When we first time hear the word yoga, it is only thought that it is usually done by senior people to get a more flexible and strong body or to diagnose disease.
However, many people consider it only as a physical exercise, where people move, twitch, stretch the body and adopt complex ways of breathing.
Is such thinking enough?
Never, If you think this, then read this article in detail and become aware of the knowledge of yoga, What is yoga exactly, and the Importance of yoga in our life.
What is yoga
it is a spiritual process in which the body, mind, and soul are brought and connected together. It is believed that Yoga is the best exercise for our body which helps us to be physically and mentally healthy.
To know about the yoga, we have to go to its core. It derives from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, which means personal consciousness or soul’s union with universal consciousness or spirit.
The word “yoga” essentially means to bring oneself into reality which is the art of living life. It is a good means to fulfill the needs of the body, mind, and soul.
Yoga Art, Science, and Philosophy
It is not only the art of living and science but also a wonderful combination of Philosophy. It enables every part of the human system to become attuned to its essence, the conscious seer within and brings them into mutual harmony.
In short, It is a wonderful combination of Art, Science, and Philosophy that deals with body, breath, mind, soul, and ultimately, the universe itself.
Yoga is an art – Art means beauty or skill. Yoga is an artistic Asana, Pranayama, and Meditation that maintain physical balance and control of senses. It is a creative act in which by asana the body changes into various beautiful, by Pranayama calm the mind and Meditation develops the consciousness.
Yoga is a science – let us discuss the Yoga is a science. It activates a special part of the body or organ, whether it is internal or external. It is a science that helps to join the powers of body, breath, mind, soul, and ultimately, the universe itself.
Yoga is a Philosophy – Patanjali Muni created the Yoga philosophy. A great practical and psychological form of philosophy has been presented in yoga Philosophy for the spiritual, mental and physical advancement of human life by combining the existence of God with nature, nature of man.
History of yoga
5000-year-old style of Indian knowledge. It again shows us the Indus-Saraswati civilization. Some researchers have shown the result that yoga may be up to 10,000 years old. Although there is no conclusive proof of this, It is believed that it has been practiced ever since civilization began.
First Guru of Yoga?
In old texture, Lord Shiva is considered as the first yogi or Adi Yogi and the first Guru of Yoga. The seal of Mohenjodaro (3000 BC) in the Indus Valley Civilization shows the yoga posture of Shiva sitting in meditation posture. After Lord Shiva, the beginning of yoga is considered by the Vedic sages. Later, Krishna, Mahavira, and Buddha extended it in their own way.
Illustration of Yoga 3000 BC Found in the pieces and sculptures of the Indus Valley civilization.
Maharishi Patanjali is credited for its introduction in India, but its propagation and spread abroad is mainly attributed to Swami Vivekananda, often used to tell people about the Vedic culture of India abroad.
The history of yoga is also mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita and the Shanti Parva of Mahabharata.
IT is also found in the earliest literature, Vedas. The Rig-Veda (“Knowledge of praise”), Sama-Veda (“Knowledge of Chants”), Yajur-Veda (“Knowledge of Sacrifice”) and Atharva-Veda (“Knowledge of Atharvan”), the principles of yoga are mentioned in the four Vedas.
To understand history, it can be divided into four broad categories:
5 Historical Categories of yoga
- Vedic Age
- Pre-classical Age
- Classical Age
- Post-classical Age
- Modern Age
Vedic Age (2700 BC) – Vedic age also called Archaic Yoga. The Sanskrit word Veda means “knowledge,”
Yama and yoga had great importance in the Vedic age. During this time, several seals and fossils have been found, and get information about the literature of Yoga.
Pre-classical Age or Upanishad Period -This is the birth period of the Upanishads. The Upanishads explain the teachings of the Vedas. It contains several references to it.
20 yoga Upanishads found out of the 108 Upanishads. It found mention of yoga education in two great national epics, the Bhagavad Gita and the Mahabharata. They talk about various yoga techniques.
Classical Age ( 500 BC – 800 A.D ) – Patanjali is often considered the father of modern yoga. Patanjali. is known to bring a systematic presentation of yoga.
After Patanjali, the practice of it increased and compound institutions, Peeths, and Ashrams started being built, where only Raja Yoga was taught.
During this classical age period, Sutras and the Bhagavadgita came into existence. Its more explicit explanation is found in the Bhagavad Gita, which has elaborated the concept of Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga.
Post-classical Age (800 A.D. – 1700 A.D ) – The period between 800 – 1700 A.D. is considered as Post-classical Age in which the teachings of the great Acharyatreya-Adi Shankara, Ramanujacharya, Madhwacharya were prominent.
Modern Age – The period between 1700 – 1900 A.D has been recognized as the Modern Age wherein Yoga masters began expanding westward in the 19th century. It first started in 1893 in the Parliament of Religions at Swami Vivekananda in Chicago. After this, Krishnamacharya opened the first Hatha Yoga Ashrams in Mysore in 1924.
After the 1930s, the teachings of great personalities like Shri T. Krishnamacharya, Swami Kuvalayananda, Shri Yogendra, Swami Ram, Sri Aurobindo, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Acharya Rajneesh, Pattabhi Jois, BKS Iyengar, Swami Satyendra Saraswati, etc. in India today Hatha-yoga has spread all over the world.
Importance of yoga
History of Yoga, as mentioned above, was build thousands of years ago and has been practiced continuously since then.
The above-mentioned things reveal the importance of it in ancient times. Now we will know what is the importance of yoga in the modern era.
Originally it is not only a form of exercise but it is an art of living to maintain a balance between the environment in a healthy, happy and peaceful way. It helps in achieving inner peace and intimate knowledge.
