1. Raja yoga or Ashtanga yoga
It is also known as Patanjali’s Raja Yoga. It is the royal path of meditation. The basic premise of raja yoga is that our perception of divines Self is obscured by the disturbances of the mind. As a king maintains controls over his kingdom, we can also control our big territory of the mind. In raja yoga we use our mental powers to realize the Atman through the process of psychological control. With the practice of yoga mind can be made still and one can realize the presence of Atman. There are eight limbs to Patanjali’s Raja Yoga. The first five deal with training the body and the last three teach the perfection of the self. The eight limbs are-
- Yama, code of conduct in society
- Niyama, self-discipline
- Asana, postures
- Pranayama, breath control
- Pratyahara, contemplation or sense withdrawal
- Dharana, concentration
- Dhyana, meditation
- Samadhi, absorption or super-consciousness.
These eight steps or limbs take the individual to the final stage of Self-perfection or Divinity. In the process the limited, narrow and selfish thinking changes completely.
It consists of practices of asana, pranayama and relaxation. These practices make the physical body strong, flexible and relaxed. They increase self-awareness of many disharmonies and imbalances in the body. The increased awareness helps us overcoming these imbalances through attention to correct postures, breathing and relaxation.
The term Bhakti comes from the root 'Bhaj', which means 'to be attached to God'.It is recommended for those who are more emotional than intellectual. It is the path of devotion, the method of attaining God through love.Love is accessible to everyone: we all love someone or something, frequently with great intensity. Love makes us forget ourselves, our whole attention being devoted to the object of our adoration. There is no selfish expectation in bhakti yoga.
We all perform actions without even knowing. Karma is performing actions and also the result of actions. Whatever we are experiencing today may be its good or bad is the result of our previous karmas. It may be defined as the yoga of work or action.
Jnana means wisdom or discernment. It is the yoga of knowledge of Brahman and Atman and the realization of their unity. The main purpose of this meditation is to withdraw the mind and emotions from perceiving life and oneself so that one may live in reality.
The roots of Tantra Yoga go back to ancient fertility cults of India. It is linked with the worship of Shakti, worshiping the goddess energy and seeing the body as the temple of the divine. The main objective of Tantra Yoga is to merge with the Ultimate by channeling of sexual energy. According to Tantra, the kundalini is present in everything, even in the smallest of particles, in the form of cosmic energy. Only a part of it is operative, while much of it is left 'coiled up' at the 'base root'.