What is yoga?
Yoga is extensively known as a form of exercise that stretches and strengthens the body through various poses known as ASANAS. For other people yoga is the realization of inner self satisfaction. For other it is a religion that the believe and must follow.
All of this statement makes it hard to really make a full realization of what yoga is. So what is yoga?
Yoga goes far beyond just mere exercises full of awkward routines. Yoga is the union of mind, spirit and body. Yoga comes from the Hindu philosophy used to attain spiritual insight and harmony.
What is yoga? Yoga generally refers to the common use of a system of exercises that is practiced as part of this discipline.
The word is derived from the Sanskrit “yeung”, which means to join. A yoke as used on oxen is closely related, but also the same root gives us “join”, “junction”, “junta”,”adjust”, “joust”, and “juxapose” to name a few.
There are many institutions of yoga all of which have their own unique practices and beliefs. But in this article we have listed down the five most common yoga practices.
However, schools and paths have been established with many different variations that aren’t listed here.
HATHA: this is the most popular variety of yoga and one that has been commonly taught for years. So what is yoga for them? For them it is perfecting the mind by way of perfecting the body.
With this technique many asanas or postures, breathing techniques and meditations
ASHTANGA: this yoga is another popular type they are much faster than the other
schools. What is yoga for ashtanga’s?
For them yoga can be considered as a type of aerobic yoga for they instill quick and
smooth transitions between poses.
KUNDALINI: This school is focused on awakening and focusing what is known as
kundalini energy. Kundalini energy is most easily compared to life energy that lies
dormant in our bodies. It is commonly represented by a coiled snake.
MANTRA: this type of yoga is focused on calming the mind and body through the
usage of words and sounds. The well known ‘om’ chant is commonly heard in this
TANTRA: This type of school is well known by way of its focus on sexual spirituality.
They also focus on kundalini energy, although their intent for awakening it is much
different from the Kundalini practice.
Yoga is a very diverse practice, no matter which school you choose. People young
and old can gain many benefits from regular yoga practices, and asanas can be
adjusted to fit physical limitations and other complications.
If you want a break from treadmills, weight rooms, or the pool, take a look at yoga.
Not only are you striving towards physical well being, you are striving towards
spiritual well being as well.
Traditionally, yoga consists of eight fundamental paths: Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga,
Jnana Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Purna Yoga, Tantra Yoga, Maha Yoga and Ashtanga or Raja
Yoga. In the western world, the term yoga often refers to Hatha yoga and its
postures, movements, and breathing techniques.
The ultimate goal of yoga is the attainment of liberation from worldly suffering and
the cycle of birth and death. Yoga entails mastery over the body, mind, and
emotional self, and transcendence of desire. It is said to lead gradually to knowledge
of the true nature of reality.
The History of Yoga has a lot to do with the present times. The earliest Yoga started some 5000 years ago since human civilization has begun. The scholars have believed that Yoga was originated out of Stone Age Shamanism.
This is because there were some cultural similarities between Mehrgarh which was a Neolithic settlement and the Modern Hinduism. The shamanistic culture of Mergarh was in fact influenced by Hindu ideals, symbols and rituals of the present. The ancient shamanism and early Yoga had so much similarity for the reason both wanted to go beyond the human condition.
Shamanism’s primary goal was to heal the members who were in their community and at the same time act as the religious mediators.
Archaic Yoga also had the same objectives as they were community oriented and they aimed to determine the enormous order through senses and inner vision which then can be applied to our daily lives.
As time went on, Yoga has progressed and has regarded the inmost experience. Yogis then have focused on how to improve the individual enlightenment, recovery and salvation.
Yoga’s evidences were first tracked in the archeological evidence which was found in stone seals exhumed from the Indus valley. