We discussed many paths of traditional yoga to achieve our real goal in life and beyond. This article is a bit long. Please bear with us. We wanted to ensure a continuous flow of the article for you to relish!
If we need to accomplish the goal, we ought to choose the best path that suits our temperament, body condition, etc. Although, we can have some components of many paths, we need to decide on the main path. I know, you have a question now:
Which yoga path suits the best for me?
Sorry! Unfortunately, we do not have answer for your question! In other words, you are the best judge in choosing the path. First of all, we need to get ourselves prepared to take up yoga. It is a life-long commitment.
Once we are qualified, any yoga path becomes much easier to pursue. We can only help you to make your choice by looking at the yoga paths from different perspectives. Fine. Let us get started!
Physical Vs. Mental
Although, all yoga paths have some mental activity as a component, the percentage varies.
Karma Yoga, i.e. yoga of work is more physical component and may work for almost everybody. Next comes, Hatha Yoga which has a great emphasis on body and physical processes. Bhakti Yoga also involves physical rituals, prayers and chanting. These yoga paths may appeal to physically oriented people, e.g. people who play outdoor games or team games.
Raja Yoga involves both physical and mental exercises in good proportion. So, it comes in the middle. Mantra Yoga, jnana yoga and Kundalini Yoga have large mental component to them. So, these paths can be useful to intellectuals such as writers. People who are more analytical e.g. scientists, engineers, chess players etc. may take up mental discrimination route, i.e. Jnana Yoga.
If you are an extrovert, you naturally want to relate to others. You are more expressive: you would like to work with others and Bhakti Yoga may appeal to you very well. In this yoga, we adore Universal Self as our friend. This path may be well-suited for marketing people, businessmen and people working in service industry like restaurants, hotels etc.
Highly introvert people want to be left alone. So, sitting in one place and meditating may be a lot of fun for them! In this respect, Mantra Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Kundalini Yoga might work the best for such people.
Risk Appetite and Adventurism
Let me reiterate this: All the yoga paths must be pursued under the guidance of a Guru (Master). They are generally risky if performed without any supervision.
That said, some yoga systems are intrinsically riskier than others by nature. From this angle, Hatha Yoga and Kundalini Yoga are the most risky paths. So, these paths may be very appealing to risk takers and adventurous types. Bungee-jumpers, rock climbers, stock-market investors and fear factor participants may like these paths! 🙂 Am I scaring you? Not at all. That is the way they are.
Mantra Yoga can also be very risky. At this point, we would like to caution our readers on listening or chanting mantras. They are very powerful and effective when you get them through initiation. Never start chanting mantras with Tantric seed letters such as Hrim, Kleem etc. by reading benefits from books.
Also, do not recite powerful hymns such as Soundarya Lahari, Lalita Sahasranama, Durga Saptashati etc. without initiation from a Master. Energetic vibrations generated by chanting directly interact with our mind-body mechanism and so it is potentially risky and effects are unpredictable. Remember, your safety is important to us.
During the initiation, the Grace of the deity is transmitted to the initiate from the Master. Sadguru’s Grace facilitates the progress and protects the practitioner from any harm.
Risk-averse people can choose Karma Yoga or Bhakti Yoga as their safe bet. Rest of us come somewhere in the middle. We can follow any other yoga paths including these.
Ease of Practice
I am sure that you will be surprised: Kundalini Yoga is one of the easiest and best of all yoga systems. Are we contradicting our earlier discussion? No. If Mother Kundalini is awakened by the Grace of the Guru, meditation happens automatically! No risk at all! No need to strain the body or mind either. Why?
Great Mother Kundalini takes complete control of our psycho-somatic system to cleanse it in Kundalini Yoga. Our job is to surrender to Her with devotion to let her do whatever She wants. Don’t be concerned. Remember: She is our affectionate and caring Mother. So, She always does things which are beneficial to us.
Moreover, the Grace of the Guru always protects the practitioner along the way. Thus, eliminating the risks involved. The divine Mother Kundalini takes care of everything to make yoga happen. She guarantees that we surely achieve the real goal of yoga. No other yoga comes with this guarantee coverage!
Next easier ones are Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga. Anybody can practice these!
Mantra Yoga, Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Jnana Yoga are in the increasing order of difficulty.
Conclusion and Path Forward
OK. All good things must come to an end! With this article, we conclude our systematic discussion of various yoga systems. I am sure that you enjoyed reading these articles as much as I enjoyed them writing!
These are the most popular approaches to yoga. We could not cover many other traditional paths of yoga for various reasons.
As far as so called modern or new age schools of yoga are concerned, we have no interest to discuss them. Not in any foreseeable future! This is partly because some of these systems deviate so much so that they exactly contradict the fundamentals of traditional yoga that we explored. Enough said.
The inspiration to write these articles came from the Divine Mother Shridevi. The Grace of my Sadguru guided me all along the way. I offer my humble prayers and heartfelt salutations to these Great Powers.
From now on, the frequency of my posts may be less and variable. Of course, the topics will still be focused only be on Hinduism and Hindu spirituality.
In future, we will try keep the posts short and sweet. But, as usual, fully packed with authentic information or insights. Our idea is to have at least one post per week. Let us see how it all works out!
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