What is Yoga?

The word Yoga is derived from Sanskrit word ‘Yog’, which means ‘Jod’ in Hindi or ‘Joining’ in English. This is joining of ‘Jivatam’ (Human) with ‘Parmatma’ (God). Through the pracce of Yoga, one can have Self-realisaon and achieve God. ‘Yog’word became Yoga in English. For a simple person, Yoga is another form of physical exercise. By doing physical exercises, one can develop only body muscles. But through Yoga, one achieves the condioning of even all the internal organs like - heart, brain, spleen, liver, lungs, intesnes, etc. Apart from these vital organs, through Yoga all the glands, like - thyroid, pituitary and penial gland of the brain, funcon beer.

Why Yoga?

Yoga is a practical aid, not a religion. Yoga is an ancient art based on a harmonizing system for development of the body, mind, and spirit. The regular practice of yoga will not only lead you to a sense of peace and well-being, but will also give you a feeling of being at one with the nature. In the present time, more and more people, especially the Westerners, are resorting to Yoga to find a cure for chronic health problems and attain a peace of mind. They are also curious about knowing what exactly is Yoga and what all are included in it. Although many of us are well aware of the health benefits of Yoga, not everyone knows about the origin and exact definition of Yoga. It is a popular belief that Yoga merely includes stretching and warm up exercises

Originated in ancient India, Yoga typically means 'union' between the mind, body, and spirit. It involves the practice of physical postures and poses, which is also referred to as 'asana' in Sanskrit. As the name suggests, the ultimate aim of practising Yoga is to create a balance between the body and the mind and to attain self-enlightenment. To accomplish it, Yoga makes use of different movements, breathing exercises, relaxation technique, and meditation. Yoga is associated with a healthy and lively lifestyle with a balanced approach.

The oldest physical discipline in existence known to humanity, the Yoga brings stability to the body and the wavering mind. It increases the lubrication of joints, ligaments, and tendons of the body. Studies in the field of medicine suggest that Yoga is the only form of physical activity that provides complete conditioning to the body because it massages all the internal organs and glands. It reduces the risk of many diseases. Yoga can create a permanently positive difference to the lifestyle of anybody practicing it on a regular basis

Yoga is a perfect way to ensure overall health and physical fitness. Through meditation, breathing exercises (called pranayams); you can banish all your stress and lead a healthy life. In fact, it is one of the best remedies known to humankind, for curing chronic ailments that are otherwise difficult to be cured by other medications. People suffering from backaches and arthritis are often suggested to do asanas that concentrate on the exercise of the muscles at the strategic locations. Pranayamas are the best breathing exercises to increase the capacity of lungs.

The amazing thing about Yoga is that its positive effects on the health and mind are visible over time. Another specialty about Yoga is its wide choice of asanas. Depending upon the stamina and overall health, you can choose from the mild pranayamas and asanas to high-intensity asanas. It is a medication without the actual use of medicines. Moreover, no visible side effects are associated with the practice of Yoga on a regular basis. All you need to know is the most appropriate asanas according to the ability and structure of your body. Also, you need to know the right way of performing the asanas, because any wrong attempt can cause sprains and injuries.

Conscious connection to something allows us to feel and experience that thing, person, or experience. The experience of connection is a state of yoga, a joyful and blissful, fulfilling experience.

There is no single definition of yoga. To experience truth through yoga, we must study its classical definitions and reflect on our understanding of it.

If we wish to connect to the intuitive, creative part of us and realize the eternal Self, we need to consider what yoga really is. Each definition of yoga reveals a part of the ocean of knowledge and experience that forms the yogic path.

Different Definions of Yoga

Any method that allows us to wake up to who or what we really are and to what life is all about is Yoga. Anything that allows us to be more aware of ourselves and to feel connected with ourselves and life is a form of yoga. Everything we do can become yoga if it is done with awareness. Awareness is the key to discover all the mysteries of who we truly are. Yoga reveals the luminous intelligence and the beauty that lies within us. Since Yoga is a very old technique to remain healthy, hence there are many Yogis in history who have given a different definition to Yoga. All are valid and give greater meaning to Yoga, so we should know all these definitions.

Patanjali's Definion of Yoga

The great sage Patanjali, in Raj Yoga, gave one of the best definitions of yoga. He said, 'Yoga is the blocking (Nirodha) of mental modifications (Chitta Vritti) so that the seer (Drashta) re-identifies with the (higher) Self. Patanjali's system has come to be the epitome of Classical Yoga Philosophy and is one of the 6 or 7 major philosophies of India.

Hath Yoga's Definion of Yoga

Hatha Yoga includes postures (Asana), breathing techniques (Pranayama), purification techniques (Shat Karmas) and energy regulation techniques (Mudra and Bandha). The definition of Yoga in the Hatha Yoga texts is the union of the upward force (Prana) and the downward force (Apana) at the navel center (Manipura Chakra). Hatha Yoga teaches us to master the totality of our life force is also known as prana. By learning how to feel and manipulate the life force, we access the source of our being.

