Monday, January 4, 2010

FOUR FORMS OF YOGA

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FOUR FORMS OF YOGA


The yoga of understanding has been referred to in the Upanishads as the “razor’s edge,” and we are cautioned to tread carefully on this path. As we gain understanding of the laws of nature, we run the risk of arrogance. Arrogance inflates the ego, and the ego overshadows the spirit. The original sincere quest for discovery leads to an alienation from the very source with which intimacy was sought.
Truly great scientists are known for their humility, for even as they explore and unravel the secrets of the unknown, the unknown looms larger and becomes ever more mysterious. Humility leads to wonder, which leads to innocence. The return of innocence invites us to enter the luminous mystery of life and surrender to it.
The yoga of knowledge can be a wonderful path if we are mature enough to understand that there are seductive temptations that may entrap us for a while in diversions of the intellect.
The second yoga is Bhakti—the yoga of love and devotion. Bhakti is love of God but also the expression and blossoming of love in all your relationships. The divine light of God resides in all that is alive, or for that matter, even that which we consider inanimate. Through our relationships with others, we discover our higher self. As we embark on this journey, we may go through stages of attraction, infatuation, communion, intimacy, surrender, passion and ecstasy until ultimately we once again arrive at the source of love and the source of life.
The yoga of love is a wonderful path, but we must not confuse love with self-absorption, self-importance, or self-pity. If you pay attention to love, think about love, express love, respond to gestures of love, and make love the basis for all your choices, then you are practicing Bhakti yoga, the yoga of love.
The third yoga is referred to as Karma yoga. The ultimate expression of Karma yoga is the recognition that all action belongs to the Supreme Being. When you have an inner attitude that all your actions come from God and belong to God, you are a Karma yogi. The inner dialogue of a Karma yogi is, “I am an instrument of the eternal infinite being. Every breath of mine, every act of mine is a divine movement of the infinite. My thoughts and actions come from the infinite and return to the infinite.” True practice of Karma yoga leads to spontaneous detachment from outcome and one-pointed focused mindfulness as you perform your actions. Action from this level of consciousness is not binding; rather, it liberates you and enables you spontaneously to recognize that you are an eternal being on a cosmic journey. Karma yogis have no anxiety because they have no worry. The Karma yogi knows that God is performing the action and takes care of the results. 
The fourth yoga is known as Raja yoga, the main subject of this book. Raja yoga is frequently referred to as the royal path to yoga because it is rich and abundant in knowledge and experience. Raja yoga can be practiced by anyone with a little bit of training.
 
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