There are a variety of traditions that contribute to our overall understanding of yoga. In Hinduism, the main traditions are Bhakti Yoga, Laya Yoga, Jain Yoga, Karma Yoga and Hatha Yoga. Hinduism had also played a part in the traditions of Buddhism and is therefore also included in the historical context of what comprises Buddhist Yoga traditions.
In terms of both philosophy and practice, Hatha yoga  composes a major part of our current understanding of what is “yoga”. Hatha yoga focuses on systematic practices (including asana postures) which are meant for spiritual, mental and physical growth. The practices of Hatha Yoga are mainly taken from three Hinduism texts .
These texts  are Shiva Samitha, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, and Gheranda Samhita. Another valuable text for Hatha Yoga is Gorakshantah’s book Goraksha Samhita , written in the 11th century. Many yogis consider Gorakshananth to be the main figure to develop and popularize hatha yoga we practice today.
There are other notable hatha yoga texts  such as the Sritattvanidhi, Joga Pradīpikā, and Hatha Ratnavali. There is also a big overlap of hatha yoga and asana and pranayama  series from Vajrayana Buddhism, including tummo.
Buddhist yoga includes a wide array of methods to reach key virtues called 37 aids to awakening. Enlightenment or nirvana  is the ultimate goal of Buddhist Yoga . To reach awakening , Buddhist texts use other terms to describe spiritual practices, including Jhāna and dhyāna . Buddhist yoga practices focus on meditation, contemplation, and mindfulness, including the Anapanasati, or mindfulness of breath.
The most important mental qualities for Buddhist yoga practice were considered vipassana  (insight, seeing the true nature of things) and Samatha (calm, stable, focused mind).
The true nature is usually explained as all things and beings being without self, a belief called Anatta (not-self) These qualities also demand an understanding of dukkha  (suffering) and anicca (impermanence).
As Buddhism developed, new yogic practices  emerged. Mahayana meditation is one of those practices, and it has also included yogic methods such as mantra chanting and visualization meditation.
New ideas were also developed in the Theravada  school, which is considered to be more conservative than other practices. The most renowned system which describes new meditation practices and ideas is the Visuddhimagga.
Tantric Buddhism developed methods that are still present in Tibetan Buddhist yoga, such as guru yoga and deity yoga.
Jain yoga is one of the crucial practices in Jainism , along with ahimsa, or practice of nonviolence and the practice of austerities, known as tapas. The ultimate goal of Jain yoga is the liberation of Atma (Self)  from karma , which keeps the Self in the cycle of reincarnation. Purification  is only possible by reducing one’s collected karma, and when achieved, the practitioner will reach absolute knowledge.
Early Jain yoga included multiple methods of practice, including meditation, contemplation, and reflection. All the types of practice were mentioned in Jain yoga’s earliest written records , including Uttarādhyayana-sūtra and Sthananga Sutra and
Through the centuries, Jain yoga adopted Hindu practices , particularly ideas from Patanjali’s  yoga and Tantric yoga . In modern times, the most popularized Jain meditation method is the system of Ācārya Mahāprajña which incorporates mantras, breath control, and bandhas.
Often called classical and ashtanga  yoga, raja yoga is mainly based on one of the best-known yoga texts, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The sutras describe eight limbs one should practice attaining Samadhi (the highest state of consciousness).
Raja yoga encompasses philosophy and metaphysics  derived from traditional Brahmanism, as well as self-development practices that include breath work, meditation, and asanas (the latter of which do not seem to be emphasized in any of the foundational and epic texts of yoga) . Raja yogis teach that reality is dualistic and divides into nature (Prakriti) and persons (puruṣas) . The goal of the system is for our person, our true self, to witness our nature and thereby experience a liberated state. To achieve this, one needs to isolate from Prakriti, through meditation, which leads us to a heightened state of awareness.
In Raja yoga, physical practices are only steps for achieving Samadhi (“total self-connectedness”) .
Vedanta encompasses multiple schools and philosophies. The focus of Vedanta  is the study of Upanishads. The Brahma Sutras of Upanishads focus on reaching the absolute Self by obtaining the knowledge of Brahman .
The most influential sub-school of Vedanta is Advaita Vedanta , which unlike most schools that are dualistic proposes monism. The focus of the school is Jñāna yoga , which prioritizes knowledge and leads towards one realizing their Atman (Self) and its relation to Absolute consciousness, or Brahman.
Adi Shankara who lived in the 8th century is the best-known figure of this tradition, and he developed upon the old Jñāna yoga books. The practitioners of Jñāna are focused on learning the scriptures  and listening to their guru , after which they reflect and meditate on the teachings to achieve the truth.
The practitioner also needs to develop different qualities, including discrimination, knowledge, faith, endurance, and temperance. Advaita yoga is in its essence a practice of meditation that allows us to identify our true Self with the Universal Consciousness .
Yoga-Vāsiṣṭha is a text which explains the principal ideas of Advaita through parables and short stories. The book takes inspiration from old Advaita Vedanta  yoga gurus and was one of the most influential texts on Hindu yoga until the 12th century.
Another important text which explains Advaita yoga is the Yoga-Yājñavalkya . It focuses on teachings that are still taught to this day and includes the ten Yamas and Niyamas, as well as asanas. The book also includes meditation, pranayama (breathwork), and pratyahara exercises  (the withdrawal of the senses, as taught by Patanjali).
There is no single definition of Tantra yoga . It can be defined as the practices described in Buddhist and Hindu texts from the 9th and 10th centuries. These books describe yogic practices which propose the visualization of deities. This is achieved through drawing mandalas , male and female gods, as well as the use of sexual techniques, chakras, and mantras. The ultimate goal of these techniques is achieving good health and spiritual liberation.
Laya yoga and Kundalini yoga
Although Laya yoga  and Kundalini  yoga are usually considered to be a part of Hatha yoga, they are also commonly considered as individual schools. Of the two, Kundalini gained popularity as a separate school after Yogi Bhajan began teaching it around 1972 .
Laya yoga is focused on meditative absorption, which allows the practitioners to transcend all their memories and experiences by losing the mind in the greater Self-Consciousness. Laya yoga prescribes a variety of techniques, including practicing mudras, listening to nada (the inner sound), and awakening the Kundalini in the body (spiritual energy).
The last technique, or the practice of awakening the spiritual energy  of the body, is sometimes called Kundalini yoga. It uses mudras (ritual body gestures) and pranayamas  (breath work) to wake up the Kundalini energy, also called shakti.
The Shakta and Shaiva schools of yoga are focused on uniting the divine energy with the universal consciousness. The best-known way for practicing this method is awakening the energy at the lowest chakra  and uniting it with the highest chakra, or the absolute consciousness.
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