A friend of mine called me up and said- hey, let’s do some yoga! Get your mat!

Another friend called me up and said- hey, time for some yoga! Get your tambourine!

Yet another friend called me up and said- hey, its yoga time! Get your broom along!

So many friends…and such varied requests! It’s tough maintaining friends and even more challenging to know what’s with these weird requests…

So I spoke to a guru, read more and here is a snapshot of what I learnt.

Yoga is truly a state of mind. The word is derived from the root word in Sanskrit- Yuj. Which means to join.

Joining the inner self with the higher reality, joining the body and the mind, the mind and the soul etc.

There are various schools of thought on how one can achieve that state. Hence, there are various types of Yoga.

Bhakti Yoga:: The one who called and asked to get the tambourine probably wanted to sing devotional keertans. It’s one of the paths – of Bhakti Yoga, which is a spiritual path practice that focuses on being one with a personal god through devotion. If you have had the good fortune of listening to keertans, or bhajans, where many people chant together,(complete with the support of instruments like the mridanga, the harmonium, tabla, etc.), the energy built up is so high, many of the individuals enter into what looks like a trance, forgetting about everything around them and being fully absorbed within.

So high is the quotient of bhakti in some of people that they eat, drink and breathe the name of their personal God. This doesn’t mean they relegate their duties. In fact the focus on work is intense and they treat work, other people, animals, nature like their God, hence building respect in everything they do and respect for everyone they come across.

The one who invested in a broom was a follower of Karma Yoga. She would selflessly serve one and all, without thinking about the results/ fruits/ advantage or any gain from her actions. She would volunteer to work where help is required; she would contribute through ideas, as well as physical work, preparing food for the community, teaching the underprivileged, arranging blood donation camps and other such initiatives. And in all of this, the level of focus being high helps in attaining higher reality.

Also, being unattached to the result/fruit, helps in performing the action well.

Hatha Yoga: the boy with the mat. He wanted to practice stretching the body, so that he builds strength enough to remain in a posture to meditate and get closer to the higher reality.

Hatha Yoga is known to cleanse the body and the mind to be able to sit for longer durations of time to be able to focus on the breath, and then move on from there to dhyana. This is an integral part of Raja Yoga.

While I wrote this, another friend of mine called up and said “hey! I am doing yoga abhyaasa, and also have a lot of scriptures that I am reading. I enquire to myself ‘who am I, what am I…’ to guide me towards next steps”. Well, that may fall under Jnana Yoga!

And there are other types / sub-types that I haven’t mentioned here yet.

But ultimately, they all lead us to one place. 🙂

So, how do we get there? Pick up any practice or all of them to understand what works best for you, and tell yourself and others “we live yoga!