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Although yoga exists at various levels, contrary to popular western belief, there are only


two main kinds of yoga - hatha and ashtanga yoga.  Hatha yoga is austere, involving


a more physical practice, where postures are frequently held for longer periods of time.


When postures transition gracefully and naturally from one to the next, they are referred


to as hatha vinyasa (a perfect example of hatha vinyasa is the sun salutation, (or surya


namaskara), and its multiple variations, adaptions, modifications, and interpretations.


Ashtanga yoga has 8 paths (ashta= eight; anga= limb/s). The 8 limbs of ashtanga yoga


are iyama (social discipline), niyama (personal discipline),pranayama (breath control),


asana (posture practice), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (concentration),


dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (superconscious/ transcendental/ subliminal state).


Other tributaries of yoga, including swara yoga (yoga of breath) karma yoga (yoga


of service), bhakti yoga (yoga of devotion), kundalini yoga (rising energy yoga), and


dharma (yoga of good deeds), all speak to the power of everyday yogic discipline.


Kaivalya yoga (yoga of healing), Ananda yoga (yoga of joy), gnana yoga (yoga of


knowledge), hasya yoga (yoga of laughter), and raja yoga (yoga of a higher order,


such as meditation) are a few more organic examples that establish yogic versatility.


Any healing or spiritual progress attained is directly related to the level of dedication  


at every stage: mantra (repetitive chants/ aural/ emotional level), yantra (geometric


forms/ visual/ mental level), and tantra (pelvic stimulants/ sensual/ or physical level).


With great focus and concentration, Trataka or candle gazing may also help entice


hyperactive minds into the porous fabric of inner silence, thereby helping us become


one with the universal self, or atma; for we are all ultimately transient cosmic energy.

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