As mentioned earlier Satyananda Yoga includes Hatha- (physical yoga poses), Raja- (the knowledge of the mind), Jnana- (the path of knowledge), Bhakti- (the path of heart and emotion) and Karma yoga (the path of service). Here is a short introduction:
Hatha yoga – Ha is symbolised by the sun and Tha by the moon. It is our ability to act and reflect. There is not much point in writing about yoga poses, as they are best experienced. Remember, we are not supposed to eat three/four hours before class or take a shower after the class. I don’t adhere to this rigidly.
Raja yoga – is about concentration. In Tantra, Raja yoga is of a practical nature. If I understand it correctly this is where Patanjalis yoga sutras come into Satyananda yoga: “The eight limbs of raja yoga, beginning with the yamas and niyamas and culminating in dhyana and samadhi, present a systematic and sequential approach for the all round evolution of the individual personality”.
Jnana yoga – there are two ways to reach the witnessing awareness behind your actions and paticipation in the world. One is: I am not what I experience. I am the one experiencing it. The other is: I am part of everything and everything is part of me.
Bhakti yoga – is about love and devotion. It is to live life fully and without doubts. “It is devotion to the divine, in whatever form or non-form you care to see him or her. It can be devotion to truth, God, the Supreme, Brahman, the Absolute Reality or any other name that you want to call the ineffable. It can be devotion to Christ, Buddha. Mohammed, Krishna, Rama, Hanuman, Mahavira, Shakti, Shiva, Vishnu, Kali, Durga, Ahura Mazda or even Zeus if you wish. You can express devotion to any form which you regard as divinity incarnate. It can be a great saint, whether dead or alive. It can be your Guru. The specific form is unimportant It is the devotion that you personally feel that is essential. Without this devotion, whether great or small, it is impossible to practice Bhakti yoga.”
Karma yoga – “Karma means action, it stems from the Sanskrit root kri, to act. The law of karma says that when we perform any action, there will be consequences.” “In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna advised Arjuna to act and, because he was a warrior, to fight. He tells Arjuna that karma yoga is working, not for the fruits of the actions, but for the sake of the actions themselves. According to Swami Niranjan, karma yoga was the first yoga laid down in the Upanishads as necessary in order to experience the state of perfection in yoga. Karma yoga is one of the main paths laid down in the Vedic tradition.” It is the ability to start all over again – any time – and to continue the work. There is nothing called yoga, it’s called life.
“All the paths of yoga lead to the same experience. The realisation is the same; it is only the means that is different. All the paths of yoga aim at reducing and eventually eliminating the compulsive grip of the mind-born ego.”