There are many different people on the planet, with many different inclinations, so to get to that final destination there must be many different ways!
Traditionally in yoga we have 4 main paths:
1- Karma Yoga: this is the path of selfless service, for people active in nature.
2- Bhakti Yoga: this is the devotional path, for people emotional in nature.
3- Raja Yoga: this is the path of controlling the mind, for people of scientific nature
4- Jnana Yoga: this is the path of knowledge, for people intellectual in nature.
Again my choice will be to deepen only a part of the whole picture, leaving the rest maybe for following articles or for your personal research!
In this blog we are talking mainly of Raja Yoga.
Raja Yoga is the path of controlling the mind, it’s based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and it’s one of the 6 traditional schools of indian philosophy.
It’s the hardest path… do you think it’s easy to control your mind?
It’s the path leading to meditation as the step immediately preceding the final stage of samadhi, or super consciousness, a state devoid of thoughts and fluctuations in your mind, a state of complete stillness that will make you easy to see the reality as it is, to achieve the “phantomatic” self-realization that is considered the ultimate goal in life!
Anyway, being a so hard path to climb on that mountain… there are other paths leading the same mountain!
Controlling your mind you will control your body… the equation can be reversed, controlling your body you can get to the control of the mind… this is the concept behind Hatha Yoga!
In Hatha Yoga (this blog is mainly about Hatha and Raja Yoga!) we start cleaning our body, we go on understanding and balancing the forces behind the functioning of our body… when these forces will be balanced and the channels through which they move will be clean… at that point the control of the mind will be enough easy!
Hatha Yoga is a mean to reach the state of Raja Yoga, it’s a part of it! Other techniques as Kundalini Yoga or Mantra Yoga are all considered under the bigger path of Raja Yoga.
The idea behind this blog is actually to focus on understanding the body and to develop an attitude of physical well being… after we’ll be able to work on more subtle aspects as the breathing up to even more subtle topics as the mind… exactly the transition from hatha to raja!
Back to the 4 main paths… all is the same one thing and everything is just a different aspect of the same one thing… don’t consider the 4 paths as something to compartmentalize, please!
For sure you’ll follow some guidelines but at some point you’ll find yourself in very different ways of practicing… only the final destination will always be the same… even if your understanding of it will change!
Yoga is not just becoming flexible and strong, yes it is, but not only! It will be an evolutionary process impacting all the aspects of your being… including understanding what your being is, that’s the self-realization, the ultimate goal!