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The Branches of Yoga

While yoga is a diverse system of practice comprised of many approaches to selfrealization, many authorities on yoga concur that there are four major branches of yoga that over time have served as a point of origin for developing a practice of yoga. In addition to these four branches, there are several other systems of yoga that have gained widespread interest and attention in building a yoga practice. These might be considered offshoots, or mini-branches, of the main four branches of yoga. The following descriptions will help you understand the four main branches of yoga, with some of their most important offshoots.

The Four Major Branches of Yoga

As most commonly presented, the four major branches of yoga are bhakti yoga, jnana yoga, karma yoga, and raja yoga. Understanding the nature of each can help you incorporate yoga into your life in the most meaningful way.

Bhakti Yoga: The Yoga of Devotion Bhakti literally means “devotion” in Sanskrit. Bhakti yoga is known as the yoga of devotion. Following the path of bhakti yoga requires one to surrender oneself completely to a force or power greater than oneself. That power might be a deity, saint, revered teacher, or a quality, such as love. Through the force of opening one’s heart with undivided love and devotion to this higher force, one enters the grace of self realization. Faith, grace, and love are the hallmarks of bhakti yoga. Mahatama Ghandi and the Dalai Lama, with their open hearts and unswerving devotion to serve, are excellent examples of a bhakta, the term that describes a practitioner of bhakti yoga.

Jnana Yoga: The Yoga of Knowledge

Jnana literally means “wisdom” or “knowledge” in Sanskrit. Jnana yoga is known as the yoga of wisdom. Of all the branches of yoga, this path requires the greatest concentration of mental activity. Jnanins (“knowers”), or practitioners of jnana yoga, seek enlightenment through the power of mental discrimination and inquiry—learning to differentiate the real from the unreal, and the limited personal self from the unlimited infinite self that is the source of all being. Meditation is the most powerful tool used in the practice of jnana yoga.

Karma Yoga: The Yoga of Action

Karma literally means “action” or “cause” in Sanskrit. Karma yoga is known as the yoga of action. Following the path of karma yoga involves seeking liberation through one’s actions in the world. Devoting selfless service to others and practicing one’s tasks in life— professional, familial, and otherwise—with perfect awareness and mindfulness without regard for success or failure permits the practitioner of karma yoga to achieve enlightenment and self-liberation. Through karma yoga, even simple and routine tasks such as driving a car or mowing the lawn can be acts of yoga practice if they are offered selflessly and to benefit others in an act of service. Many people associate yoga with asceticism and withdrawal from the external world and the company of others. Karma yoga offers those who are interested in pursuing its path a way of practicing yoga actively in the world.

Raja Yoga: The Royal Yoga

Raja means “royal” in Sanskrit. Raja yoga is known as the royal road to yoga, or the yoga of enlightenment. Of all the branches of yoga, raja yoga is probably the best-known approach to yoga in the West. The practitioner of raja yoga follows a carefully prescribed path composed of eight practices, or limbs, known as ashtanga (“eight limbs”), to achieve self-realization. These limbs include many of the best-known and most frequently engaged yoga practices, including physical postures, breath control, and concentration. (These practices will be described in much greater detail in the chapters that follow.) Raja yoga is sometimes referred to as classical yoga because the practices that comprise it are detailed in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, one of the earliest extant texts on the practice of yoga. The four major branches of yoga form the overall umbrella under which all other yoga practices are subdivided. Each branch, however, need not be considered mutually exclusive. Some practices, such as meditation, are common to more than one branch of yoga. A follower of yoga can also engage in practices from more than one branch—a man can open the heart through bhakti yoga, engage the world mindfully and dutifully through karma yoga, seek mental discernment through jnana yoga, and engage in the liberating practices of raja yoga all at the same time. In fact, a devotee who follows the teachings of all the branches of yoga will find in yoga a nearly perfect system leading to right living, thinking, and self-realization.

