From ArticleWorld

The practice of yoga is central to the religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism but has influenced many others as well as attaining a dedicated following in the West; though not necessarily as a spiritual practice but rather as a way of keeping fit.

The series of postures characteristic to yoga is actually only one part of what is a way of life to millions, incorporating the physical and spiritual in a daily routine that eventually leads to enlightenment, or higher level of being. This state is achieved when the ego ceases to exist and there is transcendence over desire which entails a complete mastery over body, mind and emotions.


Over its long history of about six thousand years, various schools of yoga have emerged and each is considered a path to enlightenment. There are four main schools with Bhakti Yoga based on love and devotion, Jnana Yoga which is based on knowledge and discernment, Raja Yoga is based on a system of disciplines focusing on meditation and Karma Yoga which has selfless work as its basis. There are many other lesser known types or it may simply be about, perhaps to the horror of traditionalists, a series of physical exercises.

Common themes

Common to most forms of yoga are the practice of concentration and meditation where sustained concentration on a single point leads to the consciousness expanding and uniting with something vast. Another common factor is the spiritual teacher who guides the student which is based on the tradition of the knowledge of yoga being passed down from guru to student over the centuries.