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Yoga Branches – A Practice of Mind and Body

    Yoga Branches yoga pranayama

    Yoga is a mind and body practice with historical origins in ancient Indian philosophy. Various branches of yoga combine physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation.

    The practice of yoga makes the body strong and flexible, it also improves the functioning of the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and hormonal systems. Yoga brings about emotional stability and clarity of mind.

    Branches of Yoga

    Yoga, in ancient times, was often referred to in terms of a tree with roots, trunk, branches, blossoms, and fruits. Each branch of yoga has unique characteristics and represents a specific approach to life. The six branches are:

    Hatha yoga

    Physical and mental branch – involves asana and pranayama practice – preparing the body and mind

    Raja yoga

    Meditation and strict adherence to the “eight limbs of yoga”

    Karma yoga

    Path of service to consciously create a future free from negativity and selfishness caused by our actions

    Bhakti yoga

    Path of devotion – a positive way to channel emotions and cultivate acceptance and tolerance

    Jnana yoga

    Wisdom, the path of the scholar and intellect through study

    Tantra yoga

    pathway of ritual, ceremony or consummation of a relationship.

    The ‘eight limbs of yoga’

    Raja yoga is traditionally referred to as ashtanga yoga because there are eight aspects to the path to which one must attend. The eight limbs of ashtanga yoga are:


    Ethical standards and a sense of integrity. The five Yamas are: ahimsa (nonviolence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (continence) and aparigraha (non-covetousness)


    Self-discipline and spiritual observances, meditation practices, contemplative walks. The five Niyamas (Rules) are: Saucha (cleanliness), Samtosa (contentment), tapas (heat, spiritual austerities), Svadhyaya (study of sacred scriptures and of one’s self) and Isvara Pranidhana (surrender to God)
    Asana – integration of mind and body through physical activity


    regulation of breath leading to integration of mind and body
    Pratyahara – withdrawal of the senses of perception, the external world, and outside stimuli


    Concentration, one-pointedness of mind


    Meditation or contemplation – an uninterrupted flow of concentration


    The quiet state of blissful awareness.

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    The information provided on the site is being provided for educational purposes only. The information is not a substitute for any medical advice.