All the above articles / blog posts are not the original contribution from author, please consider a opinion of qualified doctor, if you considering this. If you need a advice please contact Dr. Anil Joy email:

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A Brief Overview of the History of Yoga

A Brief Overview of the History of Yoga

The exact date and circumstances of the origin of yoga are unknown. This is because the practice of yoga is so ancient that it is believed to predate the written texts and visual images that depict it. Most scholars trace the origins of yoga to at least 5,000 years ago. Yoga is believed to have originated through the insights and experiments of ancient seekers of wisdom, mystics, and visionaries on the Indian subcontinent. Through intense inner searching, they developed practices that were passed down orally and eventually recorded in a body of text that is considered sacred in the Hindu and other spiritual traditions. The earliest known writings on yoga are contained in the Vedas (Sanskrit for “knowledges”), the most ancient extant Hindu texts. The oldest of these, the Rig-Veda (“Knowledge of Praise”), believed by some scholars to date as far back as 3000 .C..,contains plentiful references to yoga.2 Other ancient sacred Hindu writings, including the Upanishads (“to sit down close to one’s teacher”), helped to codify the oral tradition that formed the basis of yoga. Some of the earliest and most influential writings on yoga are the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The Bhagavad Gita (“Lord’s Song”), which forms a part of the epic Mahabharata (“Great Story of the Bharatas”), is believed to have beecomposed between the third and fifth centuries .C.E. Consisting of approximately 700 stanzas, the Bhagavad Gita contains crucial instruction by the Hindu god Krishna to the warrior Arjuna on the principles of yoga. The precepts he presents continue to guide the practice of yoga today. The Yoga Sutras (sutra means “thread” in Sanskrit and is related to the English word suture) is a series of terse aphorisms or maxims that distill the essence of yoga thought. These aphorisms total 195 or 196, depending upon the source text. The Yoga Sutras are ascribed to the yoga authority Patanjali, who is believed to have lived between the second and the fifth century C.E. Patanjali is often called the “father of yoga,” although his real contribution was to codify existing knowledge of yoga and help provide it a place within classical Hindu philosophy. One of the most seminal and well-known texts on hatha yoga is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (“Light on the Forceful Yoga” in Sanskrit), written in the 14th century C.E. by Svatmarama Yogin. This text is considered by some scholars to be the most influential text on hatha yoga, the branch of yoga that deals most specifically with the physical discipline of yoga. Yoga is much more than an archaic codification of information, however. It is a living system of knowledge. Since its inception millennia ago, yoga has continued to grow and evolve. From its origins in prehistoric India, it has been embraced by many systems of thought, including Buddhism, and has become an integral part of the cultures of a number of other countries, including Tibet, Pakistan, and many other Asian civilizations.

Benefits of Yoga

Benefits of Yoga

Prime among yoga’s many health benefits is its proven ability to help reduce stress. Experts maintain that up to 80 percent of all illness is caused by stress. The activities and stimuli of contemporary life are constantly triggering what scientists refer to as “the fight or light” mechanism. This expression refers to the way in which we respond to stress. This response is involuntary, and includes an elevation in heart rate, blood pressure, and the creation of toxic chemicals in the body. Yoga helps to induce the opposite effects, in what Herbert Benson, M.D., termed “the relaxation response” in his groundbreaking book of the same title. Yoga can help to reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and improve circulation to help remove toxic wastes from the body. This may in turn help boost the functioning of the immune system. Yoga is so effective at inducing the relaxation response that many prominent authorities recommend its use for reducing stress and promoting health, including Dean Ornish, M.D., and Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. Indeed, much to the astonishment of Western scientists, accomplished yogis have demonstrated that they can exert conscious control of heart rate, blood pressure, and even the circulation of the blood.

