Paths of Yoga

Yoga literally means “union”, “joining” or “to yoke”. The purpose of the different paths of yoga is to connect the body and mind, transcend the individual self and to liberate the soul, uniting one with their original source, which is pure consciousness.


Four Main Paths of Yoga

Karma Yoga – Yoga of Action, the Path of Selfless Service

Bhakti Yoga – Yoga of Devotion, the Path of Unconditional Love

Jnana Yoga – Yoga of Knowledge, the Path of Self-Inquiry

Raja Yoga – Yoga of Mental and Physical Control, the “Royal” Path to Enlightenment


The Eight Limbs of Raja or Classical Yoga

In the sage Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, a system of Eight Limbs (ashtangas) is defined as steps intended to purify, strengthen and steady the body and mind, ultimately leading the yogi to enlightenment and pure bliss. The first four limbs deal with self-awareness and have more of an external focus, with the fifth limb directing one inward as they detach from external stimuli. The last three limbs provide an internal focus that directs one to a higher state of consciousness. This eightfold path may be followed progressively from the first to eighth limb or as an individual’s personality or temperament naturally guides them.

1 ) Yama – Regulations – Five Rules of Conduct towards self and others

            Ahimsa: non-harming, respect for life, kindness

            Satya: truthfulness in thought, word and action

            Asteya: non-stealing, not using without agreement, fair exchange

            Brahmacarya: self-control, moderation, managing energy, chastity

            Aparigraha: non-possessive, lack of envy, jealousy, desire and greed

2 ) Niyama – Observances or Regular Habits– Five Positive Qualities

            Saucha: purity, clarity, inner and outer cleanliness, self-care

            Samtosa: contentment, happiness, positive attitude, serenity

            Tapas: focused discipline, dedicated practice, austerity, simplicity  

          Svadhyaya: study of sacred texts for self-reflection and communing with the Divine

             Isvara Pranidhana: ritual act of devotion to and constant awareness of the Divine

3 ) Asana – Steady Position, Relaxed Posture    

4 ) Pranayama – Regulation of the Vital Breath, Life Force Extension

5 ) Pratyahara – Withdrawal or Control of the Senses, Internal Focus

6 ) Dharana – Concentration, Mental Focus, One Pointed Attention

7 ) Dhyana – Meditation, Awareness without Focus, Continuous Stillness

8 ) Samadhi – Enlightenment, Bliss, At One with All, Completion


Disclaimer: The information contained in this web site is educational in nature, based on the traditions of Ayurveda and Yoga, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or to replace standard medical treatment or advice. If you have a medical condition, please consult your physician or other qualified medical provider.





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