For an integral execution of the discipline, it is advisable to follow the 4 yoga paths. They involve different planes: action, spirituality, knowledge and mental and physical control.
Last update: May 11, 2020
Yoga is a millenary oriental technique that is practiced today in the West like any other sport. It is found in specialized centers or gyms, associated with other sports practices, such as pilates. In this article we present several yoga paths.
If you want to carry out a correct practice of yoga, in fact, you have to follow a series of schemes, considering that two components of equal importance must be present: the body and the mind. For an integral execution of the discipline, it is advisable to follow the 4 yoga paths. These 4 paths involve different planes: action, spirituality, knowledge and mental and physical control.
4 yoga paths
It is based, as its name indicates, on the conscious execution of those who practice it. It is associated with aspects such as behavior, duty, motivation or renunciation.
The main objective of the first path is religious devotion. The individual must devote himself unconditionally to what he believes in, leaving aside the hypothesis about the outcome.
Thus a maxim is exemplified: the path is much more important than the goal, and with it the dharma or religious duty must be fulfilled. Karma, i.e. action, must have God as its goal in order for moksha (liberation) to take place.
There are different ways of understanding this path, but they all flow into selfless work (which may or may not be material). The result of the work will be correct and it does not matter if it will be advantageous or not according to the degree of devotion of the person.
This typology is related to spirituality. In it the relationship between God and the believer is important. This relationship is established by reciting God's name as a mantra. Devotees achieve this relationship by singing hymns, even with symbols. Another important part is the pilgrimage to religious places.
All these actions would bring the person closer to divinity, and would translate into relationships of different kinds. For this, there are those who consider this typology a religious and secular discipline at the same time.
Establishing a relationship with God through bhakti yoga can imply the transformation into a friend of the divinity while discharging a duty to him.
Jñāna among the yoga paths
Also referred to as gñana yoga, it is the typology that considers the wisdom or absolute knowledge the most adequate way to approach God. In this discipline, one discerns between the material or the immaterial, between what is real or not.
The control of the senses and impulses is also practiced as a test of knowledge. The renunciation of pleasure and concentration are equally fundamental.
The followers of that doctrine must have total control of their emotions and sensory experiences, as well as dedicating their existence to knowledge. This is part of devotion to God.
The last of the 4 yoga paths, called rāja, it is described in the oldest known yoga text: Yoga sūtra. Consider mental and physical control as a key element to approach God.
This doctrine is not very clear, so it has often been confused or assimilated to other types. Among those related to this doctrine is hatha yoga, one of the most widespread forms in the world, based on asanas or postures.
The practice of raja yoga presupposes in many cases the meditation. A quiet place must be chosen in which, sitting, the individual can concentrate on the present and get away from external noises. Having reached a state of mental peace, he must learn to maintain this state of mental peace on a day-to-day basis.
These 4 yoga paths represent very ancient religious practices, described in books that are difficult to decipher. Nowadays, the conception of yoga relives an interpretation from a western perspective, grasping what interests us. In other words, it is simply seen as a way to relieve stress, calm back pain, or alternatively connect with our spirituality.