~Hindu Practices {2}~

Hinduism accepts and embraces its diverse paths and practices. Here are just a few of them ~

Rituals ~ Religious rituals vary greatly and they are not required, but devout Hindus practice some type of ritual at home and on special occasions. Such rituals include worshiping in the morning after bathing (puja), reciting scriptures, singing hymns, meditating, chanting, practicing yoga asanas, etc.

Yoga Practices ~ Bhakti yoga is a form of worship and devotion to God. As such, it is one of the paths to union with the Divine and moksha (spiritual liberation). Other paths are Jnana yoga (yoga of knowledge), Karma yoga (yoga of selfless works) and Raja yoga (yoga of contemplation and meditation). Kundalini yoga is a Tantric school of yoga that is focused on prana and sending it through the seven chakras along the spine. Hatha yoga is the practice of meditative movement and poses that much of the West associates with yoga.

Rites of Passage ~ Major rites of passage, such as births, graduations, weddings or deaths, are celebrated as sanskaras. The practices vary depending on the type of Hinduism, but could include fire ceremonies, chanting of hymns, simple private events or formal ceremonies. They may or may not include a religious official, such as a priest.

Festivals ~ Hindus have many festivals, often coinciding with the full moon, new moon or seasons, that celebrate events from Hinduism or honor specific deities. Family gatherings, religious rituals, arts and feasts may be included.

Pilgrimages ~ Many Hindus go on pilgrimages, although they are not mandatory as in some faiths. Among the most popular pilgrimage sites are old holy cities, religiously significant sites, the Ganges river, and major temples.

Sadhu Life ~ Some Hindus choose to renounce possessions, leave home and dedicate themselves to spiritual disciplines. They devote their lives to a particular god and/or meditation, yoga and spiritual discussion. These holy persons are called sadhus.

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