The four paths are… • Active path = Karma yoga • philosophical path = Jnana Yoga • Devotional path = Bhakti yoga • scientific path = Raja yoga
Karma Yoga • Karma yoga involves the dedication of all work as on offering to something or someone with no thought of personal reward. • Karma yoga can be practiced at all times, under all conditions, anywhere there is a desire to do a selfless service.
Jnana Yoga • This is the intellectual approach to spiritual evolution. • This is said to be the most difficult path as a sharp, keen intellect, unclouded by emotions, is necessary.
Bhakti Yoga • Bhakti yoga is the devotional approach to yoga, the approach of pure love. • Bhakti yoga rids the yogi of egocentricity by developing humiltiy and self-surrender.
Raja Yoga • In the 14th century, Pantanjali’s system of yoga was given the name Raja yoga, or “royal yoga’. This is often referred to as classical yoga with an emphasis on meditation and introspection. • In an effort to control the mind and attain true freedom, he created an 8 limbed path of self-observation and analysis.
8 steps of Raja yoga 1. Yamas 5. Pratyahara 2. niyamas 6. Dharana 3. Asanas 7. Dhyana 4. Pranayama 8. Samadhi
Yamas (abstensions) These main 5 are known as ethical disicplines or guidelines for living morally. • Truth – (Satya) • Nonviolence – (Ahimsa) • Continence – (Brahmacharya) • Nonstealing – (Astheya) • Noncovetousness – (Aparigraha)
Niyamas (Observances) These are the observances and work in partnership with the Yamas as our ethical guidelines. • Austerities – (tapas) • Purity – (Saucha) • Contentment – (Santosha) • Study – (Swadhyaya) • Surrender of the ego – (Ishwara-Pranidhana)
Asanas • Steady pose • Asanas develop strong bodies – strong muscles and bones and alignment. • Prana flows best in a strong and aligned body which allows for greater discovery of self in meditation and spiritual growth.
Pranayama • Control of vital energy • Pranayama cleanes and strengthens the physical body, but more importantly, it calms, steadies, and clears the mind.
Pratyahara • Withdrawal of the senses • This is the letting go stage, moving from cravings and desires. • What we need and what we perceive we need are polar opposites. This takes tremendous discipline.
Dharana • Concentration of the mind. • This is the practice of concentrating on either an external or internal object with the exclusion of all other thoughts. (like a candle or a chakra.) This is becoming fully in the moment.
Dhyana • Meditation • The unbroken stillness of the mind. When meditation is attained, the mind is empty of thoughts and one can see themselves. • Brings about mental peace and physical peace as well.
Samadhi • The superconscious state or enlightment. This is a state beyond description. • Samadhi is pure bliss.