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What is Yoga?
Apart from meditation, which is the common practice for all yoga branches, hatha yoga teaches you a series of important postures (known in yoga terminology under the name of asanas) and breathing exercises (called pranayamas).
Yoga is a discipline with a history of over two thousands years, which is why it has greatly developed over the centuries resulting in a variety of yoga practices and branches.
Each yoga branch is developed to serve different needs and purposes, but, as a general rule, they all serve the purpose of harmonizing and identifying the equilibrium between body and mind. In what follows, we are going to take a closer look at four other yoga branches.
Another common and highly appreciated branch of yoga is the karma yoga, which promotes the principle according to which everything that happens to us in our present existence is a direct consequence of our previous actions. As a result, karma yoga encourages its practitioners to try to eliminate all the negativism and the selfishness from their present, in order to avoid having to deal with them in the future. Actually, karma yoga should be practiced everyday, including when being at work, and activities carried out with the precise goal of helping other people, such as Peace Corps, can be easily associated with the karma yoga path.
Another branch of yoga, which, this time, places a great accent on the meditation, is the raja yoga. Known also under the name of classical yoga, raja yoga is a more complex form of training, which is why it typically starts with hatha yoga, in order to prepare the body for more advanced training stages. Studies have demonstrated that the persons attracted by this form of yoga are, as in general, more introspective people, interested in profound meditation. Moreover, various religious groups devote themselves to this yoga path, which is close to a monastic or contemplative lifestyle.
Jnana yoga is a branch of yoga directed mainly to the scholars and it implies a development of the intellect through the study of yoga tradition scripts and texts. It is also known to be the yoga of the yoga of the heart and wisdom. Although it is described as the most difficult of all yoga practices, jnana yoga is also one of the most direct and challenging paths.
Another popular yoga branch, which promotes and sustains the idea of devotion, is the bhakti yoga. The main message transmitted by this yoga path is that there is something divine in any form of creation. Thus, it is important to tolerate, accept and respect any forms of life we come in close contact with.
These are, without any doubt, only a few of the various yoga branches or paths, but, nevertheless, the important thing is that anyone can find a yoga practice, which is able to promptly suit his or her needs.
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