Yoga – though the word “Yoga” is a Sanskrit word, it is now more popular in the West than in India and the East! However most understands Yoga as a mere physical exercise, termed Yoga-Asanas. Much more believe that these mere physical exercises YOGA-ASANAS will bring about mental peace and happiness.
Some even believe that YOGA-ASANAS will get them to MOKSHA, Liberation, Enlightenment. Vedanta Society in India for many centuries revived humanity from various misconceptions about different Yoga such as Karma Yoga, Upasana Yoga, Gnana Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Raja Yoga etc.
Yoga derived from Sanskrit root “Yuj”, meaning “to unite, to merge”. Even a dull Intellect will naturally a Uniting what with WHAT? Vedantic Scriptures stipulate the Unification of the Individual Self with the Infinite Universal SELF.
To achieve the Unification, Vedantic Scriptures through the Vedanta Society prescribes various procedures / set of instructions / guidance for the Individual Self. Those procedures are to be followed consistently, systematically for a sustained period under the guidance of a mentor, who is established in Vedantic Wisdom.
These procedures / set of instructions are given a name called Yoga. Most prescribed Yogas are Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Gnana Yoga, Upasana Yoga, and Hatha Yoga.
Every Individual is comprised of a Physical Body, a Mind. Depending on the mental temperaments one may be predominantly Physical, Emotional, or Intellectual. All the above five mentioned Yogas are to be practiced in proportion to the predominancy of the personality.
For example, a predominantly Intellectual personality who is seeking Unification with the Infinite Self is prescribed the practice of Gnana Yoga during most part of the pursuit, however he needs to practice the remaining four Yogas too in lesser proportion.
Likewise, a predominantly physical personality is prescribed to practice Karma Yoga most part of the pursuit, however he too needs to practice the remaining four Yogas as well.
However, there had been some customization, by some Vedanta Society, and they have derived other Yoga’s such as Kundalini Yoga, , Kriya Yoga, Raja Yoga etc.
Ashtanga Yoga is otherwise termed as Raja Yoga, which is supposedly and eightfold an integral practices / procedure which aid the seekers prepare for Meditation.
Kundalini Yoga, a complimentary practice to the primary yogas, though originally intended to direct the seeker in the Unification with the Infinite Self, later the practices got twisted, distorted by some western gurus. It now has become more of a mystical experience seeking practice. Loads of glittering graphics and videos depicting rise of cakras etc. misguide genuine seekers.