There are so many types of Yoga that emphasize different features and practices, but all include:

  • asanas
  • pranayama
  • dhyana

Asanas are the poses.

Pranayama means the control of breath and breathing.

Dhyana is meditation.

All three of these are supposed to function together to lead a person closer to the the ultimate goal, which is to achieve a state of Enlightenment or oneness with the Universe.

Yoga is not a religion, but a practice of personal inquiry and exploration. Yogic philosophy speaks to universal truths that can be incorporated within any belief system.

Yoga Sutras

The Sutras, or practices of Yoga, were written down in 2nd Century B.C.E. These foundations of Yogic philosophy were written by Patanjali. The writings' succinct form and availability allowed it to be influential in various schools of Yogic thought.

Eight Limbs

The eight limbed concept came from Patanjali's Sutras. Each of the eight limbs can be looked at as parts of a whole in wht makes up the well-rounded Yogi. For example, one of the limbs is personal observance, or reflection. Another is control of the senses. The all work toward helping someone reach the divine.

Bhagavad Gita

This is a hundu scripture and part of the Buddhist philosophy. In it, the protagonist explains his duties as a Warrior and as a Prince. Yoga is described in this book as a unified outlook, serenity of mind, ability to stay tuned to the glory of the Self (Atman) and to the Supreme Being (Bhagavan). According to the Gita, throughout Yogas of Meditation, Action, Devotion and Knowledge-- enlightenment is achieved.