The Branches of Yoga


The roots of yoga are firmly planted in ancient India. Four traditional branches of yoga have grown from those roots …


Don’t get confused… most of today’s types of yoga are not separate yoga branches in a traditional sense. They merely represent a particular style or adaptation of one or another of the traditional branches.

The ‘yoga tree’ is not producing more yoga branches, so-to-speak. It is the traditional branches themselves that are being continually broken apart and pieced back together to form various new different types of yoga

… But these many ‘modern styles’ of yoga should not be confused with the classical branches.

For an outline of these various yoga styles, visit our types of yoga page…

Traditional Branches of Yoga

Within the scope of yoga there are many ‘branches’ or ‘schools’. Forty-four major schools can be noted from a traditional point of view, along with many others which also lay claim to such distinction.

This vast array of ‘yogas’ can seem disorienting and even perplexing to the fledgling student of yoga.

But as there can be many paths up a mountain, it is wise to consider that these various forms of yoga all lead toward the same goal of jivan mukti (liberation of the soul)…

… I’m speaking, of course, of the various traditional yoga branches, and not necessarily every type of practice that has attached itself to the word ‘yoga’ today.

The Four Main Yoga Branches

Under the vedic system there are four main, or primary yoga branches, from which most other types of yoga emerge. They are:

1. Jnana Yoga

The path of wisdom. Find out more about jnana yoga here…

2. Bhakti Yoga

The yoga of universal love and devotion. More on bhakti yoga …

3. Karma Yoga

The yoga of selfless service. Read about karma yoga here …

4. Raja Yoga

The highest yoga. Here’s what raja yoga is all about …

NEXT: The many types of yoga …

PREV: The history of yoga …



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