Learning the foundations and history of yoga helps us intertwine traditional principles of yoga into our modern lifestyles enabling us to keep the rich lineage and traditions of yoga alive.
The four paths of yoga arose from concepts introduced in the Bhagavad Gita. In the context of Hinduism these paths lead to union with the supreme being or God, and represent the elements present in all humans – intellect, heart, body and mind.
The Four Paths of Yoga
- Karma Yoga – the path of action
- Bhakti Yoga – the path of devotion
- Jnana Yoga – the path of knowledge
- Raja Yoga – the path of meditation
Karma Yoga is the path of selfless action. It teaches you to act selfessly, without seeking reward or recognition, keeping a right attitude, right motive and right action.
Bhakti Yoga is the path of devotion. It is a path of prayer, worship and ritual and is often characterised by singing or chanting such as Kirtan.
Jnana Yoga is the path of knowledge. It is a path that involves questioning, meditation, and contemplation. It is the exploration of our nature, taking strength of will and character to study ourselves.
Raja Yoga is the path of meditation, the science of physical and mental control. It is often called the “royal road” and is characterised by Patanjali’s eight limbed path to control the body and still the mind. Hatha Yoga is the physical branch of raja yoga and is the most familiar of the paths and forms of yoga in the modern western world.