There are many systems of yoga, but they fall into four basic categories. All the systems have the same goals:
1. Harmony between body, mind and soul,
2. Harmony between human beings,
3. Freedom from mechanical, unconscious, robot-like ways of thinking and living,
4. Transcendence of the limitations of the body and personality,
5. The reduction of ego and selfishness and, eventually,
6. The experience of the Divine in oneself and others.
Yoga offers various paths towards the same goals in order to facilitate the different needs, characters and inclinations of the various types of people. Each is free to follow whichever path suits him personally. Most people, however, find that a combination of the paths suits them more. There is a path for the practical person, for the doer, for the emotionally oriented, for the mentally and philosophically oriented; and a path for the development of will power, which is useful for all the paths. You may choose according to your inclinations.

1. KARMA YOGA is also called the householder’s yoga or the path of action, of activity in the world. One does not need to practice any special techniques or go to any special classes or retreat from life at all. One simply learns to SERVE, WITHOUT EXPECTING ANYTHING IN RETURN, AND TO ACT WITHOUT BEING ATTACHED TO THE RESULT OF HIS ACTION.

Thus, the Karma Yogi serves his family, helps his friends, offers whatever selfless service he can to society so as to lessen the suffering around him. He diminishes his ego by becoming free from his own needs and pleasures, so that he can offer something worthwhile to the society in which he lives. He does not worry about the others. He does not worry. He acts. There is a great difference between action and worry. Worry is worthless and brings negative results. Action with love and self-confidence can bring about great changes.

Thus a Karma yogi, may run a business, fight a court case, drive a taxi, or bring up children. In each case he will use all his mental and physical powers to create the desired result, but his happiness will not depend on the result. His happiness depends on his knowing he is doing his best. His business may fail, he may lose his court case, his children may not act in the way he would like them to, but he is at peace. He has done and is doing his absolute best and will continue to do so, but without anxiety about success or failure.

He begins to feel himself as a cell in the body of humanity and starts to look around to see what he can do to make the world a better place to live; to help the poor, the orphans, the blind, the lonely, the ill. He may choose to direct his energies towards various movements such as those for World Peace or for Human rights. He corrects the world and himself at the same time. The key words here are SELFLESS SERVICE and DETACHMENT FROM THE FRUIT OF THE ACTION. The motto is «Service to Humanity is Service to Divinity». This is in alignment with the teachings of Christ in which He explains that He is in every being and that, whenever we help anyone, we are helping Him in reality. Service is the path towards human unity through selfless action.

2. BHAKTI YOGA is the yoga of devotion, love and worship of the Divine. It is the emotional path towards union with God. Yoga leaves the form of worship up to the individual. It encourages the Christian to worship Christ. The Hindus, Buddhists, Moslems and Jews will each worship in their own way. This is the path of complete surrender to the Divine Will. One tries as much as possible to have the name and form of the Divine constantly in his mind, i.e., the ceaseless prayer recommended by St. Paul, LORD JESUS CHRIST HAVE MERCY ON ME.

This path is expressed in Christ’s words «Love God with all your heart, all your mind and all your strength and all your soul». And this commandment soon leads into the second, «Love your neighbor as you love your self». Christ makes no conditions, such as; if he is a Christian, or a saint, or not if he is a sinner, or a communist, or a Jew, or a Black.

He tells us, also, to love our enemies - everyone without exception. Thus, while we must channel all our emotional energies into our worship of our chosen Ideal, at the same time we must keep our hearts and minds open to everyone else, no matter what their chosen way of worship or belief.

The Bhakti yogi soon starts to discover that God is the inner resident of each and every being in creation and consequently his or her love expands towards all. Ego and selfishness are slowly eroded by his love, which is like a light removing the darkness in his life. It is not possible to truly love God, without loving people. This path purifies negative emotions, destructive desires, the mind and the character. It is considered one of the more suitable methods of enlightenment in our present age. The methods of Bhakti yoga are prayer, chanting, spiritual discussion, repetition of the name of God and various traditional rituals, which may suit the individual.

A combination of Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga offer an individual in our society an opportunity to better his own life and the world around him simultaneously. It requires no techniques and no special training.

From the book "The Art of Meditation"
by Robert Elias Najemy

Author's Bio: 

Robert Elias Najemy, a life coach with 30 years of experience, has trained over 300 Life coaches and now does so over the Internet. Info at:
He is the author of over 20 books, 600 articles and 400 lecture cassettes on Human Harmony. Download FREE 100's of articles, find wonderful ebooks, guidance, mp3 audio lectures and teleclasses at .
His books The Psychology of Happiness, Remove Pain with Energy Psychology and six others are available at