Yoga and Hinduism
While many individuals perceive yoga as a form of physical activity or type of meditation, it is much more significant than that. Have the writers at Paper Masters explain and explore the concept of yoga in Hinduism.
In Hinduism, there are five main categories of yoga practices:
- Jnana yoga
- Bhakti yoga
- Karma yoga
- Laya yoga
- Hatha yoga
Each of these is, essentially, a philosophic approach with meditative and spiritual components. Ancient Hindu texts describe yoga as a state of being where one is separate from one's senses; one's focus is strictly on the soul. The various practices of yoga and its corresponding meditation, then, serve as a means of achieving a sort of spiritual freedom.
In the Bhagavad Gita, yoga is presented in a variety of ways. Karma yoga, or the yoga of action, refers to the ability to achieve perfection in one's selflessness. Bhakti yoga, or the yoga of devotion, refers to one's desire to please God simply for the sake of doing so; one is not motivated by the thought of paradise or the threat of damnation. This is also believed to be one of the easiest ways to achieve yoga, as it does not require a full-time commitment to the practice. Jnana yoga, or the yoga of knowledge, is also called the "path to self-realization," and requires one to strive for intellectual growth. This growth should come not only with one's knowledge, but also with one's self-awareness. In other Hindu texts, references are made to Laya yoga, or the yoga of awareness. Through this yoga, one is concerned with values and experiences, serving and working to heal others. Hatha yoga is the traditional understanding of yoga, incorporating physical poses with meditative practices.