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Yoga (devanāgarī: योग) is a Sanskrit term derived from the root yuj, "to join, to unite, to attach", which can be interpreted as "union of ātman (the individual Self) with paramātma (the Universal Self)". It is one of the six darśanas (orthodox āstika schools) of Hinduism based on the Vedas, and prescribes spiritual practices performed primarily as a means to enlightenment.

Traditionally, there are four main paths to attain union, namely, karma yoga (through action), bhakti yoga (through devotion), jñāna yoga (through knowledge), and rāja yoga (through meditation). According to the late Yogatattva Upanishad, yoga is divided into four forms — Mantrayoga, Layayoga, Hathayoga and Rajayoga.

Scholarly research shows that Theosophy "was the first movement that popularised yoga on a worldwide scale,"[1] and that, "It was due to the impact of the TS, then, that yoga penetrated Western culture in a number of previously little-known but important ways."[2]

See also

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Additional resources


  1. K. Baier, "Yoga" in Dictionary of Contemporary Esotericism (ed. E. Asprem), Leiden: Brill.
  2. Patrick D. Bowen, "The Real Pure Yog" in Imagining the East, chapter 7 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020), 157.