Different Yoga Strokes for Different Yoga Folks
Did you know the ancient Yoga sages realized that different people would need different types of Yoga to match their personality types? These paths match modern personality theory pretty closely:
People who are primarily analytical in nature, like myself, might feel most comfortable with Jnana Yoga, or the Path of the Intellect. We like to think and philosophize about Yoga.
People who are primarily people oriented might be most attracted to Karma Yoga, or the Path of Selfless Giving and Compassion.
People who are highly emotional in nature might prefer Bhakti Yoga, or the Path of Love and Devotion, which emphasizes love, sacred chanting, mantras, and devotional kirtan music.
Finally, people who are what psychologists call “drivers” will tend towards Raja Yoga, or the Path of Discipline, as exemplified by the formal progressive attainment levels of Ashtanga.
(None of this is meant to pigeonhole people. We all have aspects of all these types within us. But most people have what psychologists call a “dominant style.”)
I was surprised by this almost exact match. I had taught personality types for years as part of my leadership workshops. I always thought of it as something very modern.
WRONG! The ancient Yoga guys had it figured out thousands of years ago.
(I became much more aware of these different types of Yoga through the wonderful experience of editing Yoga in America–Passion, Diversity, and Enlightenment, in which there are many vivid examples of all of them.)