In the modern world, the South Asian art of yoga has expanded to all corners of the globe. While it is now a popular form of exercise and meditation, this has not always been the case.
To convey its spiritual message and guide sessions, yoga often uses the imagery of a tree with roots, a trunk, branches, blossoms, and fruits. Each “branch” of yoga represents a different focus and set of characteristics.
The six branches are:
Hatha yoga: This is the physical and mental branch designed to prime the body and mind.
Raja yoga: This branch involves meditation and strict adherence to a series of disciplinary steps known as the “eight limbs” of yoga.
Karma yoga: This is a path of service that aims to create a future free from negativity and selfishness.
Bhakti yoga: This aims to establish a path of devotion, a positive way to channel emotions and cultivate acceptance and tolerance.
Jnana yoga: This branch of yoga is about wisdom, the path of the scholar, and developing the intellect through study.
Tantra yoga: This is the pathway of ritual, ceremony, or consummation of a relationship.
Types Of Yoga:
shtanga yoga: This type of yoga uses ancient yoga teachings. However, it became popular during the 1970s. Ashtanga applies six established sequences of postures that rapidly link every movement to breathe.
Bikram yoga: Also known as “hot” yoga, Bikram occurs in artificially heated rooms at temperatures of nearly 105 degrees and 40 percent humidity. It consists of 26 poses and a sequence of two breathing exercises.
Hatha yoga: This is a generic term for any type of yoga that teaches physical postures. “Hatha” classes usually serve as a gentle introduction to the basic yoga postures.
Iyengar yoga: This type focuses on finding the correct alignment in each pose using a range of props, such as blocks, blankets, straps, chairs, and bolsters.
Jivamukti yoga: Jivamukti means “liberation while living.” This type emerged in 1984 and incorporates spiritual teachings and practices that focus on the fast-paced flow between poses rather than the poses themselves.
Yoga Old And Modern:
Generally speaking, the perception of Yoga has changed significantly. When we compare the traditional yoga of the ancients to today’s modern version we can see if there are indeed changes. In most classes, articles, books, blogs and other media sources on yoga, we can observe how they differ from traditions of the ancients. These modern-day practices on closer inspection are very different from those of antiquity.
Some purists of the day who see modern yoga as being so different from the traditional they refer to modern yoga as “Not Yoga”.
- To be a miner of diamonds,
- Take care of your picks and shovels.
- To be a miner of your spiritual Self,
- Take care of your body, breath, and mind.
- But don’t confuse the tools and the goals.
- Author unknown
Common Mistakes Yoga Practitioners Make:
Becoming too ambitious – It is quite common and natural to become overly ambitious and expect a lot of success right away. But this is actually a recipe for disaster. By becoming too zealous and ambitious, you tend to make huge expectations for yourself. By setting unrealistic expectations, you tend to become disappointed when you are unable to achieve them. Hence, any yoga aspirant must learn to stay realistic and avoid becoming too anxious while starting to learn Yoga.
Setting Unrealistic Expectations – We naturally tend to set unrealistic expectations for ourselves, especially in the beginning. We tend to overestimate our progress and start expecting too much too early. This is only a recipe for disaster. When you are unable to meet expectations, you lose hope and become disappointed. Hence, you must always set realistic expectations for yourself in order to get success in your yogic path.
Learn Only From Books – This is one of the most common mistakes that people make. Many people forget the importance of a true Guru and try to learn everything on their own. Although there isn’t any problem in self-learning, learning only by self, and not from a guru can backfire. As you practice Yoga Asanas, you need expert help to get the postures right. Any wrong move can cause serious physical damage. Hence, in addition to self-study, you must always learn from an experienced Yoga teacher.
Only Focus on Basic Asanas – Generally, people get stuck with the basic Asanas and not try to learn the more advanced Asanas. You must always learn Yoga in entirety, and not just get satisfied with the Asanas and postures. Yoga is a system that teaches a person to attain self-realization. Yoga is not only about learning body postures or asanas. Although Asanas is just one of the eight parts of Yoga, Yoga, essentially, is about achieving self-realization. By steady and detailed practice, one can gradually move up the spiritual ladder and attain enlightenment.
Yoga As A Way of Life:
Yoga is an art form which is vast, elaborate and could easily roundup as a comprehensive workout for an individual. Notwithstanding elaborate positive effects, yoga has on the emotional, psychological and spiritual well being of an individual. For someone who has a passion for yoga, getting in-depth know-how about the art form could have life-transforming effects for one’s psyche! You’d simply come to understand and recognize yoga in its true essence. Yoga definitely goes beyond being a set of poses which boost the individual’s flexibility while improving posture. It’s something which helps create a link between individual consciousness and divine consciousness. There are some formats of yoga which one might not be aware of.
Let’s consider Ashtanga Yoga for an instance. Ashtanga Yoga is an ancient practice which is focused on body cleansing and purification. This is achieved by synchronized body breath and movement. Ashtanga yoga tones the nervous system and over time even induce one into spiritual enlightenment. In the same way, Iyengar yoga is has been bought into practice by the living master, B.K.S. Iyengar. This is deeply focused on the art and science of asana and pranayama. Strength, coordination, improved flexibility and an enhanced sense of well being are some key benefits of Iyengar Yoga.
Perspective and Principles of Yoga Therapy:
Yoga therapy is hard to define within a few sentences, because of the range and depth of tradition itself, just like yoga, the benefits of yoga therapy can be approached in various ways. It is important to have a rational and fair-minded definition to those people who are not accustomed to yoga, yet still justifiable to those people steeped in this practice as well as philosophy.
Yoga therapy is a special type of therapy that includes different yoga poses, breathing practices, meditation as well as guided imagery to enhance the physical and mental well-being. The main focus of this therapy inspires the unification of body, mind, and spirit. This special therapy is the use of yoga where there is a particular health need.
The Applications of Yoga Therapy:
The main application of yoga therapy is from one or more than one standpoints:
(1) The practice of yoga to develop the power of senses, the power of muscles, the power of concentration, gain the power of difficult poses and the ability to work over the extended period of time. This is sometimes called the application of Shakti Karma.
(2) The use of yoga and yoga therapy to heal particular problems, such as reducing impurities from the organs called Dosha or energy centers called Chakras or Channels of the body. This is called Chikitsa Karma.
If the illness is present, it should be cured, called Chikitsa.
If the illness is not present, prevention is necessary, called Rakshana.
If the illness is not present and an individual learned how to protect himself, then practice is necessary with the help of a trainer, called Shikshana.
(3) The use of yoga postures to go beyond the physical and mental to know or understand what are beyond the limited senses of self, to understand one’s real self untransformed witnessing existence – called Purusha of all which is transforming – called Prakriti. This is sometimes known as the application of Adhyatmik Karma in Sanskrit, and in English called liberation from Maya and Karma, recognizing and worshipping the Lord.
Benefits of Yoga Therapy: