Yoga according to the Masters is realizing that we are united with the divine. The key to reach the highest goal of Yoga, that is self realization is not factual knowledge, but a dedicated practice.
The tradition of Yoga describes a lot of techniques in order to accommodate the beliefs and temperaments of all people. It is important to understand that if we have to practice Yoga seriously, a bit of all these techniques will have to be mixed based on our lifestyles and our personality. In this article we are attempting to convey how a common man while doing his daily activities can practice Yoga.
So, let us begin with the body. The body is a very important vehicle for Yoga and it is very important to maintain this. Therefore, Hatha Yoga describes postures for maintenance of physical health. But the Yoga of body is called the Karma Yoga. Karma Yoga is about using the body in order to realize Yoga. It is about performing our daily duties and work with complete involvement, and not expecting any fruits from it. In other words, if we have to play the role of a mother, according to Karma Yoga, we have to do it with full involvement not expecting any rewards from it. The same holds true when we have to play the role of a spouse, an employee, a friend etc. Hence, Karma Yoga is probably the most easiest practice of Yoga for a common man, and something that can be done 24 hours a day.
Just like we know that we have a body, we also know that we have emotions. The Yoga of emotions is called Bhakti Yoga or the Yoga of devotion. It is expressing devotion to any form which one regards as divinity incarnated. It can be a great saint, it can be a Guru, or it can be any other form of God. The specific form is unimportant, it is the devotion that we personally feel that is important. This method has been used by many religions practiced in the world today. This devotional path is an excellent means of giving direction and release to emotions and feelings, which tend to be pent up or suppressed. Through devotion, the emotions are released and channeled towards making the mind one- pointed. But this is not good path if the devotion is forced upon a person. Only if one is devotionally inclined, he can follow the path of Bhakti Yoga.
The Yoga of our energies is called Kriya Yoga. This energy is nothing but the life force or the vital force which gives us what is called ‘Life’ .Death is considered to be an absence of this life force. Kriya Yoga is very practical. It is done by practicing Asanas (Physical postures), Pranayama (manipulation of breath), Mudra (gestures), Bandha (physio psychic locks), Mantra (special sound pattern which can produce subtle impact and change ) and psychic passage awareness. Most people who attend Yoga classes are in fact performing Kriya Yoga at various levels.
The Yoga of Intellect is called Jnana Yoga. This is probably the most difficult path to Yoga but for few people, it is natural. This Yoga is about development of intuitive faculty. It requires a strong will power and an overwhelming obsessive desire to find answers. The answers are not to be gained by reading, but through experience and self enquiry. A Jnana Yogi first of all needs to throw out all concepts, dogmas and ideas that are not known to be true through personal experience and then must start enquiry. Although people don’t realize it, Jnana Yoga is the method of scientific discovery, artistic creation and musical inspiration as they all defy logic. Therefore, the path of intellect is about pursuing an enquiry through thick and thin until the answer is realized.
These are the four basic forms of Yoga. For different people one form may be easier to practice than the other. We must try to inculcate all of these practices in our daily lives so that we can move ahead in our journey of self discovery through Yoga.
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