Yoga means to yoke (to unite) with the source of our Being (pure Beingness is pure
Awareness and not nothingness).
While most Hatha Yoga classes concentrate on the physical aspects in order to
increase flexibility, and improve one’s health, Hatha Yoga by itself can be the tool for
Self-realization. To this end Hatha Yoga uses Pranayama and Mudras.
Since these exercises force the ascend of the dormant energy Kundalini, Hatha Yoga
is also called the "Yoga of Force".
Traditional Hatha Yoga
1. Asanas (postures), 2. Cleansing techniques, 3. Pranayama (control of breathing
with retention), 4. Bandhas (locks) and Mudras (seals) for the regulation of Prana
(life-force) and Kundalini (dormant energy), and 5. Samadhi (Holy Trance or ecstatic
realization of the Self).
Agni Yoga is mainly
practiced in India where it is based on Vedic knowledge.
In Sanskrit, Agni means "fire" and is the name of the Vedic
Agni is invoked by traditional Vedic ceremonies and fire rituals.
Agni Yoga also involves breath and mind control to raise Kundalini.
Ashtanga is also called
the "Eightfold Yoga of Pantanjali".
It is another name for Radja Yoga.
The Yoga of Love and Devotion. A Bhakta (devotee) or Bhakti Yogi transcends the
with the all-consuming power of his/her devotion to the omnipresent Being with or
without any particular form.
Yoga of transcendental Knowledge
The Jnana Yogi searches the Self either by concentrating on the first thought
"I" until even that thought disappears or by investigating the answer to the
question "Who am I?".
The Self, when found, reveals It-Self always as pure Awareness.
The technique, as introduced by Paramahansa Yogananda and the Kriya line of
teachers, employs a mixture of Hatha, Bhakti, Karma, Mantra, and Jnana Yoga. It is
by a unique technique of Kriya Pranayamas for the purpose of controlling the
"Life-force" and ultimately coaxing it to ascend.
Kundalini Yoga techniques are employed to directly force the dormant power to
The Laya Yogi may use
visualization and mantra to dissolve the mind in transcendental Bliss, into the beingness
of the Self.
Mantra Yoga binds the mind to one thought until the restless mind is dissolved. As
with any other Yoga technique pure Awareness is the result. Mantra Yoga is a gift for all
seekers of the Truth who find it difficult or impossible because of age or affliction to
study Hatha Yoga or some of the other traditions which demand more time, flexibility,
devotion, and so on.
Nidra Yoga is often
called the Yoga of "Sleep". Of course, Yoga sleep is different from normal
sleep. In Nidra Yoga, the Yogi may lay down on his back and close the eyes but his empty
mind tries to enter what normally is experienced as deep sleep in full Awareness.
This state is also called the "Fourth State", in which one is fully aware of
one’s own pure Awareness but nothing else. There are no thoughts and no worldly
impressions. The Yogi may return fully rested and restored in many ways.
Raja Yoga is also called the "Eightfold Yoga", the "Royal
Yoga", and "Pantanjali’s Yoga". When the Hatha Yogi is properly prepared,
Raja Yoga meditations are added to complete the Union (Yoga) with the ultimate Reality.
Sapta Yoga is also called the "Sevenfold Yoga". Sapta Yoga consists of:
1. Shodhana (cleanliness), 2. Dridhata (firmness), 3. Sthairya (stability),
4. Dhairya (constancy), 5. Laghava (lightness), 6. Pratyaksha (perception),
7. Nirlipta (nondifilement)
(We thank ‘Yogatones’ for the following definition.)
Viniyoga is essentially the adaptation of yoga to the
individual rather than the individual to yoga. This tradition is based on principles
practised and taught by renowned Shr T Krishnamacharya. The practice focuses on combining
correct breathing with both dynamic and static asanas. The asanas are modified, varied and
adapted according to each student’s particular circumstances and individual requirements.
The practice can also include pranayama, sound or mantra, where appropriate. The aim is to
bring about a balance or reintegration of body, breath and mind. For this reason the
classes are either on a one to one basis or small groups. AG Mohan, TKV
Desikachar, and Gary Kraftsow are the most well known teachers of this method in the
Zentrum Publishing’s Self-realization.com – Wellness for Body and
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