There are many other forms of yoga - shiva yoga, siddha yoga, samkhya yoga, buddhi yoga, sannyasa yoga, maha yoga and many more which we have not mentioned. They are excellent systems in themselves but they lie within the five main groups that we have outlined. There is, however, one path of yoga that seems to lie outside the main branches of yoga. It is called swara yoga. It doesn't really fit into any of the five main groups. It is concerned with relating the flow of prana in the body with internal and external events. It is concerned with the flow of air through the two nostrils, like pranayama, but is also related to the position of the sun and the phases of the moon, the time of sunrise and so on. From basic rules laid down by swara yoga, it is possible to predict auspicious times to undertake certain types of work, marriage, meet friends, business associates, etc. It is a system for allowing one to know how to act in given circumstances to achieve the best out of life. In a sense it is in the same class of systems as palmistry, astrology, etc. which aim to guide people through their lives in a way to suit their personality and circumstances11.
We emphasize again that one path should not in general be practised to the exclusion of the others. Choose a main path but supplement it to some degree by the practice of other paths. In fact an integration of all the paths would be ideal. This is summed up in the following verse by Swami Sivananda:
Eat a little, drink a little, Talk a little, sleep a little, Mix a little, move a little, Serve a little, rest a little, Work a little, relax a little, Study a little, worship a little, Do asanas a little, pranayama a little, Reflect a little, meditate a little, Dojapa a little, chant a little, Write mantra a little, have satsang a little.
This poem clearly indicates that the best approach to life is integration of all activities. This also includes yoga.
We have only briefly mentioned the main forms of yoga, for we are more interested in showing the interrelation between them and introducing their basic aims, than to delve into them deeply at this stage. These five paths cover every aspect of our being and as such are applicable to everyone. There is no one who cannot relate in some way or another to yoga.
I For further details on shatkarmas refer to Book
1, Lesson 1, Topic 2
Asanas: Introduction - Book I, Lesson 2, Topic 2 Asanas: Rules and Preparations - Book I. Lessen
2, Topic 3
Pranayama: Book I, Lesson 4, Topic 3.
4 For further details on bandhas refer to Book II Lesson 14, Topic 3
5 Prana: An Introduction - Book I, Lesson 5. Topic 3
Pranayama: Book I, Lesson 4, Topic 3 Karma yoga: Part 1 - Book I, Lesson 12. Topic 1 Part 2 - Book II, Lesson 13, Topic 1
7 Bhakti yoga: Part 1 - Book II, Lesson 15. Topic 1 Part 2 - Book II, Lesson 16, Topic 1
Part 3 - Book II, Lesson 17, Topic 1 Part 4 - Book II, Lesson 18, Topic 1
8 Jnana yoga - Book III, Lesson 28, Topic I
9 Book III, Lesson 25, Topic 2
Lesson 14, Topic 5
II For more details on swara yoga refer to Book II Lesson 22, Topic 1
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