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The Branches of Yoga

As we discussed earlier about Bhakti yoga or the path of devotion. Whether you are devotional or intellectual in nature, yoga has a path for you. The physical practice of yoga postures, however, which is known as hatha yoga, is just a small window into the larger world of yoga—it just happens to be the window through which most of us were introduced to it. But what if you aren’t that into physical exercise? You can still love yoga. In fact, some of the yogis I know who don't even have practiced hatha yoga are taking benefits of yoga. Yoga can really be customized to your wants, needs and lifestyle, and there’s an entire vast and comprehensive tradition to choose from. Apart from Hatha yoga and Bhakti yoga, there are four more types of yoga. So, today let's talk about these different branches of yoga. You may be surprised to know that asana is not only a very tiny part of yoga but a tiny part of just one tiny branch of yoga. There are six branches or systems in yoga. They are Raja yoga, Jnana yoga, Tantra yoga, Hatha yoga, Bhakti yoga, Karma yoga. More than just different styles of physical yoga, these ‘branches’ have different histories, philosophies and intentions to each other – although it is possible to practice more than one together. We will know more about these processes individually in the upcoming blogs.

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