September 10, 2018

Four Streams of Yoga

There are two major components that make up all kinds of yoga. Some follow the first, others the second, and still others use a combination of both to create a unique approach:

  1. Abhyasa (discipline)
  2. Vairagya (letting go)

In the modern world, there are so many different kinds of yoga practiced, but they can be grouped into four major streams:

  1. Raja Yoga: psychic control (abhyasa)
  2. Karma Yoga: work (abhyasa)
  3. Jnana Yoga: philosophy (vairagya)
  4. Bhakti Yoga: worship (vairagya)

These four streams unitize four different techniques or methods but essentially have the same destination. Think of it like four rivers taking different paths through different climates, but all eventually ending up draining into one lake. Therefore, it does not matter which stream you ride on, as long as that climate suits you. Each stream is designed to use a different function of our body to gain mastery over mind. Some people find it easier to use one function over another, and if that works for them, it is perfectly alright.