It is always useful for a person indulging in Yoga to understand about Origination and types of Yoga. It will help us to appreciate this rich practice. It will also give an insight about which Yoga type to go for depending on the interest.
This post on Origination and Types of Yoga is a little long. I would like my readers to have patience and dump into this interesting read.
Origination and Types of Yoga
Yoga is one of the six orthodox systems of Indian philosophy.
The termed Yoga (Pronounced as ‘Yog’ in Hindi) originates from the term ‘Yuj’ in Sanskrit meaning “to yolk or to unite” or “to attach“ in literal sense. Yoga is a way to unify body, mind and spirit, so that they work in harmony.
Yoga in simplest form is a combination of:
- Asana – exercise pose
- Pranayama – regulating Prana (life force,energy) by controlling breath
- Dhyana – Meditation
A yogi/yogini is a person who is following this path.
You can also check :http://www.artofliving.org/in-en/yoga
The origin of Yoga has been speculated to date back to pre-Vedic Indian tradition. As per some, the word Yoga was first mentioned in Rig Veda (1700–1100 BCE) as Yogic Veda.
A quick snippet on Vedas:
Veda comes from the Sanskrit word Ved which means knowledge. They are large text written in Sanskrit (basically songs, mantras) and are believed to be the oldest scriptures of Hinduism.
There are four Vedas which are as follows:
- Rig Veda (Oldest one)
- Yajur Veda
Another most famous of the Yogic scriptures is the Bhagavad-Gîtâ, composed around 500 B.C.E.
Quick snippets on Bhagavad Gita:
The Bhagavad Gita is a Hindu scripture that is part of the ancient Sanskrit epic Mahabharata. This scripture contains a conversation between Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide Krishna on a variety of philosophical issues.
Yoga and Patanjali
Patanjali is not the inventor of Yoga but a complier of Yoga Sutras (sutras mean threads) which is a collection of 195 statements, a kind of philosophical guidebook.
The Sutra gives guidance on gaining mastery over mind and emotions. It is the framework on which today’s Yoga is based.
It is believed that Maharishi (Maha: Great, rishi: Saint) Patanjali was the avatar of Adi Shesha.He is a thousand headed serpent on which Lord Vishnu rests in Vaikunta. The exact date of compilation of Yoga Sutras is not known but believed to be written around 200 BC.
In Yoga Sutras, Patanjali describes Yoga as ‘chitta vritti nirodhah’ which means cessation of fluctuations of mind. As controlling mind is not an easy task, Patanjali outlines eight limbs of Yoga as a solution.
Great readers, you have almost completed half of the subject on Origination and types of Yoga. Let’s now understand about different types and you can also see where your interest lies.
Yoga, the journey to self can be attained by following different paths. Here by, I mention below the different paths or types of Yoga:
Types of Yoga
Following are the main types of Yoga:
Bhakti means ‘devotion’. It means devotion towards the Supreme. The Yogi/Yogini practices this Yoga by surrendering themselves to the God either by service or by worship.
In this, not much emphasis is placed on asana (pose) or breathing exercise but on the act of worship and devotion
Karma means ‘act’ or ‘action’. Here a yogi finds his way through work or duty.
Karma Yoga is based on teaching of Bhagavad Gita where Krishna advocates selfless action as the ideal path to attain enlightenment.
It is often referred to as ‘Royal Yoga’. The chief practice of this Yoga is Meditation which is used to control senses, body and mind.
Hatha literally means sun (ha) and moon (tha). Hatha in its original sense refers to the practice of bringing harmony. It brings harmony to the two main energies of our body, the energy of the sun (hot, active) and the energy of the moon (cool, receptive).
For more details on the energy you can refer to the following link:
Hatha Yoga refers to various physical asanas or postures exercises.
Mantra means a sacred verse or a sound. This Yoga involves chanting a mantra (verse) which produces positive vibrations, bringing benefits to the one who chants as well as the one who listens
Jnana means wisdom or knowledge. In this a Yogi sought questions like who we are and what we are experiencing. It is said that full realization or getting the answers of this truth brings enlightenment.
The word “tantra” is combination of two words ‘tattva’ and ‘mantra’.‘Tattva’ means the science of cosmic principles, while “mantra” refers to the science of mystic sound and vibrations.Tantra focuses on the dynamic aspect of divinity called Shakti, or “the Cosmic Mother.”
Kundalini or Laya Yoga
Laya Yoga is a form of meditation, with concentration on energy centers or chakras.
In Laya yoga, meditation techniques are used that cause the energy or Prana to move in certain ways, to awaken the Kundalini, the coiled up energy at the base of the spine.