Yoga


April 2001

Many people I know have suddenly taken up Yoga as means to bring balance into their lives. They report greater clarity in their meditations and a sense of releasing issues that hold them back.

The purpose of Yoga is multi-fold. One is to keep the body toned and flexible. Two is to center and balance the mind.

To me, Yoga is another method that we can use to help raise our conscious awareness as we move towards figuring out the truth about who we are as spirit and where we are going as we move from one cycle of existence to another.

Last week my daughter Nikki and her friend Meredith who work at Fox TV - took a Hatha Yoga class to see what it was all about. They reported it to be more physically stressful than they had expected - bearing in mind that these girls work out all the time and are very thin and toned and don't have any deep rooted issues to work out. The girls work out in a gym, but the muscles used in a gym are different than those used in Yoga. The girls didn't have the flexibility needed for Yoga as they don't work with the muscles and tendons that provide the body with flexibility. Developing this flexibility takes time - as with any exercise we do. The physical body has to slowly adjust. Once it does - you are fine. They're not giving up. They're trying it again this week.

Anna takes Yoga classes in Brooklyn. On one occasion two very tones handsome young men - body builders came to class. They looked at the room filled with middle aged women. Those in the class knew that the young guys thought it would be a 'piece of cake'. Well . . . you should have seen the expressions on their faces - as well as the looks exchanged between each other - when they couldn't do the postures as well as the other students in the class. They never returned to class.

One of my clients works as a message therapist at a Yoga school. Message and Yoga do seem to compliment each other as we learn to relax, breath properly and connect.

I find that all healing and energy techniques are related - just as all things in our program are connected - back to the same source of creation.








About Yoga - By Giovanni - My Grandson - 7 Months old One of my favorite postures

The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit root "yuj" meaning to yoke, attach, join, unite. Yoga is therefore the union and integration of every aspect of a human being, from the innermost to the external.

In a spiritual context, yoga stands for "training" or "unitive discipline." The Sanskrit literature contains numerous compound terms ending in -yoga.

Yoga is a rich, time-honored teaching on how we can achieve physical health, psychological well-being and spiritual peace. It is a path of self-discovery that leads to balance and harmony. Through the practice of yoga we integrate all aspects of our being -physical, mental, emotional andspiritual - and discover our connection to ourselves, to others, to the universe. There are numerous systems of yoga, each providing different ways to unify the various aspects of ourselves.

Yoga enhances every facet of physical fitness the mind/body energy exchange supports a mental clarity and concentration The strength improves posture/alignment to support our daily activities. The flexibility helps to prevent injuries and keeps us supple and youthful. The breathing practices are the foundation and the link between the mind and the body, providing a valuable tool for releasing tension and reducing stress.

The practice of yoga teaches us how to quiet the mind by placing attention on the breath, and also on the movement (stillness) of the body.

Yoga is a form of meditation that links one to God or the Universal source. The native yoga-paths are a part of the vedic-culture we refer to today a hinduism, but the real importance of vedic culture seems to be that it has enabled native yoga-paths to stay in the Indian sub-continent unchanged longer than they have in other locations.








"Life is about learning by taking slow steps. I will soon be ready to walk."

There are many different lineages - branches - paths of Yoga for different personalities. These stand for various yogic approaches or features of the path. Once you start a path you usually try to stick with it.

The following is a descriptive list of forty such terms. Not all of these form full-fledged branches or types of Yoga, but they represent at least emphases in diverse contexts. All of them are instructive insofar as they demonstrate the vast scope of Hindu Yoga.

ABHAVA YOGA

The unitive discipline of nonbeing, meaning the higher yogic practice of immersion into the Self without objective support such as mantras; a concept found in the PurAnas.


ADHYATMA YOGA

The unitive discipline of the inner self; sometimes said to be the Yoga characteristic of the Upanishads


AGNI YOGA

The unitive discipline of fire, causing the awakening of the serpent power (kundalini-shakti) through the joint action of mind (manas) and life force (prana). Agni Yoga is a synthesis of all yogas, especially Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Raja Yoga. Agni is the Sanskrit word for Fire - the Creative Fire of the Cosmos - the Fire that is found in varying degrees at the foundation of all Yogas.


