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Universal Principles of Yoga (Part 2)

Paul M. Jerard Jr.
Aug 17, 2007
The emphasis, in most Hatha Yoga classes, is on the physical body. As I have explained to some of my colleagues, "Some form of union is better than no union at all." This indicates something ancient Yogis knew thousands of years ago. The path of Hatha Yoga will be much easier to follow than the paths of Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, and Jnana Yoga.

There are many styles of Yoga, but let's look at some of the main Indian Yoga styles and their approach to unity. There are many other Indian Yoga styles, and no disrespect is intended by not mentioning them. Many styles of Yoga do use components found in other styles, so each style has many facets. Meditation is one of the most common facets found in almost all forms of Yoga.

Bhakti Yoga: Is unity through devotion, love for God, or loving service. This is the most widely practiced form of Yoga within India. However, Yoga practiced for devotion to God is practiced by many religions. These Yoga classes are most often sectarian in nature and include members with one religious belief.

Bhakti can also be misplaced when a person gives too much devotion to material gain and temporary worldly pleasures. The Bhakti Yoga practitioner knows that the true path, toward a connection with God, is through loving service and devotion to God. The "holy man" who preaches hate, is not a Bhakti Yoga practitioner.

Pope John Paul II could have been considered an example of a Bhakti Yoga practitioner. Within a spiritual country, such as India or Saudi Arabia, you will also see many examples of Bhakti Yoga. Although, many Saudis might not agree with the description, they are devoted to Allah (God). Many Moslems will travel a great distance for a Hajj or Umrah. This is an example of loving service to God.

Sometimes devotion can be to a prophet, saint, or Guru, who is living or not, but most often devotion, dedication, and love toward God, Brahman, Krishna, Allah, Jehovah, Yahweh, or a Supreme consciousness is the central idea. In truth, mankind has spent far too much time waging war over the name of God.

Jnana Yoga: Is unity through knowledge, but this is much more than intellectual pursuit. Jnana Yoga is a method to turn knowledge into pure wisdom. Knowledge is not always practical or pure wisdom.

Today, many children have access to multiple forms of media, so they are knowledgeable, but are they very wise? Children are young and need time to develop wisdom. How many times have you met a person who was "book smart," but lacked common sense in daily decision making? Awareness, logic, and pure wisdom are cultivated through meditation, self-analysis, self-realization, and developing a deeper connection with God.

© Copyright 2006 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
About the Author
Paul Jerard is director of Yoga teacher training at Aura in RI. He's a master instructor of martial arts and Yoga. He teaches that along with fitness. He wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students who want to be a teacher.

http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org
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