With dozens of Hollywood celebrities following in their Guru’s lotus footsteps and 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 West during past century. Yoga is a form of mysticism that developed on Indian subcontinent in Hindu cultural context. The origins of Yoga are difficult to track due to lack of recorded testimony. One of closest meanings of Yoga comes from Sanskrit word “Yuj” which it is generally translated as “union” or “integration” of individual soul with cosmos, or higher self.
Since 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, philosophy of yoga manages relation of both individual soul and cosmos. This universal philophy enjoins practitioner to pursue his or her own path to enlightenment. And on other hand, its practice can be any exercise or activity that approaches 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: path of meditation (Raja Yoga), path of devotion (Bhakti Yoga), path of selfless service to Divine (Karma Yoga), and path of intellectual analysis or 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 truth and finally achieve liberation described in Hindu thought to be moksha. The basis of ashtanga yoga is Yoga sutras (Sanskrit Verses) of Patanjali. We will consider different aspects of yoga while remaining under guiding principles of Patanjali's Yoga (Ashtanga Yoga). Raja Yoga is a comprehensive yoga system which deals with refinement of human behavior and personality through practice 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 creative aspect of consciousness for transcendental awareness through Dhyan (meditation) & Samadhi (absorption in universal identity).
•Bhakti Yoga is Hindu term for 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 Bhava of a servant with God), Sakhya (cultivation of friend-Bhava) and Atmanivedana (complete surrender of self). The nine modes of Bhakti are ways in which a devotee attains Supreme Ideal of life. A devotee can take up any of these paths and reach highest state. The path of Bhakti is easiest of all and is not very much against nature of human inclinations.