Yoga Means Union, although many people think this term
refers to union between body and mind or body, mind and spirit,
the traditional acceptance is union between the Jivatman and
Paramatman that is between one's individual consciousness and
the Universal Consciousness.
Therefore Yoga refers to a certain state of consciousness as
well as to methods that help one reach that goal or state of
union with the divine.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF YOGA
Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga, Kriya
Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Jnana Yoga, SwaraYoga,
Ashtanga Yoga (Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga - Eight Fold Path)
The basis of the studies that we have undertaken is dependent on
Yogadarshan of Patanjali. We will consider the different aspects
of yoga while remaining under the guiding principles of Patanjal
Yoga. The asanas, Pranayamas or the dharana which we have
studied earlier or the yam and niyam are based on the aphorism
of Patanjali. Hence, we will acquaint ourselves with the
fundamentals as stated by Patanjali first.
The term Hatha Yoga has been commonly used to describe the
practice of asana (postures). The syllable 'ha' denotes the
pranic (vital) force governing the physical body and 'tha'
denotes the chitta (mental) force thus making Hatha Yoga a
catalyst to an awakening of the two energies that govern our
lives. More correctly the techniques described in Hatha Yoga
harmonise and purify the body systems and focus the mind in
preparation for more advanced chakra and kundalini practices.
Mudras and Bandhas
Bhakti is a Yoga of devotion or complete faith. This faith is
generally in the God or supreme consciousness in any of the
forms. It may be Lord Rama, Krishna, Christ, Mohammed, Buddha
etc. It may be a Guru for his disciples.
Important thing is the person interested in following this path
should have very strong emotional bond with the object of faith.
The flow of emotional energy is directed to this object. Mostly
people suppress their emotions and that often reflects in the
form of physical and mental disorders. This Bhakti Yoga releases
those suppressed emotions and brings the purification of inner
Continuous meditation of God or object of faith gradually
decrease the ego of the practitioner, which further prevents new
distractions, fickleness or even pain and induces strong bonds
of love. Slowly the practitioner looses the self identity and
becomes one with the object of faith, this is a state of self
Karma Yoga is a path of devotion to the work. One looses his
identity while working, only selfless work remains. This state
is very difficult to achieve. Generally some rewards or
incentives or outcome follows the work and one is attached to
this reward or incentive. This is not the Karma Yoga.
Non-attachment with the work and becoming the perfect instrument
of the super consciousness in this manifested universe is the
ultimate aim of Karma Yoga.
In the initial stages of Karma Yoga, individual possesses strong
sense of ego and consciously or unconsciously he is attached to
the fruits of his efforts or at least praise or recognition but
by continuous involvement in the work and change in mental
attitude, one can surely disassociate himself from the ego and
his own personality.
In this state the work becomes worship to the God, it becomes
spiritual, also the individual becomes expert, skilled and Yogi.
He achieves stability of mind in all conditions, he is not
disturbed or excited or happy in any of the situations. He
becomes divine & his actions represent God's will.
The essence of Karma Yoga as extracted from 'Bhagvad Gita' says:
The world confined in its own activity except when actions are
performed as worship of God. Therefore one must perform every
action sacramentally and be free of your attachments to the
Jnana Yoga is the process of converting intellectual knowledge
into practical wisdom. It is a discovery of human dharma in
relation to nature and the universe. Jnana Yoga is described by
tradition as a means to obtain the highest meditative state and
Jnana literally means 'knowledge', but in the context of yoga
it means the process of meditative awareness which leads to
illuminative wisdom. It is not a method by which we try to find
rational answers to eternal questions, rather it is a part of
meditation leading to self-enquiry and self-realisation.
Some of the components of Jnana Yoga are:
Developing intuitive wisdom
Self-awareness leading to self-analysis
Experiencing inner unity
Realising the personal nature
Not believing but realising
The word kriya means 'activity' or 'movement' and refers to the
activity or movement of consciousness. Kriya also refers to a
type of practical or preliminary practice leading to total
union, the final result of practice. Kriya Yoga does not curb
mental fluctuations but purposely creates activity and awakening
in consciousness. In this way all faculties are harmonised and
flower into their fullest potential.
