Jnana Yoga– Yoga For The Smart
Jnana means the understanding. This yoga is the yoga for the intelligent and selected people. This yoga is the ultimate objective of all the other varieties of yoga. This yoga teaches you to take a look at the world as it lacks any lack of knowledge and bias. You can accomplish this state by practicing extensive mental discipline and virtue. This yoga is also called Raja Yoga or the king of all the yogas, because it is of the highest variety and rules over all the other varieties. This is the Yoga that Patanjali has explained in his Yoga Sutras.
This yoga is comprised of eight parts of which five are external and the other 3 are internal. Two of its parts, viz yama and niyama deal with types of behaviour that the student of yoga must avoid like lying, unfaithful, taking etc. and those behaviours that he need to cultivate like cleanliness, non-collection and so on. Asanas and Pranayama are the next 2 parts of this yoga. Asanas are the physical movements that assist in establishing the flexibility of the body and hence treat any diseases. You can control your breath by utilizing pranayama which increases the capacity of the lungs to take in air and hence increases the vigor of the body. The next part Pratyahara signifies the withdrawal of the sense organs from things of pleasure. The staying three parts handle extreme mental concentration.
Patanjali maintained that practicing these 8 parts of yoga faithfully and intensely will, over a time period, eliminate all the pollutants of the body and mind and thus achieve knowledge that will liberate the person from chains and lack of knowledge. This yoga is called Ashtanga Yoga since it is made from 8 parts. It is also called as Dhyana yoga due to its stress on mental concentration. Hence, whenever there is any reference of yoga, it is generally implied that the individual is discussing Jnana Yoga