1. Karma Yoga, The Path of Action
By acting selflessly, without thought of personal gain or reward, and by detaching from the fruits of actions and instead offering them to God, the Karma Yogi purifies the heart and sublimates the ego.
2. Bhakti Yoga, The Path of Devotion
Through prayer, worship and ritual, the Bhakti Yogi surrenders to God, channeling and transmuting emotions into unconditional love or devotion. Chanting or singing the praises of God form a substantial part of Bhakti Yoga.
3. Raja Yoga and Hatha Yoga
This path is often called Ashtanga, or eight-limbed yoga. It is the path of body, breath and mind control, and meditation. Hatha yoga is part of Raja yoga. It offers a systematic method for controlling the waves of thought. The chief practice of Raja Yoga is meditation. When body and energy are under control, meditation comes naturally.
4. Jnana Yoga, The Yoga of Knowledge
This is vedantic meditation and self-enquiry. Requiring tremendous strength of will and intellect, the Jnana Yogi uses intellect to inquire into his or her own true nature and into the nature of reality. Before practicing Jnana Yoga, the aspirant needs to have integrated the lessons of the other yogic paths - for without selflessness and love of God, strength of body and mind, the search for self-realization can become mere idle speculation.
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