Yoga Schools | Old Yoga Classes | Yoga practices

Schools

The term “yoga” has been applied to a variety of practices and methods, including Jain and Buddhist practices. In Hinduism these include Jnana YogaBhakti YogaKarma Yoga,Laya Yoga and Hatha Yoga.

The so-called Raja Yoga refers to Ashtanga Yoga, the eight limbs to be practiced to attain samadhi, as described in the Yoga Sutras of Pantajali. The term raja yoga originally referred to the ultimate goal of yoga, which is usually samadhi, but was popularised by Vivekananda as the common name for Ashtanga Yoga.

Hinduism

Classical yoga

Yoga is considered as a philosophical school in Hinduism. Yoga, in this context, is one of the six āstika schools of Hinduism (those which accept the Vedas as source of knowledge).

Due to the influence of Vivekananda, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are nowadays considered as the foundational scripture of classical yoga, a status which it only acquired in the 20th century. Before the twentieth century, other works were considered as the most central works, such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Vasistha, while Tantric Yoga and Hatha Yoga prevailed over Ashtanga Yoga.

 Ashtanga yoga

Yoga as described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali refers to Ashtanga yoga. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is considered as a central text of the Yoga school of Hindu philosophy, It is often called “Rāja yoga”, “yoga of the kings,” a term which originally referred to the ultimate, royal goal of yoga, which is usually samadhi, but was popularised by Vivekananda as the common name for Ashtanga Yoga.

Ashtanga yoga incorporates epistemology, metaphysics, ethical practices, systematic exercises and self-development techniques for body, mind and spirit. Its epistemology (pramanas) is same as the Samkhya school. Both accept three reliable means to knowledge – perception (pratyākṣa, direct sensory observations), inference (anumāna) and testimony of trustworthy experts (sabda, agama). Both these orthodox schools are also strongly dualistic. Unlike the Sāṃkhya school of Hinduism, which pursues a non-theistic/atheistic rationalist approach, the Yoga school of Hinduism accepts the concept of a “personal, yet essentially inactive, deity” or “personal god”. Along with its epistemology and metaphysical foundations, the Yoga school of Hindu philosophy incorporates ethical precepts (yamas and niyamas) and an introspective way of life focused on perfecting one’s self physically, mentally and spiritually, with the ultimate goal being kaivalya (liberated, unified, content state of existence).

Hatha yoga

Hatha yoga, also called hatha vidyā, is a kind of yoga focusing on physical and mental strength building exercises and postures described primarily in three texts of Hinduism:

  1. Hatha Yoga PradipikaSvātmārāma(15th century)
  2. Shiva Samhita, author unknown (1500 or late 17th century)
  3. Gheranda Samhitaby Gheranda (late 17th century)

Many scholars also include the preceding Goraksha Samhita authored by Gorakshanath of the 11th century in the above list. Gorakshanath is widely considered to have been responsible for popularizing hatha yoga as we know it today.

Vajrayana Buddhism, founded by the Indian Mahasiddhas, has a series of asanas and pranayamas, such as tummo (Sanskrit caṇḍālī) andtrul khor which parallel hatha yoga.

 

Shaivism

In Shaivism, yoga is used to unite kundalini with Shiva. See also ‘tantra’ below

Buddhism

Buddhist meditation encompasses a variety of meditation techniques that aim to develop mindfulness, concentration, supramundane powers, tranquility, and insight.

 

Core techniques have been preserved in ancient Buddhist texts and have proliferated and diversified through teacher-student transmissions. Buddhists pursue meditation as part of the path toward Enlightenment and Nirvana.The closest words for meditation in the classical languages of Buddhism are bhāvanāand jhāna/dhyāna.

Jainism

Jain meditation has been the central practice of spirituality in Jainism along with the Three Jewels. Meditation in Jainism aims at realizing the self, attain salvation, take the soul to complete freedom. It aims to reach and to remain in the pure state of soul which is believed to be pure conscious, beyond any attachment or aversion. The practitioner strives to be just a knower-seer (Gyata-Drashta). Jain meditation can be broadly categorized to the auspicious Dharmya Dhyana and Shukla Dhyana and inauspicious Artta and Raudra Dhyana

Tantra

Samuel states that Tantrism is a contested concept. Tantra yoga may be described, according to Samuel, as practices in 9th to 10th century Buddhist and Hindu (Saiva, Shakti) texts, which included yogic practices with elaborate deity visualizations using geometrical arrays and drawings (mandala), fierce male and particularly female deities, transgressive life stage related rituals, extensive use of chakras and mantras, and sexual techniques, all aimed to help one’s health, long life and liberation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *