4 Paths of Yoga

You’ve probably heard that yoga is not only about asanas i.e. twisting the body into difficult postures. But you’ve then probably wondered “so what is it?” There are essentially 4 paths of yoga that lead one to the Ultimate/Truth/liberation/Self Realisation:

  • Karma Yoga (Action) – using your body
  • Jnana Yoga (Wisdom) – using your mind/intelligence
  • Bhakti Yoga (Devotion) – using your emotion
  • Kriya Yoga (Energy) – using your life energy

These paths seem very different on the surface. Jnana yogis for instance may think other yogis are stupid, Bhakti yogis may think everyone else is missing the point because God is everywhere, Karma yogis may think everyone else is just lazy and Kriya yogis may think everyone else just doesn’t see that the whole existence is only energy.

However, the fact is that all these 4 paths need to come together in a person to lead her/him to a meditative state. That is to say, one must have one’s mind, actions, emotions and energies in alignment and not going in different directions. Only then can we know true yoga.

This short (~3min) and simple animated video by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev of the Isha Foundation provides a good explanation through a story that you can even share with children!

Related: How the 4 Yogas are the Same
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