The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yug’ which literally means ‘to join’ or ‘unite’. Yoga helps one connect to its inner spirit which is part and parcel of the universal spirit of God. It is said that Yoga is the best health practice in existence today and to gain self-enlightenment once must practice it on a regular basis.
Yoga is an age old health system involving mind, body and spiritual techniques. It has gained prominence since the past decade. Today, millions of people from different nations practice Yoga. It includes different breathing exercises, movements, and meditation and relaxation techniques. One gains a balanced approach towards life by practicing Yoga which is equally important for bringing inner stability and equilibrium.
Yoga, which has an ancient Indian origin, has acquired a global platform because along with physical fitness this form of exercise also looks after psychological and spiritual health of the practitioner. It involves performing various physical postures and poses which are called Asanas in Sanskrit.
Owing to today’s hectic and unhealthy lifestyle one is prone to various mental and physical health ailments including obesity, hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, etc. Yoga is the only form of exercise that provides complete movement of the bodily organs. It integrates various aspects of art, science and philosophy required for experiencing supreme joy by gaining control over mind, body and soul.
As per Hindu Philosophy there are five main branches of Yoga and these are as follows –
- Raja Yoga
- Karma Yoga
- Jnana Yoga
- Bhakti Yoga
- Hatha Yoga
What does Yoga Teach Us?
Basically, Yoga is a spiritual practice that one should incorporate in his everyday life. The Sanskrit word ‘Yug’ from which the word is derived also stands for ‘oneness or ‘unity’. As the name says it works on the mental, physical, spiritual, emotional and psychic aspects of the person.
Human beings are prone to certain weaknesses and mental flaws which are universal. Yoga helps us getting mentally and physically ready to overcome these five major drawbacks which are as follows –
Bottom of FormAvidya (ignorance) – ignorance, spiritual vacuum, lack of insight
Asmita – afflicted ego, association with I-ness
Raga – attraction, desire, longing for sensory objects, addiction
Dvesha – hatred for objects/persons, aversions
Abinivesha – love for life, desire for continuity, clinging on to life
klesha – affliction, painful, impure, something that causes trouble
Benefits of Yoga
Being the most ancient cultural heritage of India, Yoga practice gives the following benefits –
- It helps to know oneself better, day after day.
- It is an alternative healing method which is holistic in nature.
3. It contributes to chirayu (longevity) by generating aroyga (good health).
4. It is a perfect exercise for mental and moral cultivation
5. It promotes intrinsic discipline that ultimately contributes to peace, positivity and perennial happiness.
6. It is a form of science that affects both conscious and sub conscious states of mind.
7. The psychological training involved in it elevates a man to the ‘supra mundane level’.
- It brings significant change in attitude towards oneself and the surrounding world.
- Regular practice tremendously influences one’s attitude towards life.
10.Yoga is more like a way of life. Whether you have chosen a mental, physical or spiritual path, Yoga is meant for everyone.
Yoga in Ancient Indian Scriptures
Yoga has been referred to in many Hindu scriptures including Puranas, Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita. Yoga is defined in various ways in Sanskrit literature –
Bhagavad-Gita – “Yoga is skill in action.”
“Yoga is balance (samatva).” – “Yoga is known as the disconnection (viyoga) of the connection (samyoga) with suffering.”
Katha-Upanishad – “This they consider Yoga: the steady holding of the senses.”
Yoga-Sûtra – “Yoga is the control of the whirls of the mind.”
Maitrî-Upanishad – “Yoga is said to be the oneness of breath, mind, and senses, and the abandonment of all states of existence.”
Yoga-Yâjnavalkya – “Yoga is the union of the individual psyche (jîva-âtman) with the transcendental Self (parama-âtman).”
Yoga-Bîja – “Yoga is the unification of the web of dualities (dvandva-jâla).”
Brahmânda-Purâna – “Yoga is said to be control.”
Râja-Mârtanda – “Yoga is the separation (viyoga) of the Self from the earthly (prakriti).”
Yoga-Shikhâ-Upanishad – “Yoga is said to be the unity of exhalation and inhalation and of blood and semen, as well as the union of sun and moon and of the individual psyche with the transcendental Self.”
Best Alternative Healing
Yoga is a most reliable alternative form of healing. It offers holistic treatment affecting the health triangle involving mind, body and soul (spirit). Yoga is practiced since 5000 years. It is basically a mind-body intervention that reduces the health effects, especially those borne by various types of stress. It calms and soothes nervous system to stimulate mind, body and spirit equilibrium. It also prevents specific diseases from taking place by unlocking the energy meridians and life energy i.e. Prana flowing. There are various health benefits of this alternative form of healing. It reduces stress and lowers blood pressure. Simultaneously, it also improves concentration, coordination, sleep, flexibility, and digestion.
What is Hath Yoga?
The most popular form of Yoga is Hath Yoga. This form of Yoga is performed for inner healing and purification. The practice includes –
- Asanas (physical postures),
- Pranayama (breath control and restoration of vital energy in the body),
- Kriyas (various cleansing practices),
- Dhyan or Meditation (deep and profound contemplation)
- Deep Relaxation for stress reduction and confidence building.
As per historical records, the system of Hatha Yoga was first introduced by Yogi Swatmarama who lived in the 15th Century India. He also compiled the treatise Hatha Yoga Pradipika. The word ‘Hatha’ is the combined form of ‘Ha’ (Sun) and ‘Tha’ (Moon). This means Hatha Yoga combines the goodness of Sun (active, masculine) energy along with that of the Moon (receptive, feminine) as this brings perfect stability and enlightenment in an individual.