Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.
~ Jason Crandell
Since ancient times, yoga has been compared to a tree with different branches. These branches epitomize a unique aspect of life. However, these branches go beyond the physical practice of yoga postures and breathing techniques. Most people are acquainted with asanas and pranayamas and assume yoga is all about that. But within the realm of these branches, yoga extends beyond the obvious.
Hatha Yoga, which is the branch that deals with postures and breath control, is just one of the five branches. Yoga, as a whole, goes beyond the physical practice and encomapsses the spiritual growth of an individual. It helps us harmonize ourselves with universal consciousness. As we expand our being, we come closer to our true self. Spiritual development results from an integration of the mind, body, and soul while we advance in our practice.
The other branches of yoga are known as Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Raja Yoga, and Jnana Yoga. With each branch dealing with a unique subject, they include different aspects of life like philosophy, contemplation, thought, action, and more. While Bhakti Yoga, for instance, talks about acceptance for all, Raja Yoga leads the practitioner towards meditation and mastering the mind.
On a fundamental level, these yogic branches comprise of different paths to physical, spiritual, and mental growth. It is entirely up to the practitioner as to what path to choose. The infographic below illustrates this concept further and also highlights the various benefits of practising yoga. As we advance in our practice, we go on to live a more fulfilling life.
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Sapna Sondhi Dutt. Sapna has 17 years of experience as a yoga teacher and practitioner. She founded her yoga studio, Yoga with Sapna, in Gurgaon, India, with the aim of spreading the benefits of the art with the masses. She has also created unique sequences for practicing traditional yoga and each class is different, not a set routine. Physical asanas, breathing, and meditation are all done in an integrated flow. Students at Sapna’s yoga studio range from beginners to those who have been coming there for over ten years.