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According to vedas, Yoga means to join, it is further explained as joining of the individual soul jiva to the super soul paramatama. Yoga comprises of eight limbs (Asht-anga) which are Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dhyana and Samadhi.
In easy words, Yoga means union with the true self which frees us from the slavery of the five senses. The goal of Yoga is to gain control over the five senses (see, smell, hear, taste and touch). Our whole life revolves around satisfying these five senses. But as universal law these senses are never satisfied thus the desire to satisfy these senses brings us pain, sadness, frustration and sorrow. Yoga is the practice of following the universal principles of nature and evolving our awareness to the highest level.
The Four Paths of Yoga
As contrary to popular belief that Yoga is a form of physical exercise, Yoga is actually a consistent way of living. Any or all of these paths can be followed to reach the goal according to the personality and preferences.
The path of Jnana Yoga is the path of learning and evolving the understanding. This practice includes gaining true knowledge through reading spiritual literature like Vedas, Upnishads etc and understanding the laws of nature and the self.
The path of Karma Yoga includes providing selfless services to the others. It helps to diminish the ego and raise the spiritual awareness.
Tthe path of Bhakti Yoga is the path of complete surrender to the God. This practice involves japa, chanting, bhajan, mantras or just chanting or singing praise of the masters or Supreme.
The path of Raja Yoga involves purifying and strengthening the three bodies (Physical, Astral and Spritual) by intense physical exercises and meditation. Raja Yoga brances into Hatha Yoga, Kundlaini Yoga etc.
Yoga of Synthesis
At Arhanta Yoga we follow the rich tradition and philosophy of Swami Sivananda and Sri Vivekananda and insists on the practice of the Yoga of Synthesis. Swami Sivananda recognized that every human being possesses intellect, heart, body and mind. Therefore he advised to everyone to practice certain techniques from each of the four paths. He also taught that considering the individual temperament and taste one can emphasize the practice of certain Yoga over other.
The 5 Principles of Yoga
Swami Sivananda summurized the complex eight limbs of Yoga into 5 principles. These five principles are: Proper Exercise, Proper Breathing, Proper Relaxation, Proper Diet, Positive Thinking and Meditation. It is not possible to make progress in Hatha Yoga if any of these principles are ignored.
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