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The Six Main Paths of Yoga for Self Realization E-mail
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Yoga is an ancient physical and spiritual discipline anpranayama_series_hot_moksha_yogad branch of philosophy that originated in India reportedly more than 5,000 years ago. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means to yoke, join, or unite. 

Yoga is also often defined as the "joining or integrating of all aspects of the individual-body with mind and mind with soul-to achieve a happy, balanced and useful life." The ultimate aim of yoga, they claim, is to reach kaivalya (emancipation or ultimate freedom).

Yoga Paths to Self Realization

There are several paths of yoga and each one approaches the ultimate goal of self-realization by a different route.  Although these paths may seem contradictory with each other, they are all based on the premise that human beings can, through their own actions, become one with the Absolute.  The concept is also known as enlightenment, self-realization, the union of the individual self with the universal self.

These six main paths of yoga are as such:

  • Bhakti yoga  (path of devotion, prayer, worshipping a god or guru).
  • Hatha yoga (the path of physical control, regarded as a preparation for the pursuit of Raja yoga. This path emphasizes physical strength and control.  Hatha yoga is the type of yoga that is most widely practiced in the West, when westerners refer to "yoga", they usually - without even knowing it themselves -  mean Hatha yoga. (which includes several styles such as Astanga, Vinyasa, Vini, Power, Iyengar, Bikram, Jivamukti, Yin, Satyananda, etc.)
  • Jnana yoga (path of wisdom, pursuit of knowledge, its practice is to study and meditate)
  • Karma yoga (path in which the practitioner devotes his/her life to selfless action)
  • Mantra yoga (path of sacred sound, self-realization comes from repetition of these sounds)
  • Raja yoga (eight-step path to enlightment - includes posture, breath control, meditation and withdrawal of the senses)
 
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