Kundalini Yoga's Definion of Yoga

Kundalini yoga is the science of liberating the dormant potential energy at the base of the spine (Kundalini). The definition of yoga in Kundalini yoga is the union of the mental current (ida) and the pranic current (pingala) in the third eye (ajna chakra) or at the base chakra (muladhara chakra). This unifies duality in us by connecting our body and mind and leads to the awakening of spiritual consciousness.

Yoga from Scienfic Point of View

Yoga is a science, that is, it is a technique that leads us to consciously connect with ourselves and with life. As yoga is a science, there is no dogma or belief system attached to it. Yoga simply tells us to do a certain practice and then to feel the effect of that practice, e.g. if we breathe slowly in a relaxed manner our heart rate will slow down; and if we focus the mind, we will develop mental peace and deep insight.

Streams of Yoga

Primarily, Yoga has four paths. Bhagvad Gita has details on these four paths. These four paths are listed below - 1- Raj Yoga, 2- Bhakti Yoga, 3- Janan Yoga, 4- Karma Yoga All the four paths have their own renowned followers. We will discuss the same in detail.

Raj Yoga

The great sage Patanjali was a follower of Raj Yoga. In Raj Yoga, Yoga is practiced to gain mastery over the mind through will power. There are further two branches under Raj Yoga: 1- Bahiranga Yoga 2- Antaranga Yoga

Bahiranga Yoga

Bahiranga means external. So Bahiranga Yoga means External or Outer Path of Yoga. It is controlled by four limbs of Ashtang yoga - yama, niyama, asana, and pranayama. Sometimes the fifth limb - pratyahara, is also associated with this.

Antaranga Yoga

Antaranga means internal. So Antaranga Yoga means internal or inner Path of Yoga. It is controlled by last three limbs of Ashtang yoga - dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. As the name suggest, benefits of this yoga is internal rather than external. It awakens the mind and soul of Yogi.

Bhak Yoga

Ramanuja was main follower of Bhakti Yoga. Bhakti yoga aims to help a person evolve emotional maturity, love for society and to spread the message of universal brotherhood and oneness. It helps in transformation of the conditional and desirous form of love into true unconditional love. Kama (desire), combined with tyaga (sacrifice) forms prema (love). Prema along with saranagati (surrender) results in bhakti. The path of bhakti yoga leads to satisfaction and calmness of mind. It is considered to be the easiest path among four, as the practice is not very rigorous. Bhakti yoga is similar to the interpersonal relation between humans but here the relation is between soul and super soul (ultimate soul). Bhagvad purana provides us with nine forms of bhakti: 1.Sravan (listening) 2.Kirtana (praising) 3.Smarana (remembering) 4.Pada- sevasna (rendering service) 5.Archana (worshipping) 6.Vandana (paying homage), 7 Dasya (servitude) 8.Sakhya (friendship) 9.Atma-nivedana (complete surrender of self).

Karma Yoga

The Bhagvad gita remains the main source for the conceptual basis of karma yoga; it was later elaborated by Swami Vivekananda. This path emphasizes on performing actions with detachment without worrying about the results. Actions are categorized as: Tamasik - they are binding, deteriorating, violent and is a result of state of delusion and confusion Rajasik - when performed with craving for desires, with egoism and a lot of efforts Sattvik - when it is free from attachment and done without love or hatred The essence of karma yoga is to convert kamya karma (action with desires) into yogic karma by inculcating detachment and committing one's energy to unceasing work.

Internaonal Yoga Day

Although Yoga is being practiced all over the world, to give it more prominence our Hon’ble Prime Minister gave a proposal to declare 21st June as ‘International Yoga Day’, which was immediately accepted by United Nations and On December 11th, 2014, United Nations General Assembly declared the day as ‘International Yoga Day’. Since 21st June is the longest day of the year in the Northen Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world, that is why this day is chosen for celebrating Yoga. Resolution for declaring 21st June as ‘Yoga International Day’ was co-sponsored by 175 countries, which is highest till date for any UNGA resolution of this kind.

Different Types of Asanas

  • Trikonasun, vrukshasun, utakitasun, prasaritpadasun, ardhchakrasun
  • Chakrasun, vipirit karani Aasan, shalbhasun, bhujangasan, naukasun
  • Ardhchandrasun
  • Setu band sarvangasun, ardhchakrasun ,shavasan, janu shirsasun
  • Anulom vilom
  • Jalad shasan
  • Shudhikriya ...jalneti aani kapalbhati

Benifits of Asanas

Benifits of Asanas -- strengthen calves muscle, thighs muscles ,improves knee function and overall blood circulation of both legs, stretches the upper as well as lower body hence it improves working ability.

Benifits of Pranayama

Benifits of Pranayama - to gain the oxygen level in blood also to activate the function of heart and lungs in profound way.

Benifits of Meditation

Benifits of Meditation - to increase the level of concentration, working efficiency, to obtain actual rest state of mind and body so that we can rejenuate each cell present in our body

Benefits of SuryaNamaskara

Benefits of SuryaNamaskara - strengthen our body , helps to relax our mind, improves flexibility, stamina, posture, muscul tone and improves function of internal organs. help to burn excess fat, help to build focus and improves blood circulation.