Philosophy and History

6 major branches of Yoga

1. Raja Yoga

Raja yoga focuses on meditation and contemplation in order to fully realize the self. Known as the royal (Raja) or king path of yoga, it is based on the eight-limbed path toward self-realization outlined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, and tends to attract the more spiritually devoted practitioners.

2. Bhakti Yoga

Bhakti yoga is the path of devotion, emphasizing devotional love for and surrender to God.

By seeing the Divine in everyone and everywhere, Bhakti yoga cultivates acceptance, tolerance, and love for all beings. Bhakti yoga also involves a lot of chanting and kirtan (call and response) that evokes feelings of love, connection, and bliss.

3. Jnana Yoga

Jnana yoga is the path of wisdom and knowledge (Jnana), involving disciplined study of scriptures and constant inquiry into the nature of self. Often called the yoga of the mind, Jnana yoga is well suited for the more intellectually inclined.

4. Karma Yoga

Karma yoga is the path of selfless action, the yoga of doing. Selfless service is the heart of karma yoga. Remaining completely detached from the outcome of their actions, Karma yogis are in continual service to the betterment of all beings with no intention of physical gain.

5. Mantra Yoga

Mantra yoga is the yoga of sound. Considered sacred utterances, mantras are syllables, words, or phrases representing a particular attribute of the Divine. Mantra yoga is the practice of becoming centered through the repetition of mantras.

6. Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga is the practice of yoga postures, or asana, using the body as a vehicle for self-transformation.

8 Limbs of Yoga

The eight limbs of yoga are yama (abstinences), niyama (observances), asana (yoga postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption).”

History of Aerial Yoga

There are several claims to be the originator of Aerial Yoga, but some research suggests this form of practice got started in 1991 in New York. The Broadway choreographer and former gymnast Christopher Harrison pioneered the first aerial yoga workouts with a group of gymnastic athletes who wanted to continue to do aerial moves after they retired from competition.

Philosophy of Aerial Yoga

Aerial yoga approaches asana from a playful point of view. Participants are encouraged to stay “lighthearted” while manipulating the “laws of physics” as they hang suspended in the air exploring backbends and inversions or wrapping up cocoon-like for a unique expression of savasana

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