The world of yoga is like a forest filled with variety and colour, and a myriad of styles and approaches. Each species in a forest has its individual characteristics, enabling it to grow to its greatest potential. The various yogic systems are unique, yet all have the same purpose: enlightenment. Every tree in a forest has the same goal – to reach towards the light. One tree’s method is not better than another’s.
Hatha Yoga, the most commonly practiced yoga in the West, is primarily physical. It is the yoga for mind-body control. The word hatha is made up of two syllables ha and tha, meaning sun and moon. Through hatha yoga, the solar and lunar energies of the body are harmonised.
Raja Yoga is the Royal Path. Raja means royal. This is yoga for the mind and extraordinary states of consciousness. It was codified by Patanjali, a sage who lived in India around the first century A.D., into ashtanga, the eight limbs of yoga.
Shanti Yoga is a wholistic approach developed by yoga master Shanti Gowans. “Shanti” is a Sanskrit word that means peace. Shanti Yoga is integrated yoga made easy. It incorporates the physical aspects of hatha yoga and amalgamates it with all the other yoga paths, combining the spiritual and mental in the traditional and classical form of hatha yoga.
Shanti Yoga is not only a method for preparing the system for spiritual awakening but is also a very important and proven science for health. By deepening one’s understanding of the mechanics of the body and creating a balance between the body’s energy systems through postures and the breath, the practice of Shanti Yoga helps maintain constitutional strength and health. Awareness grows more subtle, leading to a fuller use of the mind-body. Using the breath for invigoration, learning ways to work with one’s individual limitations such as injuries, and developing a growing awareness of the subtle movements of energy and matter, are some of its applications.