In addition to its ability to help reduce stress, yoga has many other benefits for a man’s health. One of the primary aims of the physical practices of yoga is to help improve the alignment and flexibility of the spine. This is encouraging news for the 70 million Americans who are estimated to seek help for back problems each year. Yoga can help promote overall fitness by both stretching and toning virtually all the muscles in the body. Yoga exercises can help increase range of motion in joints and help protect muscles from being injured during sports and athletic activities. They can also help to lengthen and restore muscles after exercise. Yoga postures can help improve circulation and eliminate toxic waste substances from the body. They can help promote optimum functioning of the internal organs by helping to massage and tone them. Yoga postures can help open the area of the pelvis and organs of reproduction that are housed there. Yoga practices can help bring increased circulation, muscular control, and awareness to a man’s sexual region, thus promoting enhanced sexual enjoyment. The breathing practices of yoga can help improve lung capacity and posture, and harmonize body and mind. The meditation practices of yoga can help still the mind and bring about greater inner clarity, peace of mind, and self-understanding and acceptance. This can help lead to greater emotional awareness and stability. For those men seeking spiritual enlightenment, yoga has a variety of techniques that can help support and guide you on your path. Yoga can form a cornerstone of your ongoing health maintenance program. As more and more men are discovering, it is increasingly important for them to take charge of their own physical fitness and healthcare. The physical postures of yoga can offer a refreshing alternative to high-impact cardiovascular and strenuous bodybuilding practices, an especially attractive option for a population that is increasingly aging. Yoga also offers a man the opportunity to become much more aware of his own body. Through the mindfulness and awareness that yoga engenders, a man has the opportunity of listening more carefully to his body so that he might detect pain, discomfort, and other warning signs early enough to take preventative action before illness or disease sets in. In addition to its overall health benefits, yoga can be of special value to men, in particular, by helping them to contact their inner resources. As many top yoga teachers underscore, today’s man is often caught up in the pressures of work and conforming to society’s perceived expectations. This can result in a man’s armoring himself and losing touch with his inner self. Yoga practice can provide a man with the opportunity to reconnect with himself and to accept himself just as he is—not as he feels he is “supposed” to be. Through a sustained yoga practice, a man can experience the priceless benefits of peace and happiness that can accompany self-awareness and self-acceptance.

All the above articles / blog posts are not the original contribution from author, please consider a opinion of qualified doctor, if you considering this. If you need a advice please contact Dr. Anil Joy email:

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ATIVISA – Aconitum heterophyllum

ATIVISA – Aconitum heterophyllum.

Bauchanania latifolia – Priyala

Bauchanania latifolia – Priyala


Kingdom Plantae – Plants Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons Subclass Rosidae Order Sapindales Family Anacardiaceae – Sumac family Genus Buchanania Spreng. – buchanania Species Buchananialatifolia Roxb. – chirauli nut

Names in different languages


kanada: nurkala,

Malayalam: mural, munnapelu, priyalam,

Tamil : murala

Telugu : sara

English: kaddappa almond


Priyal, kharaskandh, bahalvalkal, snehabeej, lalan, tapaspriya, charoli, chiraunji, karaka


Medium sized tree about 15-18 m height. With dark grey or nearly black rough fissured bark and young branches clothed with silky hairs.

Leaves simple, broadly oblong, obtuse, base rounded , thickly coariaceous, main nerves 10-20 pair, straight and parallel, flower small,

Carpels 5, only one perfect , other 4 reduced to cylindrical filaments, lenticular drupes.

Habitat: through out India

Kernel lipids (65.6%), comprised mainly of neutral lipids (90.4%), consist mostly of triacylglycerol (82.2%), free fatty acids (7.8%)andsmall amount of diacylglycerols, monoacylglycerols and sterols. The kernels are used in Indian medicine as a brain tonic. The leaves are valued as a cardiotonic. The leaves contain 2.64 % tannins (0.35% gallo-tannins). The presence of triterpenoids, saponins, flavonoids and reducing sugars are also reported. Powdered or crushed leaves are applied to wounds. The bark contains 13.4% tannins. The presence of alkaloids, saponins and reducing sugars is also reported. Gum (stem exudate) is antidiarrhoeal. Used internally in rheumatism.


Guna : snigdha, uru.

Rasa: madhur,

Vipak : madhur,

Virya: sheeta

Dosha: vattapitha shamak

Roots are acrid, astringent, cooling, depurative and constipating, and are useful in vitiated condition of pitta. Leprosy, skin disease and diarrhea

Leaves are cooling, digestive, expectorant, purgativeuseful in cough, burning sensation, seminal weakness

Fruit: sweet, sour, cooling, depurative, constipating, nervine tonic, cardiotonic, stomachic, laxative, cardiac debility, abdominal disorder, calculus , asthma, fever, emaciation, ulcer.

All the above articles / blog posts are not the original contribution from author, please consider a opinion of qualified doctor, if you considering this. If you need a advice please contact Dr. Anil Joy email:

Thank You,

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