7. How to do yoga?
When we truly understand what yoga is and why one should do it, the how part becomes easier. Because the what part gives you clarity and the why part gives you motivation.
Yoga is a path, and there are more than one paths. Just the way you can reach the central square of a city by following different streets, liberation can be achieved by following different types of yoga. They all ultimately lead you to the same destination.
However, one needs to be careful. Since yoga has become a fashionable thing, many people are exploiting it as an opportunity to make money. They have created entertaining, easy-to-follow, sometimes superstitious, sometimes totally nonsensical, new-age methods. And they are selling like hot cakes. You will not only waste your time with those but also be mislead, even harmed.
This is why it is important to understand what is authentic yoga and what is not.
The root of yoga can be traced back to different religions in ancient India, for example, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism etc. In fact, it goes beyond the origin of these religions.
Thus, yoga can be practiced without the requirement of faith.
You are free to explore different types of yoga and use your own judgment to figure out which one is authentic and if it appeals to you. Do some of your own research.
For now we can explore four major types of yoga originated in Hinduism:
- Raja yoga or the path of meditation
- Karma yoga or the path of action
- Jnana yoga or the path of knowledge
- Bhakti yoga or the path of devotion
Before we start exploring, please note that tasting a little bit of this and that technique would not lead you anywhere. Sticking to one path and going where it ultimately leads you is absolutely necessary to gain any reasonable progress and benefit.
But it is also good to know that these paths are not mutually exclusive or contradictory to each other. They will all help you to go forward.