The philosophy of yoga

To convey its spiritual message and guide sessions, yoga often uses the imagery of a tree with roots, a trunk, branches, blossoms, and fruits. Each "branch" of yoga represents a different focus and set of characteristics.

The six branches are:

  • Hatha yoga: This is the physical and mental branch designed to prime the body and mind.
  • Raja yoga: This branch involves meditation and strict adherence to a series of disciplinary steps known as the "eight limbs" of yoga.
  • Karma yoga: This is a path of service that aims to create a future free from negativity and selfishness.
  • Bhakti yoga: This aims to establish the path of devotion, a positive way to channel emotions and cultivate acceptance and tolerance.
  • Jnana yoga: This branch of yoga is about wisdom, the path of the scholar, and developing the intellect through study.
  • Tantra yoga: This is the pathway of ritual, ceremony, or consummation of a relationship.

Approaching yoga with a specific goal in mind can help a person decide which branch to follow.