The word yoga is deemed to have been derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yug’, meaning ‘to unite’ or ‘to join’, so can therefore be described as a path of Union. What you may not know is that Yoga can be expressed in four different paths, they are known as Raga Yoga {a path of self mastery through yogic sciences}, Bhakti yoga { a path of devotion}, Karma Yoga {a path of selfless service} and Jnana Yoga {the path of knowledge/self inquiry}.

In this blog we explore a little the path of Raja yoga, as this path is more commonly practised worldwide, although all these paths of Yoga are woven together as part of our teachings here at Satya Loka. Originally Raja Yoga was transmitted orally, until the sage Patanjali compiled the Yogasutras – a transcendental guidebook for the yoga practitioner. A part of the Yogasutras hold an important key to understanding the fundamental steps in Raja Yoga, known as the eight limbs of Yoga. 

  1. Yama {moral disciplines} . 2. Nyama {postive acts} 3. Asanas – {postures},4. Pranayama – {breathing techniques}, 5. Pratyahara { sense withdrawal} 5. Dharana {concentration} 6. Dhyana {.meditative absorption } 8. Samadhi {enlightenment} Raja Yoga offers a vast science of techniques and methods that aim to harness and transmute the physical and mental energies, which helps you to grow through these stages.

Choosing a particular style in the ever expanding and interpreted world of Yoga largely depends on what you wish to experience and cultivate and also what constitution you are as an individual. Whether you’re looking for stress or pain relief, you are wanting to lose weight, develop compassion, become mindful, or develop sustained inner peace, there is actually a yoga practice for everything we seek.

Here are some of the common styles and practices in Yoga . viz.;

  1. Hatha Yoga:

Hatha Yoga is the fundamental base for all traditional yoga in India. Hatha yoga when practiced correctly is aimed to initially bring purity, strength and balance to the physical body. Hatha literally means ‘Ha’ relating to the energy of the Sun, and ‘Tha’ – relates to the energy of the moon. What actually occurs on a deeper level is the balancing of these energies within the body and this frees us from disease and mental stability. While the form of hatha yoga practiced in the west often focuses only on the physical aspect, traditionally its sole purpose is to be able to steady ourselves in meditation. At Satya Loka, we recognise Hatha Yoga as being the fundamental base for our entire practices.

  1. Tantra Yoga:

Unlike other styles of yoga, Tantra Yoga is less body-oriented. Although the practice essentially starts from the body, it moves on to discovering the body in a much more subtle capacity, and discovers ways to activate and harness our internal energy, creating the best conditions for our spiritual energy Kundalini, to rise. Yet to truly have a deepening effect on the chakras the asanas need to be held for longer periods, a minimum of two minutes is often required. In the practices of Tantra Yoga, we also learn to apply mudras and bandhas which support our overall intention.The word Tantra can be divided into ‘tan’, which means weaving and ‘tra’ which means liberation, thus the system of Tantra weaves together a spiritual science for liberation. Join us for our women’s yoga teacher training if you would like to discover a yoga practice that genuinely creates the conditions for spiritual awakening.

  1. Ashtanga Yoga:

Ashtanga Yoga as a modern day style of yoga was introduced by Pattabhi Jois in the 20th century. It is a systematic method that combines breath and movement, and can be experienced as quite a yang/dynamic practice. The poses are usually held for 5 breaths and during the practice great emphasis is placed on dristi and the practice of ujjiyi breathing to help interiorise and steady the mind.

  1. Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa yoga also has a similar dynamic quality as Ashtanga Yoga yet classes range in their variety of sequence and methods, they often incorporate a creative flow of asanas that can be supported by music and props. At Satya Loka our style of Yoga can be modified to be able to teach a Vinyasa class, as we show you how it is possible to incorporate a vinyasa sequence between asanas that helps to cultivate more dynamism between the static held postures. This gives a flexible teaching style that allows you to teach in a way that suits you.

  1. Yin Yoga

This style of Yoga also focuses on longer held passively held poses, the style focuses more on the lower aspect of the body. The main concept is that the connective tissue that surrounds the muscles and joints is stretched and expended, the connective tissue is understood to hold the key to flexibility and blocked emotions. Our Yoga classes at Satya Loka also recognise the value of longer held postures, although we engage the body slightly to offer a balance between a Yin and Yang approach to asana. It is acknowledged in physiology that when a pose is held for longer than two minutes, not only does the connective tissue open the physical body and flexibility, also the energy begins to flow.

There is a whole other world of practices to be discovered in Yoga, and at Satya Loka we teach a diverse range of practices starting from the very basics, to more advanced forms of kundalini yoga, our advanced continued education gives you the opportunity to explore this in the following stages of Yoga.

Pranayama:

Pranayama translated is the increase and expansion of our vital life force, prana, and involves controlling and regulating the breath to remove physical and the more subtle blocks in the body {mental and emotional}. Techniques range from learning how to breath correctly in the basic breath to advanced techniques that require breath retention and the application of mudras and bandhas. Ideally, pranayama is taught after students have practiced sufficiently asanas (postures) so that the mind, body and energetic system is purified to be able to withstand the increases of energy that comes from this very powerful practice.

Meditation

Yog asana and pranayama, whatever their styles are preparatory stages for Dynana, meditation. Through practising Yog asana the body becomes more supple and flexible and there it is easier to sit for longer without being disturbed by physical pain or discomfort. Pranayama serves to help the practitioner to purify, control and regulate the subtle energies within, which ultimately creates more calmness in the mind. During authentic meditation practices we use various techniques to stabilise and calm the mental fluctuations. Through practice we become less identified with the mind and more identified with a pure state of awareness  that is beyond mind. At this point without effort we rest in that pure awareness and a state of meditative absorption is experienced.

 

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