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Digital Subscriptions > OM Yoga Magazine > March 2017 > The traditional branches of yoga

The traditional branches of yoga

Since yoga first arose in India around 5,000 years ago, there have been numerous different branches, schools and sects. This can be somewhat overwhelming to navigate for a modern yoga aspirant, writes Vidya Heisel

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In recent times there is an idea that the various different branches of yoga may be suitable for different types of practitioner, depending on their temperaments. This idea was promoted by Swami Vivekananda in 1893 at the parliament of world religions in Chicago. However, another way of looking at this is that we should attempt to practice all of these different aspects of yoga in order to become a truly whole human being, especially the first four branches categorised below.


Karma means action. Krishna tells us, in the Bhagavad Gita, that when we offer up our actions to god we are practicing Karma Yoga. In this much loved yogic treatise, Karma Yoga is presented as a way of acting, thinking and making effort to orient oneself towards spiritual realisation, by acting in accordance with one’s Dharma or duty, renouncing all selfish desires, and personal likes or dislikes. When we act with integrity and do our best, with an attitude of devotion and gratitude, we are practicing Karma Yoga. Actions done without thought of reward, or in order to help others, are considered to be Karma Yoga.

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About OM Yoga Magazine

Welcome to the March issue of OM Yoga & Lifestyle magazine. In this issue we’ve got everything you need to keep your practice fresh and alive for the month ahead. You’ll find lots of practical yoga, including our amazing 360º Yoga anatomy academy, plus an OM Meets interview with Andrew McGonigle (aka Doctor Yogi, the face behind our innovative 3D anatomy tutorials). There’s plenty of inspiration too, including a story of how one person transformed their life from stressed-out PR executive to yoga instructor. There’s meditation, spiritual insight and lots of healthy living tips too, so you can take your yoga practice out and into the world, wherever you go. For all you fashionistas out there we’ve also got a Yoga Style Guide, to give you a peek at some of the best yoga fashion available this season. Dive in and explore the wonderful world of yoga with OM magazine.