Yoga is not a religion, it is an ancient knowledge of living life through mental, spiritual and physical paths. The ultimate goal is a healthy mind in a healthy body.
It is most important for everyone’s life as people suffer from more stress, anxiety, and insomnia due to improper lifestyle and physical exercise. It helps in balancing the relationship between body and mind. yoga is very useful for achieving the proper health of the body and brain as well as to control the mind and body by reducing stress and anxiety. This is the type of exercise that helps in learning physical and mental discipline from regular exercise.
Hence yoga is important because by practicing it, we can gain on the following points:
Yoga Health Benefits That Are Supported By Science.
There are lots of physical, mental, and Therapeutic health benefits of yoga, that are supported by Science.
Yoga for Fitness
There are several benefits to physical fitness components. It not only keeps you physically healthy but it is a simple and easy way to stay fit. Through yoga, a person can maintain his fitness. This is the reason, that people have started giving priority to yoga nowadays. It not only increases your strength and agility but also your flexibility that improves the quality of life.
It is said that the more flexible the body is, the better it is. Diseases etc. are also reduced when the body is flexible. For this, you can take shelter of yoga. It provides the best possible solution for repairing the body and also making sure that the connective tissues, as well as ligaments, are strong and pliable just like muscles themselves.
Over the years, many research and studies have proven that yoga is quite effective when it comes to relieving pain. In case you are suffering from arthritis, migraine, fibromyalgia, yoga plays an effective role in reducing pain due to all these ailments.
Enhanced Mental Health
Yoga offers countless mental health benefits which are too many to mention here. It improves the overall mood of the person as well as a sense of well-being. It provides more connectedness with others.
Even though doing hath yoga or power yoga won’t result in the burning of more calories than a high-intensity workout, yoga does help in normalizing body weight by restoring hormonal of your body.
More information about yoga you need to know
Eight Limbs Of Yoga
Patanjali dictates about 8 limbs of yoga, every one of them provides guidance to an individual how to live a purposeful as well as a meaningful life
These eight Limbs of yoga help in making a human body healthy by doing its work on the whole body of a diseased man, his life, his cells, and the chakras.
As per Sutras of Patanjali, there is the eight-fold path that leads to freedom as known as the “Ashtanga ” System or popularly called 8 Limbs of Yoga. The word “Ashta” means eight in Sanskrit while “Anga” means “limb”.
The eight dimensions are practiced simultaneously. These eight parts are- 1. Yama, 2. Niyama, 3. Asana, 4. Pranayama, 5. Pratyahara, 6. Dhyana, 7. Dharana, and 8. Samadhi.
The first limb is Yama which refers to five Yamas elements.
- Ahimsa – Do not harm anyone without words, thoughts, and actions.
- Satya or Truth – Truth in thoughts, speaking the same authentic words as thoughts are in the mind.
- Asteya – no tendency to thief.
- Brahmacharya – It has two meanings: Stabilizing consciousness in the knowledge of Brahman and second Be restrained in all sensory pleasures.
- Aparigraha – Do not accumulate excessively and do not desire the things of others.
The second limb is Niyama which refers to the duties that are directed towards ourselves but can also be taken into consideration with the actions we take towards the outside world. It comes from the Sanskrit verb “ni” which means “inward” or within.
There are some rules for maintaining which is described after Yama. There are five Niyamas which are-
- Saucha – Maintaining the inner cleanliness of our body so that our body remains pure.
- Santosha – Santosha means satisfaction of mind. Our mind, our body should do what we have got from it, that is, we should be satisfied with fewer things rather than demanding more.
- Tapas – It means our mind when we provide peace to our body, mind and soul and whatever we suffer we call it Tapas. Those who do not Tapas do not attain the attainment of yoga and cannot see God.
- Svadhyaya – It meaning self-study or self-reflection along with the study of spiritual texts.
- Isvarapranidaha – which means surrendering to a higher power.
Whatever physical exercise we do to keep our body healthy, we call it asanas. The only instruction of alignment that Patanjali gives for this asana is “Sthira Sukham Asanam”, that is the posture or pose should be both steady as well as comfortable.
Asana increases the power of our body to function so that our body is capable of doing everything and our body becomes disease-free.
It means complete breath, Take deep and long breaths, and Keeping your soul in mind and meditate in God. The Prana is also described as the breath, and by working on the breathing pattern, we can affect and mold our mind in a realistically better way.
The fifth limb is Pratyahara. Pratya is a Sanskrit word which means “withdraw”, “drawback” or “draw in” and the second part is Ahara which refers to anything that we “take in” all by ourselves through various senses such as sights, sounds as well as smells that we take in continuously.
The sixth limb is Dharana which means “focused concentration”. The word “Dha” means “maintaining or holding”, “Ana” means “something else” or “other”. It is closely linked to the other two limbs mentioned previously, Dharana and Pratyahara are an important and essential part of the same aspect. As every stage prepares us for the next one, Pratyahara creates the stage for Dharana or concentration.
Dhyana is the seventh limb is which is built upon asana which is the physical posture, pranayama which is the breath control, pratyahara which is the control of senses with moving of the focus to the inside, and dharna which is concentration. The word Dhyana originates from the Sanskrit word “Dhyai” meaning “to think of.”
The eighth limb is Samadhi. Most of us know the word Samadhi which means “enlightenment” or “bliss”, and this is the final and last step of the Patanjali Sutra’s journey.
If we break the word in half, we will see that this final and last step is made up of two Sanskrit words “sama” which means “same” or “equal”, and “Dhi” which means “to see”.
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