When someone mentions yoga, thoughts that come to mind are exercise and meditation for many, including myself before taking this class. Yoga is actually a predominant practice in the Hindu religions and is a way for Hindus to embody their religion. Yoga comes from the Sanskrit root word yuj’ which means to unite. Yoga is a practice that is used for control, specifically having control over your mind, for the ultimate goal, to achieve moksha. There are multiple interpretations on how yoga is practiced depending on the type of Hinduism. The four most widely practiced and known types of yoga are bhakti, jnana, karma, and raja, which are all part of the Vedic Traditions and the Mahabharata. Even though yoga originates from the Hindu religions, it has become modernized to encompass more individuals for a market opportunity.
Raja yoga is derived from the Vedic Tradition, and emphasizes one’s awareness of their state of mind. Through this control, one can bring their mind to one focus point and it is believed that with this control and following the Eight-Fold Path one can achieve moksha. Bhakti (devotion) yoga directs individuals in a more personal way with their relationship with God. Through this, one should be able to awaken their love for God in all forms and have selfless love in order to remove selfish desire. Jnana Yoga is referred to as achieving spiritual liberation and having the ability to learn about their true self by separating what is either corporeal or incorporeal. Along with this, they proclaim neti, neti or not this, not this. With all of this, it should allow one to be able to detach themselves from their senses and be indifferent to the material world. Karma yoga is said to be the path of dedicated work: renouncing the results of our actions as a spiritual offering rather than hoarding the results for ourselves. From this, it is saying that through karma yoga, one shouldn’t do an action with anticipation of receiving praise or expect excellent outcomes. Rather one should be more humble and do their work as an offering to God. All of these different types of yoga and their purposed behind them, allow for individuals be able to embody their practice. This can be done privately, or it can be done as a community. By taking these practices and individuals applying them to their everyday lives, it shows how those of the Hindu religion are willing to follow what they believe in order to achieve their ultimate goal.
Over the years, yoga has become modernized and structured in a way that is more of an exercise or means of meditation for those who aren’t apart of the Hindu religion. But it has also become an opportunity for many from a marketing stand point. There are yoga pants, mats, and the yoga ball. Along with all the books, podcasts or Youtube videos that circulate and say that if they do what that these products tell them, they will have a more positive life. In the US alone, yoga is a twenty-seven-billion dollar industry. So the modernization of yoga has taken away from what it was originally for. In Hinduism, it is practiced for religious purposes.
With there being many forms of yoga, many are still for the practices of the Hindu religion. Which is a way that many embody their practice in their everyday life, by taking control of their mind, actions, strengthening their individual relationship with God, and finding their true selves. Along with that, there is the marketing aspect of modernized yoga.