The first priority in life is good health. Good health is a determining factor for both material and spiritual satisfaction.
Yoga is an integral system bringing good health to body and mind as well as spiritual union or contentment with one´s own self.
The origins of Yoga are in the Vedas, the 6000 year old scriptures of India. ´Yoga´ comes from the root word yuj, ‘to yoke’/’to connect’. Merging oneself with the universal soul is Yoga. An unripe individual has ego, jealousy, anger, etc. By overcoming these negative qualities, the individual soul (microcosm) becomes purified and can unite with the universal soul (macrocosm), as rivers merge with the ocean. Yoga can also be defined as steadiness of the mind or perfection in life.
Selection and practice of Yoga depends on the temperament and capacity of the individual.
All branches of yoga practice bring the individual to one and the same goal, as there are many paths to the top of the hill, but on the top the experience is the same.
The four main types of Yoga are Jnana Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga.
It is the Royal Path of controlling the thought waves, which leads one to Self-realization, or Samadhi. According to the great sage Patanjali Maharshi (Raja Yoga Sutras, 200 BC), regulating the thought waves leads to steadiness of the mind/Samadhi, which is the final stage of spiritual discipline. Raja Yoga is also called Ashtanga Yoga because of its eight ‘limbs’ or steps, which are Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.
Listening to the scriptures, contemplating on the true and deep meaning of those scriptures and meditating on that very essence (Brahman) of the scriptures are the three classical practices of Jnana Yoga. In addition, by developing Viveka (understanding the difference between permanent and non-permanent) and Vairagya (non-attachment), one can establish pure consciousness (Brahman) in the mind.
Practice of pure Bhakti (devotion) melts away the individual ego and brings God-realization. Bhakti Yoga is suitable for any temperament, but it is especially good for those with an emotional nature.
In Karma Yoga one dedicates himself/ herself to the universe. All actions are done whole-heartedly and without expectation of the fruit/ reward of the action.
Hatha Yoga has been defined as the practical aspect of Raja Yoga. The five methods used in Hatha Yoga to attain perfection of body and mind: Practice of Asanas (postures), Pranayama (breathing exercises), Kriyas (cleansing techniques), Bandhas (energy locks) and Mudras (certain postures or gestures)