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John 1


The four paths of yoga are used in different ethnic backgrounds. In my understanding of yoga which in today?s society many believe the same. I believed that yoga was a form of exercise which you contort your body in different angles. I was sadly mistaken by what I believed was right was not right at all. As a matter of fact Yoga is actually a form of religion. In Yoga religion they have different paths. One path is the Jnana or better known as ?Way of Knowledge?. In this path which from what I have learned is that those who practice it uses the rational mind rather than trying to transcend it by concentration practices. In my own words this means that the person believes that instead of focusing straight ahead that you should focus on all that is around you and to keep an open mind. It states in the Jnana path that the seeker must also develop the spiritual virtues (calmness, restraint, renunciation, resignation, concentration, and faith) and have an intense longing for liberation.

Another form of yoga is the Bhakti yoga ?Way of Devotion or Love?. Bhakti means, ?to share,? To share a relationship with the Supreme. This relationship is that of intense love. Bhakti Nam Dev described this deep love in sweet metaphors:

Thy Name is beautiful, Thy form is beautiful, and very beautiful is Thy love, Oh my Omnipresent Lord.

As rain is dear to the earth, as the fragrance of flowers is dear to the black bee, and as the mango is dear to the cockoo, is the Lord to my soul.

As the sun is dear to the sheldrake, and the lake of Man Sarowar to the swan, and as the husband is dear to the wife, so is God to my soul.

As milk is dear to the baby and as the torrent of rain to the mouth of the sparrow hawk who drinks nothing but raindrops, and as water is dear to the fish, so is the Lord to my soul.

These metaphors brought up a lot of emotions for me. About six years ago I was a drug user heavily. When I found sanctuary without the use of drugs I remember seeing the beauty of nature around me. When neighbors cut their grass I can smell the fresh cut grass on the wind. I would have to say that this is the path I would choose to follow because of the love it has in it. I believe everyone should be happy and joyous with all around them. For me I love everyone and hate no one. Even when someone has done me wrong I believe that if I pray for him or her they will come around to the light and change their ways.

The third Yoga practice ?Karma: Way of work? is another form. Karma yoga is service rendered without any interest in its effects and without any personal sense of giving. My belief in this yoga practice is that the person believes that he is not in control of himself but a Higher Power is control. In a sense this is absolutely correct. I believe to myself that I?m not in control but a Higher Power other than myself is influencing me. Like the time I prayed to God to guide me in my move. I wasn?t sure if I should move out of state or stay in California. The next day came and I received a letter from my employer explaining that they are letting me go. I saw this as God guiding me forward that there is something better for me elsewhere.

The fourth and final Yoga practice is ?Raja: Way of Physiological and Psychological Discipline.? The physical and psychic practice of raja yoga are those with which non-Hindus are most familiar, as they have been popularized in the West. I have seen on television these yoga practices where you contort your body in all sorts of strange positions. I am familiar with this form but not by practice. Asanas are sustained physical postures that are used to cleanse the body and develop the mind?s ability to concentrate. They learn how to regulate their breathing to calm nerves and increase their body?s supply of invisible life energy. Like I have seen in television these practices include forms of exercise and breathing techniques which enable the person to focus on their energy throughout their body.

As I have stated before I would choose the path closely relating to my personal being as a whole but I would still keep my mind open to other aspects of religion. I believe that most other religions believe in the same God, as we all know. These other religions just have a different way of expressing their undying devotion to their God.

Fisher, Mary Pat. ?Living Religions? third edition. Upper Saddle River: NJ. 1991

Swami Sivananda. Sivananda Yoga “Om” Page. 1 July 1999


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