Four Types Of Yoga

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Tran, Anh - Assignment #2
Question: What is Yoga? Critically define the four yogas, intention, style, focus, and personality. Which one would you think most suited to your personality? Explain why. Simply put, yoga is a form of moksha (liberation). It is a spiritual exercise that brings peace, balance, and calmness to oneself.
There are four types of yogas. The first one is jnana or knowledge yoga. This type of yoga is intended for spiritual aspirants who have a strong reflective bent; it is the shortest and steepest path to unite with the Godhead through knowledge (Smith, 39). Jnana has nothing to do with factual information but the power to distinguish what is on the surface and what is deeper, out of sight (Smith, 39-40). This power
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Bhakti yoga is the way to divine realization through love (Smith, 41). Its biggest goal is to identify with God and love God genuinely (Smith, 41-42). There are three features of the bhakta’s approach: japam (the practice of repeating God’s name), ringing the changes on love (different types of love based on different types of relationships), and the worship of God in the form of one’s chosen ideal (Smith, 41-45).
The third type of yoga is karma, the path to God through work or deeds (Smith, 46). It is designed for persons of active bent (Smith, 46). Like its name, karma yoga is the practice of doing for the sake of selfless acts. “Karma yogis will try to do each thing as if it were the only thing to be done and, having done it, turn to the next duty in similar spirit” (Smith, 48). They resist rushing, eagerness, and the vain attempt to multitask which would turn to laziness or selfishness (Smith,
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This type of yoga is designed for scientific bent which focuses on connecting the body and mind to God through psychophysical experiments (Smith, 50). Raja yoga’s purpose is to activate the deepest part of human self by leading the inquirer to direct personal experience of “the beyond that is within” (Smith, 52). There are eight steps to the experiment. The first two steps begin with self-awareness, aware of oneself and the distractions lie in wait (Smith, 52). The third step is to keep the body from distracting the mind while it concentrates (Smith, 52). The fourth step is to control the breath (Smith, 53). The fifth step is to withdraw all the senses from external objects (Smith, 54). The sixth step is to concentrate upon a single object (Smith, 55). The seventh step is to deepen the concentration into the meditation state (Smith, 56). The last step is realization in which the mind is completely absorbed in God (Smith, 56). Although these yogas are separated by different names and categories, Hinduism does not exclude them from one to another because no human being possesses one emotion or one way of thinking (Smith,

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