Oct 04

What do Raja, Karma, Jnana, Bhakti, Mantra, and Hatha all have in common?

The owner of a yoga studio recently asked if I practice yoga. I said that ‘I do, I hold Nada Yoga practices at my home every week, and attend Bhakti as often as possible.’ He looked…..confused…..and said something like, ‘No, I mean YOGA, you know….stretching.’ I said, ‘Oh, and I practiced Karma Yoga at a couple of ashrams.’


Yes, I was toying with him a bit at the end there, but it still surprises me when people educated in yoga are unaware of all the different flavors: Raja, Karma, Jnana, Bhakti, Mantra (Nada), and Hatha. Yoga is not just postures, it’s a full physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual set of practices that utilizes muscles, mind, and breathing to achieve Wholeness or Oneness.


Karma is also called work yoga, doing tasks of selfless service such as the care and cleaning of the ashram, or helping to prepare food for the dining halls. If we think of it, volunteer work for an organization that helps others can be karma yoga, too, like the work I do helping build tiny houses for the homeless and helping with that organization’s non-profit and newsletters.


Bhakti is the yoga of devotional singing the names of the Divine. Traditionally, this is in Sanskrit and includes mention of Shiva, Krishna, Kali, etc. but there is no reason that Taize (another singing practice I love that is done in Latin and English) cannot be considered Bhakti yoga also.


Mantra (I call Nada) is the yoga of sound, chanting a simple syllable or short phrase and listening for the most powerful of sounds, your Inner Voice, during the pauses in between. (At a recent Nada Yoga practice, while I led one of the chants, I kept hearing the phrase: “There is great love for you here.” This is the phrase often spoken by Abraham at the conclusion of an Abraham-Hicks seminar. It gave me goosebumps and I almost misplaced my fingers while playing the harmonium.)


The others in the list I have not practiced, so will let you learn more about them in the short video, but please be aware that yoga is not a class you attend a few times a week, it’s a lifestyle of Awakening to your Divine Nature.


Here is a short description of the “Six types of Yoga” 4:48


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