Four Paths of Yoga

Like many, many, people today, rising up with this New Age, I don’t consider myself religious, but rather spiritual.

Yes, many people say that. Yes, it’s a bit cliche. But nevertheless, it is true.

Organized religion does not work for me. I don’t like feeling like my life must follow certain rules to be acceptable. I believe in connecting with nature, Spirit, and others from a place of love. I believe in knowing and loving the self in order to love and heal others. And I believe in the Universe and its ability to help me manifest the life I so desire.

That being said, upon studying Hinduism deeper this week, for school (for those of you just popping in, I am studying Life Coaching at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, AZ), I came to realize that the four core paths of a yogi – one who studies Hinduism – actually do resonate with me. Or rather, they are very similar to beliefs I have held my entire life.

What is Yoga?

So, when we think of yoga, we think of stretching and doing various poses in a meditative state, either in a group, or on our own. We know that yoga is very beneficial to the health of our minds, bodies, and emotions. But this term has been adopted by us, the people, from Hinduism. The yoga that we know is practiced by Hindus, but it is actually known more specifically as Raja, which is the fourth path of Yoga. Yoga, in the Hindu sense, is about connecting with God. So, the four paths of Yoga are designed to help us better understand ourselves, others, and our relationship with the Divine.

The Four Paths

Jnana Yoga is a path of discovery and wisdom. It’s purpose is to cause the yogi to search within themselves deeper than before. It’s goal is to know oneself, to better connect with God.

Bhakti Yoga is a path of emotion. It teaches one how to love others, and to act in remembrance of the Divine. It’s goal is to reach God through love.

Karma Yoga is a path of service. It helps one to be mindful, and to take action. It’s goal is to connect with God through performing karmic actions.

Raja Yoga is a path of mind and body connection. This is where our knowledge of yoga comes into play. This path focuses on meditation, as a way to reach God.

Yoga Paths for People of Today

As you can see, these four paths are easy to relate to. As I said above, organized religion does not work for me. I have lived my life basically by these four paths, without knowing it. When I think about serving others, I think of doing it for others. I think of doing it for Mother Earth. I think of doing it for Spirit. I even think of doing it for my own spirit!

I do not think that we must do everything for God. But then again, if we are all connected, aren’t we all God?

I know one thing for sure: we are all Divine light beings, whether we know it or not. And following these four paths in a traditional way, or a more modern way, will be beneficial to the human race, and the universe. Those are the two things I want to help most.


Journal Questions

  1. Did you feel a connection to any or all of the four paths? Which one resonated with you the most?
  2. Do you feel you could incorporate ideas from these paths into your daily life?
  3. How do you think being mindful of these paths will affect you and the people around you?

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