Karma Yoga is a path of devotion to the work. One looses his identity
while working, only selfless work remains. This state is very difficult
to achieve. Generally some rewards or incentives or outcome follows the
work and one is attached to this reward or incentive. This is not the
Karma Yoga. Non-attachment with the work and becoming the perfect
instrument of the super consciousness in this manifested universe is the
ultimate aim of Karma Yoga. In the initial stages of Karma Yoga,
individual possesses strong sense of ego and consciously or unconsciously
he is attached to the fruits of his efforts or at least praise or
recognition but by continuous involvement in the work and change in
mental attitude, one can surely disassociate himself from the ego and his
own personality. In this state the work becomes worship to the God, it
becomes spiritual, also the individual becomes expert, skilled and Yogi.
He achieves stability of mind in all conditions, he is not disturbed or
excited or happy in any of the situations. He becomes divine & his
actions represent God's will.
The essence of Karma Yoga as extracted from 'Bhagvad Gita' says: The
world confined in its own activity except when actions are performed as
worship of God. Therefore one must perform every action sacramentally and
be free of your attachments to the results.
Jnana Yoga is the process of converting intellectual knowledge into
practical wisdom. It is a discovery of human dharma in relation to nature
and the universe. Jnana Yoga is described by tradition as a means to
obtain the highest meditative state and inner knowledge.
Jnana literally means 'knowledge', but in the context of yoga it means
the process of meditative awareness which leads to illuminative wisdom.
It is not a method by which we try to find rational answers to eternal
questions, rather it is a part of meditation leading to self-enquiry and
Some of the components of Jnana Yoga are:
1. Not believing but realising
2. Self-awareness leading to self-analysis
3. Experiencing knowledge
4. Realising the personal nature
5. Developing intuitive wisdom
6. Experiencing inner unity
Bhakti is a Yoga of devotion or complete faith. This faith is generally
in the God or supreme consciousness in any of the forms. It may be Lord
Rama, Krishna, Christ, Mohammed, Buddha etc. It may be a Guru for his
disciples. Important thing is the person interested in following this
path should have very strong emotional bond with the object of faith. The
flow of emotional energy is directed to this object. Mostly people
suppress their emotions and that often reflects in the form of physical
and mental disorders. This Bhakti Yoga releases those suppressed emotions
and brings the purification of inner self.
Continuous meditation of God or object of faith gradually decrease the
ego of the practitioner, which further prevents new distractions,
fickleness or even pain and induces strong bonds of love. Slowly the
practitioner looses the self identity and becomes one with the object of
faith, this is a state of self realization.
Raja Yoga usually refers to the system of yoga that is described in the
Yoga Sutras of Sage Patanjali. In this ancient text Sage Patanjali
describes eight stages of yoga which are known collectively as Raja Yoga.
Raja Yoga is a comprehensive yoga system which deals with the refinement
of human behaviour and personality through the practice of the yamas
(restraint) and niyamas (disciplines); attainment of physical health and
vitality through asanas (postures) and pranayamas (pranic breathing
techniques); management of mental and emotional conflicts and development
of awareness and concentration through pratyahara (sensory withdrawal)
and dharana (concentration); and developing the creative aspect of
consciousness for transcendental awareness through dhyana (meditation)
and samadhi (absorption in the universal identity).
This system of Yoga is concerned with awakening of the psychic centers or
chakras, which exists in every individual. (Please refer to the figure)
There are six main chakras in the human beings.
The mind is made up of different subtle layers. Each of these layers
progressively are associated with the higher levels of consciousness.
Each of these levels are related to the different chakra or psychic
center located throughout the psychic body. There are no of other chakras
apart from the six main, which are associated with planes below the human
level. In all we have chakras that connect us to animal levels of mind,
to the instinctive realms of being or to the sublime heights of
In Kundalini Yoga, higher-level chakras are awakened and also the
activities associated with these higher psychic centers.
The basic method of awakening involves deep concentration on these
chakras and forcing their arousal. Asanas, pranayama, mudra and bandha
and other forms of Yoga such as Mantra Yoga are also used to stimulate
Mantra Yoga has its origin in Vedic Sciences and also in Tantra, infact
all the verses in Vedas are called mantras, it is said that any person
who can chant or sing Vedas can achieve the ultimate salvation or union
with supreme consciousness only by chanting the mantras, which is the aim
Swara is Sanskrit word, meaning sound or note. It is also a continuous
flow of air through one nostril. Yoga means union, so Swara yoga is a
science which is realization of cosmic consciousness through control and
manipulation of breath.
Swara Yoga is science which is a complete study, observations, control
and manipulation of breath or Swara. Pranayama is only related to control
of breath in various ways. In swara yoga, you will find association of
breath in relation to activities of sun, moon, various seasons, physical
and mental conditions of individuals etc. So Swara Yoga is more
comprehensive in theory and practices related to breath.
The word kriya means 'activity' or 'movement' and refers to the activity
or movement of consciousness. Kriya also refers to a type of practical or
preliminary practice leading to total union, the final result of
practice. Kriya Yoga does not curb mental fluctuations but purposely
creates activity and awakening in consciousness. In this way all
faculties are harmonised and flower into their fullest potential.
Kriya Yoga originated in antiquity and evolved over time through practise
and experience. The full form of Kriya Yoga consists of over 70 kriyas
out of which only 20 or so are commonly known.
The kriya practices are inscribed in numerous tantric texts written in
Sanskrit. To date only a few of these have been translated into other