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Which Yoga Path Is Right For You?

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Different Types of Yoga

Choosing a yoga path is an excellent way to embrace the spiritual aspects of mind and body practice. Although some people prefer one path over another, it's not necessary to limit yourself to just one path. Combining aspects of several different paths can help you personalize your approach to yoga.

Bhakti Yoga

Bhakti yoga focuses on creating a positive, accepting energy, developing a stronger relationship with God or a supreme being, or just embracing spirituality in general. Traditionally, Bhakti followers held ceremonies to worship supreme beings or yoga gurus.

Worship ceremonies can be part of the Bhakti practice today, although it's not necessary to participate in formal ceremonies to feel spiritually connected. For example, if being in nature inspires you, you may want to make plenty of time for outdoor activities or yoga sessions. Meditation and chanting may help you center yourself and embrace your spirituality.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga, the most well-known and widely practiced branch, combines poses, breathing, and meditation to balance the mind and body. While you move your body through a series of poses, you'll match each individual movement with your breathing.

Breath control not only makes performing poses easier but also enhances your connection to your true self. Hatha yoga can help you strengthen your body, improve your health, calm your mind, eliminate negative thoughts, and reduce anxiety and worry. Hatha yoga can also include visualization and other yogic techniques.

Jnana Yoga

Jnana Yoga involves studying yogic scriptures and texts and reflecting on the lessons they provide. If you enjoy studying, exploring new concepts, and expanding your mind, Jnana can provide spiritual enlightenment and deepen your knowledge of yogic principles. Your journey will give you a better understanding of yourself and your place in the world.

Raja Yoga

If meditation is your favorite part of yoga, Raja (also called ashtanga) may be the ideal branch for you. Raja, the Hindi word for Royal, was the preferred yoga practice of kings centuries ago.

When you practice Raja yoga, you'll focus on eight components. They include ethics, self-discipline, posture, breath control, control of the senses, concentration, meditation, and one-pointed absorption. Meditating and performing a series of poses will draw you nearer to nirvana, the highest state of enlightenment.

Karma Yoga

Karma refers to the belief that actions and behaviors have consequences that will affect you in the future. This branch of yoga enhances personal enlightenment and helps you avoid negative karma by focusing on performing good deeds and improving your part of the world. Helping other people, either professionally or as a volunteer, is one way to practice karma yoga.

Tantra Yoga

Although sexuality can be part of tantra yoga, this path is about much more than that. Enhancing the connections between mind, body, and spirit helps you reach spiritual enlightenment. Followers increase self-understanding, relieve stress, boost confidence, and improve intimacy by channeling their energy until it overflows.

Tantric yoga can be practiced alone or with a partner and combines poses with controlled breathing, chanting, meditation, and harnessing the power of chakras, the energy centers of your body.

Wondering what branch or type of yoga is perfect for you? Our instructors can help you explore the various paths and choose one or more that best fit your personality and goals. Contact us for information about our classes.

Sources:

Yoga Journal: The Branches of the Yoga Tree, 4/12/17

Hindu American Foundation: Yoga: Path to Moksha

Mind Body Green: Everything You Need to Know About Tantra Yoga

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