The word “yoga” conveys equanimity and serenity. This word is derived from the word “Yuj” found in the Sanskrit literature, which signifies the act of uniting or reuniting one’s self. According to the Hindu culture, yoga is the means of uniting the spirit of the human with the spirit of the creation. Yoga is practiced to bring out the life force residing at the base of one’s spine. Chanting OM during yoga, leads you to your inner self and it gives you true balance.
Yoga is said to have been incepted nearly 26,000 years ago in India. According to advocates of yoga, the technique evolved in India, during the length of the “Sat Yug” period. Yoga’s evolution during this period is said to be the reason why that era was considered as the most tranquil and blessed era. Many of the yoga enthusiasts unveiled the eternal truth with yoga as their ally.
Yoga is the integration of the body with the mind and a source of spiritual enlightenment. Yoga is and has always been an indispensable part of the Indian culture. It is practiced in the country for centuries and is perceived as a way to free one’s mind, body and spirit. The three pillars of yoga are controlled breathing, meditation and postures. Thus a more holistic approach is the base of yoga, which is more than simply chanting the verses.
Yoga originated in India and has been practiced in the country for more than a thousand years, even before the time the earliest trace of the history was recorded. Archaeologists have found carvings showing the distinct poses of yoga, which are more than five thousand years old. Thus yoga can be considered as old as the Hindu culture itself is, and, are considered as the source of enlightenment for each other. The history of yoga is classified into four distinct phases, namely, Vedic yoga, Pre-classical yoga, Classical yoga and Post-classical yoga.
The Vedic yoga traced its teachings from the Rig Veda. This phase is integrated with the ritual aspects of the ancient Indians. This phase reflected the notion of sacrifice as a means of uniting the spiritual world with the material world. The Vedic yoga practitioners were called “seer”, which means rishi in the Sanskrit literature.
The Pre-classical yoga was propagated by the Aranyakas and the Brahmanas, which are the ritual texts and Sanskrit texts respectively. Pre-classical yoga also has its teachings in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. All sorts of meditation techniques were developed during this phase for transcending the mind as well as the body.
The Classical yoga was evolved during the second century. This phase is characterized by the fundamental explanations given by the Patanjali. Patanjali who is quoted as the father of yoga, understood the process of bringing about the separation of the spirit and the matter.
The Post-classical yoga averred the ultimate combination of everything. During this phase, the yoga took a fascinating turn and concentrated on the hidden capabilities of the body. The goal of the yoga practitioners of this phase is to leave the world of reality behind and coalesce with the formless spirit.
Yoga in Western Wrold
Asian countries have been the longest beneficiaries of yoga; the recent addition to this list is the western world. The first intervention of yoga appeared in 1893 in Chicago, with the advocacy of Swami Vivekanadanda. He played a pivotal role in sharing the perspicacity of yoga with the overseas audience. Yoga reached its zenith when it was integrated and articulated with Christianity. The misconception of associating yoga primarily with Hindu was abstained and it was now associated with health. Carl Jung was the first renowned Westerner to ascertain the benefits of yoga and thus aid in bridging the gap between the East and the West. Yoga is now perceived as the mode of exercise which can help in toning and strengthening the body in a distinct fashion.
Purpose of Yoga
For individuals who are conscious of their weight, and constantly keep a tab on their weight, yoga serves as a workout technique. It offers them more than a just a workout, in the form of presenting a healthy body and soul. In today’s world where each and every individual is suffering from stress, yoga offers the characteristics of a peace maker which liberates the body and the mind from tensions and stress.
Tips for Healthy Yoga Indulgence
Yoga is all about experiencing the positive changes in one’s body and mind, so one should keep an open mind. It is advisable not to jump on different styles of yoga, as this will lead to instability. Yoga is a gradual process, and requires a lot of patience before the positive effects will start surfacing. The clothing for the yoga session should be loose and comfortable. The dark color clothes should be eschewed. A right yoga instructor must be selected to get the maximum benefit. Lastly, yoga should be perceived as a spiritual quest to discover one’s self rather than a fitness regime.