Previously, I've written an article for the online magazine Nuit Magazine explaining some of the yoga practises that derived from Hatha [read here] and explaining what yoga is.

Today I would like to give you even more of an insight into it.

In the west, we mainly only recognise the physical practice of yoga and some people have recognised it so well that they're making an absolute fortune from it.

I say this with no negative intention just a bit of disappointment that the true essence of yoga has been watered down and much of its powers and benefits therefore lost.  

Yoga isn't just about losing weight, binding your leg behind your head, or making pretzel-like shapes with your limber body.  These are easy and accessible entrances into it and are some of the benefits of it but it's not what yoga is about.

Yoga itself is a way of life and a philosophy with principles and objectives. The ultimate objective is to quieten the mind, have control over our thoughts and therefore attain inner peace, happiness and mental freedom.  

There are six disciplines (six ways to practice yoga) that when practised wholeheartedly aim to draw us closer to its objectives: happiness and mental freedom.  

Here are two in the hope that it will help you understand and de-mystify the practice of yoga a little more.

Two Disciplines of Yoga

Bhakti Yoga
This is the complete devotion to the higher being (aka God) and the belief and acknowledgement that there is something bigger and greater than us within the universe.  

Raja Yoga
This is the ability to control the mind and emotions through meditation resulting in inner peace, happiness and mental freedom.

We all have the capacity to resonate with these two disciplines at different levels in our lives and we'll be drawn to what feels true to our core.

The physical practice of yoga incorporates these two disciplines and depending on how much it focuses on each one will determine which derivative of Hatha yoga it is.

For example, Sivananda yoga focuses less on postures (only 12 set poses) and more on meditation, chanting and learning (vedanta).

So ultimately, the physical practice of yoga helps to bring us closer to these two disciplines so that we may find our true purpose in life (dharma).

What's our true purpose in life?  To be happy and free from negative thought.