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Yoga - Essay Example

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The elegant simplicity of yoga makes it one of the easiest spiritual practices to learn, and one of the most difficult to master. The goal of yoga is to reach a state of "balance, purity, wisdom, and peacefulness" as a method of reaching one's true self…
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Yoga
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Yoga The elegant simpli of yoga makes it one of the easiest spiritual practices to learn, and one of the most difficult to master. The goal ofyoga is to reach a state of "balance, purity, wisdom, and peacefulness" as a method of reaching one's true self without the distractions that invade our spirit (Fisher and Bailey 80). Four basic types of yoga have been described, each tailored to the individual personality of the practitioner. To understand yoga, you must understand the raja, the jnana, the karma, and bhakti disciplines of the ancient Indian religious practice.
Raja yoga, believed to be the oldest method, is a deep meditative state where one tries to still the mind through meditation and chanting. Many of the methods and beliefs about yoga are common to all types and built upon the raja yoga. It is a method to still the mind to a deep calm and allow it to naturally follow the ethical principles that surround life. This is done by stilling the disturbances within the body by controlling the breath and thought as well as concentrating our energy through the vital body centers known as charkas, located along the spine. This is accompanied by chanting mantras, harmonic syllables and tones that are said to "still the mind and attune the devotee to the Divine Ground of Existence" (Fisher and Bailey 82). Additionally, music and the concentration on pleasing visual forms augment the meditative state as the raja practitioner attempts to reach samadhi, "a super-conscious state of union with the Absolute" (Fisher and Bailey 83).
Jnana yoga is a style of yoga for rational people to reach their state of absolute bliss. It involves a path of self-discovery in the belief that if we know our true self we will overcome our ignorance that leads us to believe we are separate from the Absolute. A common method is the continual inquiry of 'who am I', and creating an understanding that the eternal self is the one asking the question.
While raja and jnana yoga are meditative and involve self-discovery, karma yoga is an action oriented discipline of the practice. By understanding that "the Absolute performs all actions, and all actions are gifts to the Absolute", the yogi loses the sense of self in their service and gains liberation (Fisher and Bailey 83).
Bhakta yoga is the final type of yoga and the one practiced by most of the followers of Dharma. Bhakta is based on pure love and means, "to share a relationship with the Supreme" (Fisher and Bailey 84). By practicing pure love, the story of Mirabai, a bhakta devotee states, "Everything perishes, sun, moon, earth, sky, wind, everything" (Fisher and Bailey 85). All that remains is the pure Supreme and oneness with the liberation of the self. Bhakta yogi is more appropriate and practiced by most people.
Yogi is a practice that is designed to free the mind, body, and self from the trappings of the material distractions that we all face. It is meant to reach our inner self where the Absolute state of calm and bliss resides. Though the four types take different paths, their similarities are meant to reach the same destination.
Works Cited
Fisher, M P., and L Bailey. An Anthology of Living Religions. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000. Read More
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