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The various paths of Yoga

What is Yoga?

Yoga stems from an Indian art of freedom and wellness that has been practised for over two thousand years.

Yoga unites the body and mind with the spirit for a happy, healthy and fulfilled life. It is simple, yet life changing. Through the practices of yoga, you can break your negative patterns from the past and learn to live in the moment; to see the divine within and trust that the universe will provide, to enable you to experience the divinity in everything.

Various Paths of Yoga

Yoga provides paths for all individuals (who choose to practice it) to help them reach their full potential and be in harmony with the Spirit. The following are some main paths of yoga:

Branch Meaning
Yoga Unity.
Yug (Root for Yoga). Yoke, union, harness.
Ashtanga Yoga Eight limbs of Raja Yoga.
Bhakti Yoga Unity through love, devotion and worship.
Hatha Yoga Obstinancy, stubborn. The Yoga of mind-body control.
ha = sun; tha = moon, so the balancing of these two energies.
Japa Yoga Mantra and repetition, using mala, similar to rosary beads.
Jnana Yoga Unity attained through knowledge of the self and wisdom.
Karma Yoga Unity by right action.
Kundalini Yoga Development of psychic forces, through arousing the primal shakti within the body.
Direction of its spiritual use is through the conscious mind.
Laya Yoga Concentration on the (hidden) chakras.
Mantra Yoga Unity through sound.
Raja Yoga The royal path, unity which is all-encompassing.
Tantric Yoga Orgasmic fulfillment.
Yantra Yoga The study of symbols.

The world of yoga is like a forest filled with variety and colour,  and a myriad of styles and approaches. Each species in a forest has its individual characteristics, enabling it to grow to its greatest potential. The various yogic systems are unique, yet all have the same purpose: enlightenment. Every tree in a forest has the same goal – to reach towards the light. One tree’s method is not better than another’s.

Hatha Yoga, the most commonly practised yoga in the West, is primarily physical. It is the yoga for mind-body control. The word hatha is made up of two syllables ha and tha, meaning sun and moon. Through hatha yoga, the solar and lunar energies of the body are harmonised.

Raja Yoga is the Royal Path. Raja means royal. This is yoga for the mind and extraordinary states of consciousness. It was codified by Patanjali, a sage who lived in India around the first century A.D., into ashtanga, the eight limbs of yoga.

Shanti Yoga

Shanti Yoga is a wholistic approach developed by yoga master Shanti Gowans. “Shanti” is a Sanskrit word that means peace. Shanti Yoga is integrated yoga made easy. It incorporates the physical aspects of hatha yoga and amalgamates it with all the other yoga paths, combining the spiritual and mental in the traditional and classical form of hatha yoga.

Shanti Yoga is not only a method for preparing the system for spiritual awakening but is also a very important and proven science for health. By deepening one’s understanding of the mechanics of the body and creating a balance between the body’s energy systems through postures and the breath, the practice of Shanti Yoga helps maintain constitutional strength and health. Awareness grows more subtle, leading to a fuller use of the mind-body. Using the breath for invigoration, learning ways to work with one’s individual limitations such as injuries, and developing a growing awareness of the subtle movements of energy and matter, are some of its applications.  Read more about Shanti Yoga

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About Shanti Gowans

Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community. Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television.

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