Yoga in Hinduism

Subject: Sports
Type: Expository Essay
Pages: 5
Word count: 1621
Topics: Yoga, Buddhism, Tradition


Essentially, Yoga infers to a group of mental, physical and spiritual disciplines or practices that are originated in India. It is both a system of physical and mental exercises and a school of thought in the Hindu religion. Classic Hinduism has four different kinds of Yoga namely Hatha, Bhakti, Karma, and Jnana. Yoga is considered as ways of reaching towards the divine reality. Each of a different kind of Yoga is different and unique in their ways based on their context of usage. This paper looks into the four different kinds of yoga that are practiced in Hinduism. 

Jnana Yoga

Jnana simply means knowledge. This path or rather yoga fosters an understanding of the ultimate reality through knowledge. The reality of the yogi, this is a practitioner of yoga, is attempting to understand is one’s own identity or rather the identity of atman with Brahman who is the creator as well as the essence of the cosmos. The understanding of this identity must not only take place at the intellectual level but with rather every fiber if an individual’s being.  According to (Berry, 29), Jnana yoga aim is to “convince the thinker that she is more than her finite self.” There are primary steps that are involved in jnana yoga that help in discovering the atman. The first step is learning. In this stage, the initiate is taught regarding the identity of Brahman as well as Atman through the study of holy writings, through instruction among other approaches of teaching. Once the anticipated level of understanding of the concept has been attained, the yogi (the practitioner of yoga) moves to the next level.

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Thinking is the next stage. At this stage, the yogi is taught to embrace the teaching he has gained. The tutor or rather the teacher encourages this process by, for instance, pushing the yogi to think about the “me,” “I” and “my” that always come up in an individual’s speech. The primary objective of this stage is to bring the student to the ability where he can easily separate his or her eternal soul from the temporary self within which it is encased.To differentiate oneself from oneself is the third and last step. Once an individual understands that one’s eternal atman is engrossed in a temporary body of Maya. The objective at this stage is to relocate an individual’s identity in Atman instead of the body and its accompanying thoughts and emotions (Varenne, 66). At the inception of this stage, the student (the yogi) starts to think of themselves in the third person, instead of thinking in the first person, For instance, instead of thinking “I am drinking tea,” they think, “Kerry is drinking tea.” An individual thus instead of being their motivator of their temporary body, they become just a mere observer of their body. The objective is to finish detachment of the eternal self. There is nothing that can separate the atman (self) from Brahman. After the third step, the yogi considers a mere spectator of his life as his or her life events precedes without any hindrance. 

Bhakti Yoga

The second kind of yoga is the Bhakti Yoga. Unlike the Jnana yoga, this is a more emotional approach to developing a complete as well as an actual love for God. Bhakti Yoga yogis see God as personal and separate and not as the Jnana yogis who seek to connect and relate with God having faith in him that he is an impersonal kind of unending sea. Bhakti Yoga instead of thriving at uniting with him tends to be with God simply. It is a path of devotion to God or rather a path of the love of a individual here places much precedence on a god or goddess. Some of the gods and goddess that people devote themselves to include Ganesh, Vishnu, and Parvati among others and express their love for her or him. The goal is broad and is not all about simply saying “ I Love Kali” or “ I like Shiva’ or simply practicing acts of love as well as worship, but it is rather actually to love them, get fully devoted to them as if they were a parent, a lover or one’s child (Varenne, 72). This kind of yoga has different forms. It can be the persistent repetition of the goddess or god’s name throughout an entire day to increase an individual’s awareness of the ultimate being’s purpose in life. The objective in this yoga is thus not unity or identity but rather nearness. Lovers are not considered as one person. They are considered as two lives that are intertwined. 

Raja Yoga

This is the third type of Yoga in Hinduism. Raja is a term that refers to Royal. This shows that this type of Yoga is a Royal Yoga. Raja Yoga, therefore, basically means the route of mediation. This means that having the ability to remove from one’s own realization from its awareness of this world of Maya so as to concentrate only on the final reality of the cosmos unity. This is a little bit challenging to achieve. Because of the difficulty, there are some solutions that have been formulated in the Hinduism tradition to solve the complexity. The solution is the eight stages that have been designed to offer a simple path to its accomplishment. The challenge is to overcome the awareness of an individual first of their surrounding and then that of their individual activities and the body. This may be activities such as the pumping of the heart, breathing or gaseous exchange. These areas are the real obstacle. However, one they have been completed, the individual is required to take control of their mind and concentrate only on one thing. Reaching this stage in the type of     Yoga is very challenging. An individual is required to observe some things before they can cross to the concentrating part. One is expected to try and forget what are affecting their personal life, the surrounding as well as other aspects of life that he or she may have been subjected to before. Afterward, the concentration of the mind should be maintained through the environment that the individual is in. The individual should be somewhere that there will be no disruptions of the mind. The things that the person interacts with should be controlled to avoid any difficulties that may be there. This will enable the person to focus on the one right thing, Brahman (Long, 130). The main goal is attained when via the focus and the meditation, all the differences of the world of Maya go away and the unity of Brahman and Atman comes to place.

Karma Yoga

This is also a type of Yoga in the Hinduism religion. This type of Yoga main point of focus is reversing the natural order operations of Karma. Karma is derived through each single action that a person does during their life ad it is the operation of Karma that needs rebirth after death. This, therefore, means that Karma Yoga reasons, when an individual could live without bringing about Karma, and then there will be nothing that will stimulate the birth. This is an indication that this type of Yoga directly depends on the life that an individual lives during their normal lives while they are on earth. Just as any other type of Yoga, there are steps that are done to accomplish Karma Yoga. For the attainment of Karma Yoga, there should be detachment. Detachment of an individual means the separation from one’s atman from one’s action. This means that there should be a separation of the behavior of an individual with that person self. To successfully do this,  there should be the removal of all involvement, and this should also be inclusive of what one is thinking about a particular activity. In essence, the detachment should focus on eliminating the habit, personality, and intentions that an individual may be having. To attain this, there are two main techniques that can be used. Either of the routes is successful depending on the way they are conducted. One technique is through putting all of the actions onto one’s god (This is taking the path that is similar as that of Bhakti Yoga.) Another technique that can be used is by using the knowledge of one’s true self-such as Jnana Yoga (Jain, 14). These two techniques converge to the point that they try to separate a person from who they are. They should bring the true self and then manipulate the behavior to get it out of the person.

In conclusion, the paper has shown that there are four main types of Yoga. These are the Karma Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and the Janana Yoga. All these are part of the Hindu religion. Also, it is evident that the four types of Yoga try to reach towards the divine reality regardless of whether the final goal is union with the divine, better life or release from life. In all these types of Yoga, there are steps that are done or actions that are done. They have challenges in attaining them but once attained; it becomes easy to attain the Yoga. The Yoga adheres to the religious beliefs of Hindu.

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  1. Berry, Thomas. Religions of India: Hinduism, Yoga, Buddhism. Columbia University Press, 1996.
  2. Jain, Sagarmal. “1 The historical development of the Jaina Yoga system and the impacts of other Yoga systems on Jaina Yoga.” Yoga in Jainism 3 (2015): 14.
  3. Long, Jeffery D. “The Transformation of Yoga and Hinduism: Negotiating Authenticity, Innovation, and Identity in a Global Context.” Religious Studies Review 40.3 (2014): 125-132.
  4. Varenne, Jean. Yoga and the Hindu tradition. Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1989.
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