ASHTANGA YOGA

The unitive discipline of the eight limbs, i.e., Raja-Yoga or Patanjala-Yoga


ASPARSHA YOGA

The unitive discipline of "noncontact," which is the nondualist Yoga propounded by Gaudapada in his Mandukya-Karika; cf. Sparsha-Yoga


BHAKTI YOGA

The Yoga of love and devotion. The Way of Transcendent Love which sees the whole universe, animate and inanimate, as being pervaded by divinity. Also very much involved with service (refering Karma Yoga), and way of the heart. The unitive discipline of love/devotion, as expounded, for instance, in the Bhagavad-Gita, the Bhagavata-Purana, and numerous other scriptures of Shaivism and Vaishnavism


BUDDHI YOGA

The unitive discipline of the higher mind, first mentioned in the Bhagavad-Gita


DHYANA YOGA

The unitive discipline of meditation


GHATASTHA YOGA

The unitive discipline of the "pot" (ghata), meaning the body; a synonym for Hatha-Yoga mentioned in the Gheranda-Samhita


GURU YOGA

The unitive discipline relative to one's teacher


HATHA YOGA

The unitive discipline of the force (meaning the serpent power or kundalin´┐Ż-shakti); or forceful unitive discipline. Hatha Yoga ensures good physical and mental health. This is for those who are more into the physical. You must utilize this to the best advantage by deep meditation on the Atman or inner Self. Self-realization should be your goal. This should be achieved by the constant remembrance of God, by righteousness, by a life of virtue and by the practice of Yoga. Hatha Yoga is the system most famIliar to the westerner. This branch of yoga uses physical poses, breathing techniques and relaxation methods to explore the inner structures of the body, mind and spirit. It provides the framework for the experiences of physical, mental and spiritual wholeness. By combining physical postures, awareness practices and breathing methods, the mind becomes quiet and the body wIll be refreshed and rejuvenated. Through the yoga postures we focus our attention inward finding integration, balance, compassion and love. Yoga affects every aspect of our being.


HIRANYAGARBHA YOGA

The unitive discipline of Hiranyagarbha ("Golden Germ"), who is considered the original founder of the Yoga tradition


JAPA YOGA

The unitive discipline of mantra recitation


JNANA YOGA

The unitive discipline of discriminating wisdom, which is the approach of the Upanishads. Jnana Yoga is the yoga of the philosopher and thinker who wants to go beyond the visible, material reality. These people are triggered by readings. The Jana Yogi finds God through knowledge. Jnana Yoga is summed up in the Upanishads by the following statement: "In the method of reintegration through knowledge, the mind is ever bound to the ultimate end of existence which is liberation This method leads to all attainments and is ever auspicious.


KARMIC YOGA

Karma Yoga achieves union with God through right action and through service (Bhakti Yoga). Karma Yoga can also be summed up in a statement by Sri Bhagavan Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita: "Worshipping Him with proper actions, a man attains realization". One key to Karma Yoga is the performance of right action and service for its own sake, without consideration of the immerdiate or apparent results. The unitive discipline of self-transcending action, as first explicitly taught in the Bhagavad-Gita.


KAULA YOGA

The unitive discipline of the Kaula school, a Tantric Yoga


KRIYA YOGA

Founded in 1968 by Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, Babaji Nagaraj, the great Himalayan master, offers to sincere seekers the opportunity to learn his "Kriya Yoga", the scientific art of perfect God-Truth Union. The unitive discipline of ritual; also the combined practice of asceticism (tapas), study (svadhyaya), and worship of the Lord (ishvara-pranidhana) mentioned in the Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali


KUNDALINI YOGA

Kundalini Maha Yoga. is an ancient universal science, perfected over thousands of years. Anandi Ma is an advanced disciple of Dhyanyogi and one of few people who can perform Skaktipat. Through Shaktipat the disciple can excel quickly in their spiritual journey towards Self Realization -Enlightenment. The unitive discipline of the serpent power (kundalini-shakti), which is fundamental to the Tantric tradition, including Hatha-Yoga.


LAMBIKA YOGA

The unitive discipline of the "hanger," meaning the uvula, which is deliberately stimulated in this yogic approach to increase the flow of "nectar" (amrita) whose external aspect is saliva


LAYA YOGA

The unitive discipline of absorption or dissolution of the elements prior to their natural dissolution at death


MAHA YOGA

The great unitive discipline, a concept found in the Yoga-ShikhA-Upanishad where it refers to the combined practice of Mantra-Yoga, Laya-Yoga, Hatha-Yoga, and Raja-Yoga


MANTRA YOGA

The unitive discipline of numinous sounds that help protect the mind, which has been a part of theYoga tradition ever since Vedic times. Mantra Yoga finds union with God through the proper use of speech and sound. It is the power of the word to create or destroy that Mantra Yoga emphasizes. It utilizes the focus intent to make every word you speak be in harmony with God And with your own soul.


