When the word Yoga is mentioned, most people immediately think of physical postures for relaxing and limbering up the body, this is only one small aspect of it. Physical Yoga or Hatha Yoga was primarily designed to facilitate the real practice of Yoga - namely, the understanding and complete mastery over the mind.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali quotes it very clearly: "Yogas Citta Vrtti Nirodhah" - The restraint of the modification of the mind-stuff is yoga. Once the restraint of the mental modifications (thoughts) is achieved one has reached the goal of Yoga and the entire science of Yoga is based on this.
OTHER BRANCHES OF YOGA
When the word Yoga is mentioned, most people immediately think of some physical postures for relaxing and limbering up the body. This is only one small aspect of it. The physical Yoga or Hatha Yoga was primarily designed to facilitate the real practice of Yoga - namely, the understanding and complete mastery over the mind.
The system of Hatha Yoga is pre-dominantly concerned with the physical development, through asanans (posture), pranayama (breath control), mudras (energy locks), kriyas (cleansing techniques), yogic diet and deep relaxation.
This creates a strong, supple and relaxed body, increases vitality, radiant health and helping in curing illnesses and addictions. Hatha Yoga is not only a wonderful tool to reduce stress above all it is designed to help the body, emotions and mind to return to their natural state of good health and balance.
A Hatha class offers a beautifully integrated experience, including many of the traditional yoga practices. Classes are really moving meditations, where form in each asana is important, but the primary focus is on being present and being open to experiencing the joy and vitality ever present within ourselves.
All form of Yoga practice that involves asanas (postures), pranayama (breath control), mudras (energy locks), kriyas (cleansing techniques)yogic diet and deep relaxationis is called Hatha Yoga.
There are different traditions like Iyengar-, Astanga-, Integral-, Sivananda-, Kundalini- or Bikram Yoga just to name a few. The tradition is based on the teachers background.
The science of the mind: Predominantly concerned with the control of the mind through following the path of ethical perfection and regular practice on concentration and meditation.
Raja Yoga is a practical guide for gaining control over the mind. The second sutra states, "Yogas chitta vritti nirodhah," or, "The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga." Every thought, feeling, perception, or memory you may have causes a modification or a ripple in the mind. It distorts and colours the mental mirror. If you can restrain the mind from forming into modifications, there will be no distortion, and you will experience your true Self
The path of action. Performing selfless duties without expectation of rewards (verbal or material).
You can practice all the other yogas with ease, but the most difficult one is Karma Yoga, because the ego will pop up at every moment. But the secret is to forget yourself, to place yourself last and put others first. Then Karma Yoga will be easy. You will be the happiest person.
The path of devotion. By constant love, thought and service of the divine (either God, a divine incarnation or spiritual teacher) the individual transcends the limited personality and attains cosmic consciousness. The path of Bhakti Yoga can be practiced by everyone. All that is needed is faith, devotion and constant remembrance of God. This can be expressed outwardly or inwardly through prayers, singing, chanting or any other way.
The path of self enquiry by means of asking "who am I"? Through the knowledge of what really exists, that is and what is changeable the Jnana Yogi (one who engages in the path of wisdom) realises oneness with the entire universe.
Japa means the repetition of a mantra. A mantra is a sound structure of one or more syllables which represents a particular aspect of the divine vibration. Concentrated mental repetition of a mantra produces vibrations within the individuals entire system, which are in tune with the divine vibration.