Exploring Yoga Beyond Asanas

The yoga fever is on with the International Yoga Day coming up on 21st june. But do you know all about yoga yet? Spoiler alert: Yoga is not just about the asanas. Yes, the asanas are a part of yoga but it is not what yoga is all about. Yoga involves gaining peace within yourself and there are more than one ways through which it can be attained.


Here are the 10 major types of yoga you must know about. Read on!


1. Ashtanga Yoga

Yoga Sutras or Sanskrit verses of Patanjali from the Ashtanga Yoga. This form includes yoga principles, personal discipline, yogic postures, yogic breathing, withdrawal of senses called pratyahara, concentration on object, meditation and salvation.


2. Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga includes all the yoga postures or asanas. This involves yoga positions, physical and mental detox techniques, psycho-physiological energy release techniques and pranayama.


3. Jnana Yoga

Jnana literally means ‘knowledge’. This form of yoga is the process of converting intellectual knowledge into practical wisdom. The components of this form includes self-awareness leading to self-analysis, not believing but realising, experiencing knowledge, developing intuitive wisdom, realising the personal nature and experiencing inner unity.


4. Mantra Yoga

The verses in Vedas are called mantras. According to the Vedas, reciting or chanting these Vedic mantras helps to attain salvation and union with supreme consciousness. This is the ultimate aim of mantra yoga.


5. Kundalini Yoga

You must have heard about the six chakras that are present in our bodies. These chakras are also called psychic centres. Awakening of these chakras with the help of deep concentration leads to their arousal. This is the basic method used in Kundalini Yoga.


6. Bhakti Yoga

Bhakti yoga is practised intentionally and unintentionally by a large part of the Indian population. Bhakti yoga can be practised by devoting yourself completely towards the supreme God. This can achieved, in part, by having faith in a certain guru or devta.


7. Karma Yoga

When you work selflessly, you are practising Karma Yoga. When a work is done without any want or desire of an incentive, then the person doing that particular job is unconsciously connecting with the supreme consciousness. This yoga is quite difficult to practice in its entirety.


8. Kriya Yoga

‘Kriya’ means activity. In this type of yoga, the mental fluctuations are not controlled. Rather, they are created in order to awaken consciousness completely. This practice was also propagated by Paramahansa Yogananda.


9. Swara Yoga

Swara yoga essentially deals with controlling breathing patterns to attain salvation. One is supposed to concentrate on the correct form of breathing. Manipulation of breathing in this way helps to free the mind from psychological bondages.


10. Raja Yoga

This includes eight stages of yoga, described in the yoga sutras by sage Patanjali, which are collectively known as Raja Yoga. These stages include restraint, discipline, postures, breathing techniques, sensory withdrawal, concentration, meditation and absorption in the universal identity which is also known as samadhi.


International Yoga Day is near and these yoga types will definitely help you boost off your knowledge about them. Spread the word!

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