The word yoga represents a science of self discipline. The aim of yoga is to realise the true reality of your spiritual self. Ultimately yoga develops the inner relationship you can have with the world around you. When you take science as a topic in school or as a qualification at university you will have to choose which science you want to study. For example mathematics, chemistry, social sciences and even political science are some of the options available to you. When you study yoga your options will include hatha, raja, bhakti, karma and gyana yoga.
The Satyananda yoga method offers a fully integrated system of yoga to manage all of the different aspects of the human personality including the mind and the body. Every home has a point of entry and if you want to explore the inside of the home you will have to follow specific procedures and observe certain disciplines. The inner sanatorium of a family home may be the master bedroom and on suite bathroom. Even if you are invited into the home by the family you may not simply take advantage and enter any room you like.
Similarly the spiritual experience also requires discipline and proper conduct. The physical body is a doorway into the inner experiences of emotions and the mind. The science of yoga provides the options and disciplines that will empower you with spiritual awareness.
There are five main studies of discipline in yoga and each one has their own complex scientific structure of techniques and sub disciplines. Yoga is a proven science and success depends on your willingness and ability to observe the disciplines correctly.
Hatha Yoga: the main disciplines include asana, pranayama, mudra, bandha and shatkarmas. The sub disciplines include fasting, control of sleep patterns, enduring the natural elements of nature and many others. The aim of hatha yoga is to balance the two polarities of positive and negative energies and awaken the harmonious flow of kundalini shakti through the chakras.
Raja Yoga: the mind and control of the mental forces are studied in raja yoga. Mantra, kriya yoga and a wide range of unique disciplines that manage the body and the mind are employed by students of raja yoga. Sub disciplines include study of spiritual teachings, observing silence and seclusion.
Bhakti Yoga: the student develops an appreciation for the greater power of life that sustains all things. In our small mindedness we forget that long after we have died and centuries later life continues regardless of our accomplishments. Bhakti requires us to channel our emotions into actions of ritual, worship and prayer.
Karma Yoga: mindfulness and paying attention to the actions we perform without expectation of the rewards. Of course we understand that we can accomplish many things but in karma yoga we offer our accomplishments to that greater force in life to express all that is good and righteous.
Gyana Yoga: keeping good company, reading scripture, listening to wise people and speritualized saints are all part of gyana yoga. Wisdom and spiritual awareness is not an intellectual study. We must put into practice the teachings and emulate the awakened teachers by observing the disciplines of worldly life and spiritual teachings.