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.)


3 Responses to “Different Yoga Strokes for Different Yoga Folks”

  1. Exactly, and this makes those Seers,the Rishis, those who have come up with these concepts,exceptionally smart an wise!

    I have no doubts that the very Quintessence of Universe expressing itself through the Rishis, the Seers, the Yogis, the Sadhakas and Sannyassins, them trying to save theses wonderful Insights, Revelatiosn and enlightening Illuminations in Prayers, Chants, Praises, Poems and Sutras, in Volumes like the Vedas, Upanischads, the Puranas, the Geeta and the manifold of other scriptures, literature, poetry, music and art?

    If one reflects on all these wonderful, magical workings of Quantum mechanics, Astrophysics, all the what matters and doesn’t matter in life, as matter and antimatter, the various lifeforms animate and all inanimate, our forefathers and today’s aboriginals, pagan people, the heathen, all praying to and worship the sun, the fire, the moon the planets, the mother, the creator, bestower and destroyer, to rocks, trees, rivers, springs, to snakes, elephants, bulls, tigers, eagles, cat’s, rat’s…..

    The Universe expresses itself in the inanimate as well as in the animate planes of the described various lokas (“worlds”) in such amazing ways that it is simply breathtaking… breathe in breathe out…

    - Om shanti, shanti, shanti – he -

    namastasje!

  2. I agree, bindutoojas. Thanks for writing.

  3. Thanks, Bob!

    reminds me of the remarkable intro to “2001 a space odyssey” movie by Stan from the story of late Arthur C. Clarke and the accompanying music “thus spoke Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss….

    So I guess we keep on “chopping wood and carrying water”… it’s a wonderful journey!

    “RA MA DA SA – SA SAY SO HUNG”

    -Siri Gaiyatri Mantra-

    … awakens healing energy in everyone and the world…!

    Namastaje!

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