More than 36 years ago I wrote in one of my books that there are three brands of yoga:
- Hollywood yoga. This is yoga for beauty of face and body for only a youthful look. Spiritual purpose of having a body is completely ignored. Millions of people worldwide are now attracted to this brand of yoga.
- Harvard yoga. This is yoga of intellectual studies undertaken by scholars and scientists ( such as academic translations of Yoga yexts, and medical and scientific papers published about the effects of yoga)
- Himalayan yoga. This is our path. It is the yoga of serenity, self-purification, meditation and final self-realization. It is the yoga of the ancient tradition of the Vedas and Upanishads and of the great Masters.
Now I see another three brands of yoga, based on the three gunas, sattva, rajas and tamas.
- Tamo-yoga. This is indulged in by those who continue to use mind-altering drugs, thinking that this random firing of neurons is some kind of meditation. Yoga is a misnomer here. It is also the yoga of those who practise some asanas but continue to use foods obtained by violence, alcohol and such.
- Rajo-yoga. This is the commonest form of yoga nowadays. Yoga re-interpreted as fast non-contemplative movements, sometimes accompanied by rajasic loud music. Some forms of these rajo-yogas are practiced in artificially contrived environments that destroy serenity and inner peace. Their product is excitation, not calming effect.
- Sattva-yoga. Yoga of the sattvic minds. In it every movement is accompanied with self-observation, quiet breath rhythm, a preparation for meditative state, then leading to practice like yoga-nidra and deep meditation. It requires also emotional purification so that serene sentiment becomes one’s natural state.
I urge the seekers to look for the sattvic Himalayan yoga with a clear goal of finding inner calm, a pure self, a contemplative life style.