stories about God or the saints, applying ceremonies and rituals.
Bhakta develops humility, surrenders himself and feels himself as a piece of God. The only thing is needed to pay attention for is the thiniest line in between devotion and fanatics. Cause in every emotional person has this kind of tendencies.
Rāja Yoga, is the scientific, step-by-step approach of yoga. With Rāja Yoga techniques, mind can be controlled in order to attain the higher states of consciousness. There are two sub-paths of Rāja Yoga; which are Hatha Yoga and Kundalini Yoga. In order to be a master of this path, it is essential to control prana (the life force). Meaning that, the dormant kundalini energy is awakened by controlling prana. Then mind is controlled automatically.
There are 8 limbs of Rāja Yoga, can be reached in details through this post: Mind Control; Raja Yoga as A Method.
This is the most direct way of the four paths. Jñāna Yoga is an intellectual approach for spiritual growth; self-realisation. Through right inquiry; vicāra and constant self analyze viveka (discrimination power) mind can examine its own naturee.
Jñāna Yoga is said to be the hardest path. It’s not because of its the superior. Before attempting it, you must be firmly grounded in the other disciplines. A sharp, keen intellect, unclouded by emotions, is necessary.
Through Vedānta; the last parts of ancient Hindu scriptures, Jñāni (Jñāna Yogi) tries to learn to discriminate between what is finite, and so unreal, and infinite. Vairāgya; dispassion is developed. According to Vedānta there is no direct way other than Jñāna towards liberation, such as rituals, actions, duties or charity. It can just be experienced personally by intuition.
While intellect can just understand and explain the finite, even intellect must be discarded after exhausting and objective inquiry towards the Truth. This is Self-Realisation.
Who am I?
Whatever the path you are taking, which religion you believe in, even if you don’t believe in anything, it’s not important how you answer ‘Who am I?’. The most important thing is to follow what is best for you. Whatever vibrates in you through the identity you have chosen in this life for yourself, just go for it. No matter what!
What is the meaning of life other than the true happiness is in you?!
Gerçek mutluluğun özde olduğunu hatırlamak değilse nedir hayatın anlamı? Whatever it takes to turn into your own true self, do it. But, while doing this, just keep in mind not to fell into trap by your mind. Don’t discriminate yourself from the others. Love! Love is your nature. And even if the self-realisation processes are different, we are not different than each other. We are the pieces of the whole. We are one! We all are on the same boat to the ‘One’.
So have a safe trip!
Source: Sivananda Yoga Teachers’ Training Manual, 2016
For other yoga and wellness posts: http://www.journalofayogini.com/kategori/yoga-wellness
For travel destinations: http://www.journalofayogini.com/kategori/travel-with-me