Yoga’ is an integrated system that heals our body, mind & soul. Yoga is not only about practicing asana or different postures that figures out our body. But it also means to know the ‘True Nature’ of itself, i.e. ‘who we truly are’.

Yoga also guides us to the spiritual paths of ‘action’, ‘devotion’, ‘knowledge’ & ‘meditation. In Veda’s, these spiritual paths are described into four paths of Yoga- ‘Karma Yoga’- ‘action’, ‘Bhakti Yoga’- ‘devotion’, ‘Jnana Yoga’- ‘knowledge’ & ‘Raja Yoga’- ‘meditation’.

Yoga’s four paths are mainly described for the essential developments of our body, mind & soul. In real life, we don’t know which things are good for us, which emotion can affect us, which action can change our life or etc. The four paths of Yoga help us to get the solution to these above queries.

We as human beings know that we all have similarities in our senses. Our emotions & energy governs the body & mind in which we live in. These four paths of yoga teach us, how to live the life of bliss, joy & freedom.

Let’s read about the 4 (four) paths of Yoga-
1). Karma Yoga (Action)
Karma implies ‘action’, the action of our physical body & the action of our minds thinking. Without thinking of the outcome, Karma Yoga is performed. It also provides the path of selfless service (Seva).

According to Veda, it is said that in one’s body, mind & consciousness, there is an opposite reaction for an action. It implies that the reaction of action totally depends on our karma (action). If we do good actions then the reaction will also be good, & if we do any bad actions then the reaction will also be bad.

Karma Yoga says- ‘to do the right things’, as it has the power to strengthen our moral powers. It purifies our mind & helps in ignoring the inclination of bad karma. It also guides us to follow the rule of karma Yoga i.e. accepting whatever is coming instead of expecting more.

2). Bhakti Yoga (Devotion)
Bhakti (devotion) is especially for the people who are emotionally attached to nature. The essential part of bhakti yoga is ‘chanting mantras’. It helps in creating a strong connection with the divine.
Bhakti Yoga purifies our heart & helps in the cease of ego, jealousy, lust, anger, arrogance & pride. Veda defines bhakti yoga as ‘pure love’ or ‘prem’, the practice of bhakti yoga connects our hearts with the divine.
Anyone can practice this bhakti yoga with the help of chanting mantras. In our daily life, when we are in any trouble, we always perform this bhakti yoga. We pray or chanting mantra to the god to have a blissful, joyful & soulful life.

Once, we have created the thread of bhakti with the divine, it can never be disconnected. It doesn’t matter then what we are doing or where we are going, the love connection with the divine can never be broken.

3). Jnana Yoga (Knowledge)
Jnana (Gyana) is the art of knowledge or wisdom. With the help of the study & the self-inquiry, it helps us to know ‘what is the real’ or ‘what is not the real’?

Jnana Yoga helps to explore the nature of our being. To put all the desires of our mind to attain the spirit of itself, it can say we are stable in our intelligence.

Jnana Yoga states the truth that there is no distance between the universe & the self. It is the difficult path to attain knowledge of itself true nature, by using the power of our minds.

The two phases of Jnana Yoga knowledge are- fire & light. All the impurities of our mind burn with the help of the fire knowledge. While our inner consciousness is enlightened with the help of light knowledge.

4). Raja Yoga (Peaceful Mind)
‘Ashtanga Yoga’ or ‘the eightfold path’ is another name of Raja Yoga. Raja Yoga path define are two integral paths that are ‘the asana’ & ‘the pranayama’.

Raja Yoga can be practiced by everyone; therefore, this yoga path is most favored by the westerners. With the practice of silent meditation, we can control our mind, body & also transformed our energy into spiritual energy.

The practice of raja yoga, maintains balance in sleep, work, diet & lifestyles. With the help of meditation, it trains our mind, control emotions, avoid distractions & takes responsibility for life.
In Raja Yoga, according to Patanjali Yoga Sutra, it states the level of consciousness & enlightenment i.e. known by ‘Samadhi’. Without meditating with ritual or mantra this raja yoga can be practiced anywhere or at any time.

Author's Bio: 

Ashish born and brought up in Rishikesh, India which is also known as the world capital of yoga. Yoga has been a part of his life for over 3+ years and his practice has helped me grow stronger, more flexible and fearless, both on and off the mat. Yoga inspires him to live each moment more mindfully. He loves writing and sharinginformation about yoga..