NADA YOGA

The unitive discipline of the inner sound, a practice closely associated with original Hatha-Yoga


PANCADASHANGA YOGA

The unitive discipline of the fifteen limbs (pancadasha-anga):

(1) moral discipline (yama)
(2) restraint (niyama)
(3) renunciation (tyaga)
(4) silence (mauna)
(5) right place (desha)
(6) right time (kala)
(7) posture (asana)
(8) root lock (mula-bandha)
(9) bodily equilibrium (deha-samya)
(10) stability of vision (dhrik-sthiti)
(11) control of the life force (prana-samrodha)
(12) sensory inhibition (pratyahara)
(13)concentration (dharana)
(14) meditation upon the Self (atma-dhyana)
(15) ecstasy (samadhi)


PASHUPATA YOGA

The unitive discipline of the Pashupata sect, as expounded in some of the Puranas


PATANJALA YOGA

The unitive discipline of Patanjali, better known as Raja-Yoga or Yoga-Darshana


PURNA YOGA

The unitive discipline of wholeness or integration, which is the name of Sri Aurobindo's Yoga


RAJA YOGA

The royal unitive discipline, also called Patanjala-Yoga, Ashtanga-Yoga, or Raja-Yoga


SAHAJA YOGA

In the year 1970, Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi introduced for the first time a simple, yet powerful method of spiritual ascent, whereby one's natural balance and integration can be easily achieved.

SAMADHI YOGA

The unitive discipline of ecstasy


SAMKHYA YOGA

The unitive discipline of insight, which is the name of certain liberation teachings and schools referred to in the Mahabharata


SAMNYASA YOGA

Samnyasa-Yoga: The unitive discipline of renunciation, which is contrasted against Karma-Yoga in the Bhagavad-Gita


SAMPUTA YOGA

The unitive discipline of sexual congress (maithuna) in Tantra-Yoga


SAMRAMBHA YOGA

The unitive discipline of hatred, as mentioned in the Vishnu-Purana, which illustrates the profound yogic principle that one becomes what one constantly contemplates (even if charged with negative emotions)


SAPTA YOGA

Sapta Yoga is based on the ancient Yogic text, the "Gheranda Samhita." It is both a spiritual practice and a therapeutic art, successful in removing the causes of numerous diseases highly resistant to orthodox Western healing methods. It is taught by Yogacharya Dr. Sushil Bhattacharya, director of the Patanjali Yoga Center in Kathmandu, Nepal.


SAPTANGA YOGA

The unitive discipline of the seven limbs (sapta-anga), also known as Sapta-Sadhana in the Gheranda-Samhita:

(1) six purificatory practices (shat-karma)
(2) posture (asana)
(3) seal (mudra)
(4)sensory inhibition (pratyahara)
(5) breath control (pranayama)
(6) meditation (dhyana)
(7) ecstasy (samadhi)


SHADANGA YOGA

The unitive discipline of the six limbs (shad-anga), as expounded in the Maitrayaniya-Upanishad:

(1) breath control (pranayama)
(2) sensory inhibition (pratyahara)
(3) meditation (dhyana)
(4) concentration (dharana)
(5) examination (tarka)
(6) ecstasy (samadhi)


SIDDHA YOGA

The unitive discipline of the adepts, a concept found in some of the Tantras


SPARSHA YOGA

The unitive discipline of contact; a Vedantic Yoga mentioned in the Shiva-Purana, which combines mantra recitation with breath control; cf. Asparsha-Yoga


TANTRA YOGA

The unitive discipline of the Tantras, a kundalini-based Yoga


TARAKA YOGA

The unitive discipline of the "deliverer" (taraka); a medieval Yoga based on light phenomena


YANTRA YOGA

Yantra Yoga is the path of union with God thorough geometric visualization. A yantra is a geometric design. They are highly efficient tools for contemplation, concentration, and meditation. The unitive discipline of focusing the mind upon geometric representations (yantra) of the cosmos.

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