There are four main paths of Yoga: Jnana, Bhakti, Karma and Raja Yoga all leading to the same: Samadhi. Most yogis combine different styles of yoga on their journey. I have spoken briefly about Bhakti and Karma yoga in earlier blogs. Jnana Yoga is the path of knowledge and wisdom. It includes introspection and contemplation and is the yoga path of the sage or scholar. A Jnana yogi uses the mind to inquire into his/her own nature by systematically exploring and setting aside false identities or the Ego. It looks into the absolute truth about who we are and the main question you ask yourself will be: ‘Who am I?’ It focuses on that in life what is never changing as opposed to the illusions in life which is ever changing. Jnana yoga starts from direct experiences, but also requires development of the intellect through the study of the scriptures and texts of the yogic tradition.
You can relate Jnana yoga to the fourth niyama; Svadhyaya or self-study/self-reflection. Besides the reading of sacred texts and meditation, Svadhyaya can also include our reflections in normal daily life. Since we share our life’s and the earth with so many other people, we receive plenty of opportunities for self-reflection through social interactions. More often than I would like to, I catch myself playing out different ego patterns. One of my really annoying habits is to compare myself with others in terms of intelligence, finance, family, career, beauty, flexibility and so on. I always end up judging myself and/or others and never feel good after I’ve had my ‘compare time’. My partner is most of the time the victim in the sense of having to listen to all my crap and mind chatter. He made it clear for me once again: “Don’t compare yourself with others, just follow your own journey.” I realized and felt; he is right! Each of us has their own individual very special journey in life. Our task is to be true to our own journey in life and give it a 150%! And love your life exactly how it is at this moment.