Kriya Yoga originated in antiquity and evolved over time
through practise and experience. The full form of Kriya Yoga
consists of over 70 kriyas out of which only 20 or so are
The kriya practices are inscribed in numerous tantric texts
written in Sanskrit. To date only a few of these have been
translated into other languages. The most authoritative magna
opus on the subject of Kriya.
The practices of Kriya Yoga were propagated by Swami
Satyananda Saraswati from secret teachings described in the Yoga
and Tantra Shastras. The kriyas, as taught by Satyananda Yoga™,
are one of only two systems of Kriya Yoga recognized the world
Swara is Sanskrit word, meaning sound or note. It is also a
continuous flow of air through one nostril. Yoga means union, so
Swara yoga is a science which is realization of cosmic
consciousness through control and manipulation of breath.
Swara Yoga is science which is a complete study,
observations, control and manipulation of breath or Swara.
Pranayama is only related to control of breath in various ways.
In swara yoga, you will find association of breath in relation
to activities of sun, moon, various seasons, physical and mental
conditions of individuals etc. So Swara Yoga is more
comprehensive in theory and practices related to breath.
Raja Yoga usually refers to the system of yoga that is described
in the Yoga Sutras of Sage Patanjali. In this ancient text Sage
Patanjali describes eight stages of yoga which are known
collectively as Raja Yoga.
Raja Yoga is a comprehensive yoga system which deals with the
refinement of human behaviour and personality through the
practice of the yamas (restraint) and niyamas (disciplines);
attainment of physical health and vitality through asanas
(postures) and pranayamas (pranic breathing techniques);
management of mental and emotional conflicts and development of
awareness and concentration through pratyahara (sensory
withdrawal) and dharana (concentration); and developing the
creative aspect of consciousness for transcendental awareness
through dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption in the
This system of Yoga is concerned with awakening of the
psychic centers or chakras, which exists in every individual.
(Please refer to the figure) There are six main chakras in the
The mind is made up of different subtle layers. Each of these
layers progressively are associated with the higher levels of
consciousness. Each of these levels are related to the different
chakra or psychic center located throughout the psychic body.
There are no of other chakras apart from the six main, which are
associated with planes below the human level. In all we have
chakras that connect us to animal levels of mind, to the
instinctive realms of being or to the sublime heights of
In Kundalini Yoga, higher-level chakras are awakened and also
the activities associated with these higher psychic centers.
The basic method of awakening involves deep concentration on
these chakras and forcing their arousal. Asanas, pranayama,
mudra and bandha and other forms of Yoga such as Mantra Yoga are
also used to stimulate the awakening.
Standing Position (Yoga Postures in standing position)
Stand erect with the feet quite close together, heels and the
big toes touching each other. Hands touching thighs, this
position helps achieve stability of pulse.
List of Postures or Asanas In Standing Position
This is the sitting position with both legs together and
stretched, toes erect, spine erect and both hands straight and
palms resting on the floor.
List Of Postures or Asanas In Sitting Position
Akarna Dhanurasana (Type 1)
Akarna Dhanurasana (Type 2)
Padmasana Yogamudra (Type 1)
Padmasana Yogamudra (Type 2)
Vajrasana Yogamudra (Type 1)
Vajrasana Yogamudra (Type 2)
Vakrasana (Type 1)
Vakrasana (Type 2)
Lie down on the back with legs together, straight extended, the
toes erect and hands straight and palms resting on the floor.
List Of Postures or Asanas In Supine Position
Uttanpadasana with both legs
Uttanpadasana with one leg
Pavanamuktasana 2 legs
Pavanamuktasana 1 leg
In this position you lie down in prone on front side of the
chest and abdomen with the chin on the floor. Both hands lying
besides the thighs, and palms resting on the floor.
List Of Postures or Asanas In Prone Position
Saral Hasta Bhujangasana
Vakra Hasta Bhujangasana