MAY 2011
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida
Yoga

INTRODUCTION TO YOGA – PART II

S PATEL

By DEEPA MALAVALLi

There are various forms of yoga. In the Western world, Hatha Yoga is the most well- known form of yoga. It consists of physical exercises, which are called Asanas or yoga postures, Pranayama or breathing exercises, and deep relaxation. Hatha Yoga also gives advice about nutrition and about how to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Kundalini Yoga is the toga of energy. It describes the astral body with its chakras and nadis. In Kundalini Yoga, you have exercises that clean the astral body, increase the life force or prana tremendously, harmonize and open the chakras. When we mature spiritually, the kundalini powers awaken either gradually or all of a sudden. When your kundalini awakens, you experience aspects of existence that you are not aware of from daily life. You can also feel a deep sense of happiness and your consciousness expands. At some point, you may discover qualities about yourself that you had so far been ignorant about. For example, you could unravel hidden talents and explore them.

Raja Yoga covers all the methods of mental training and meditation. It explains how the human mind functions and how you can control it. Raja Yoga works with several methods such as affirmation, visualizations, exercises to cultivate mindfulness, techniques for self observation and various other meditation techniques. It makes an individual strong within and without.

Jnana Yoga is the yoga of knowledge. It is the philosophical part of yoga. Jnana Yoga puts questions such as: Who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going to? What is the meaning of life? What is real? What is unreal? What is happiness? Jnana Yoga explains themes such as Karma, reincarnation and offers meditation techniques that can enable an individual to perceive truth intuitively.

Bhakti Yoga is the yoga of devotion and love toward God. By singing bhajans and kirtans, performing rituals, narrating old myths and stories of saints and God, the devotee’s heart is opened and he or she comes in contact with God.

Karma Yoga is the yoga of action. It teaches to accept our fate as a chance for spiritual development. Karma Yoga shows us how to make decisions correctly and to spiritualize every aspect of our life. It is also known as selfless service and helps us to transcend the borders of our own ego and feel one with all beings.

Today, many masters of yoga recommend the practice of “Integral Yoga,” which is a combination of the different paths of yoga.

Hatha Yoga develops our physical body; Kundalini Toga works in our energy or astral body; Bhakti Yoga natures our emotional body; Raja Yoga develops our psychological stability; Jnana Yoga helps to unfold our intellect and our intuition; and Karma Yoga helps us to integrate every aspect of yoga in our daily life. The different forms of yoga are different paths that lead to the one and same goal. Therefore, yoga is a holistic form of practice that embraces all cultures in which every individual can discover a path that may be more helpful or suitable for advancement.

Deepa Malavalli is a teacher of yoga and meditation from the Sivananda Yoga lineage. She teaches Writing and Advanced Grammar at the USF College of Continuing Education in Tampa. She can be reached at malavalli_deepa@yahoo.com

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