The Four Paths of Yoga

embrace all of life through the 4 paths of yoga||Karma Yoga - action|||

We are all beautifully unique individuals, yet we all share a commonality in the sense that we live in our body and minds which are governed by our emotions and energy.  As distinctive souls, we all operate at different levels which is why there are Four Margas, four paths of Yoga. It is these four paths which represent each aspect of our lives (body, mind, emotion, and energy) and it is through living that we will invoke at least one aspect, if not more on whatever path we choose to take in life.

 


Karma Yoga - actionKarma Yoga – action

In truth, no-one can escape this path, however, when it is practiced with open mindfulness it transcends to Karma Yoga, the path of physical action and selfless service.

“Karma Yoga is the selfless devotion of all inner as well as the outer activities as a Sacrifice to the Lord of all works, offered to the eternal as Master of all the soul’s energies and austerities.”
– Bhagavad Gita

4-paths-of-yoga-devotionBhakti Yoga – devotion

We all experience emotions of love, compassion and devotion at various points in our life’s journey. When done in the context of seeking the Devine, this is called Bhakti Yoga, the path of devotion.

“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit a water, I will accept it.”
– Bhagavad Gita


KNOWLEDGEJnana Yoga – knowledge

Jnana Yoga is the path of knowledge, wisdom, introspection and contemplation. The revision of inward reflection, honest self-observation and learning naturally occurs within us all, it is how we grow and evolve.

“O Partha, when a man gives up all varieties of desire for sense gratification, which arise from mental concoction, and when his mind, thus purified, finds satisfaction in the self alone, then he is said to be in pure transcendental consciousness.”
– Bhagavad Gita

4-paths-of-yoga-balanceRaja Yoga – Yoga

Raja Yoga deals with all aspects Yoga to unite and bring a balanced blissful harmony thus achieving Samadhi, self-realisation. Raja Yoga is a comprehensive method that emphasizes meditation, or the physical asana practice.

“For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his very mind will be the greatest enemy.”
– Bhagavad Gita

In our physical asana Yoga practice we sometimes find ourselves gravitating with more poised grace towards some asanas more than others. Thus the same is true for the four paths of Yoga. They work well in harmony, yet are designed to complement alignments for individuals with unique predispositions. It is through distinguishing our unique qualities that we can amplify our Yoga path and unearth our purpose and discover self-realisation. 

“The truth is one, paths are many.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

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