Yoga Schools


Traditional schools of Yoga


The different philosophies, traditions, li neages and guru-shishya paramparas of Yoga led to the emergence of different traditional schools. These include Jnāna Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Pātanjala Yoga, Kunḍ ạ lini Yoga, Haṭha Yoga, Dhyāna Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Laya Yoga, Rāja Yoga, Jain Yoga, Bouddha Yoga etc. Each school has its own approach and practices that lead to the ultimate aim and objectives of Yoga

Yogic practices for health and wellness

The widely practiced Yoga sadhanas are: Yama, - Niyama, Āsana, Prānāyāma, Pratyāhara, Dhārana, Dhyāna, Samādhi, Bandhas and Mudras, Shatkarmas, Yuktāhāra, Mantra-japa, Yukta-karma etc.

Yamas are restraints and Niyamas are observances. These are considered to be pre-requisites for further Yogic practices. Āsanas, capable of bringing about stability of body and mind, "kuryat-tadasanam-sthairyam", involve adopting various psycho-physical body patterns and giving one an ability to maintain a body position (a stable awareness of one's structural existence) for a considerable length of time

Prānāyāma consists of developing awareness of one's breathing followed by willful regulation of respiration as the functional or vital basis of one's existence. It helps in developing awareness of one's mind and helps to establish control over the mind. In the initial stages, this is done by developing awareness of the "flow of in-breath and out-breath" (svāsa-prasvāsa) through nostrils, mouth and other body openings, its internal and external pathways and destinations. Later, this phenomenon is modified, through regulated, controlled and monitored inhalation (svāsa) leading to the awareness of the body space getting filled (puraka), the space(s) remaining in a filled state (kumbhaka) and it getting emptied (rechaka) during regulated, controlled and monitored exhalation (prasvāsa).

Pratyāhara indicates dissociation of one's consciousness (withdrawal) from the sense organs which connect with the external objects. Dhārana indicates broad based field of attention (inside the body and mind) which is usually understood as concentration. Dhyāna (meditation) is contemplation (focussed attention inside the body and mind) and Samādhi (integration).

Bandhas and Mudras are practices associated with Prānāyāma. They are viewed as the higher yogic practices that mainly adopt certain physical gestures along with control over respiration. This further facilitates control over mind and paves way for higher Yogic attainment. However, practice of dhyāna, which moves one towards self-realisation and leads one to transcendence, is considered the essence of Yoga Sādhana.

Śaṭkarmas are detoxification procedures that are clinical in nature and help to remove the toxins accumulated in the body. Yuktāhāra advocates appropriate food and food habits for healthy living.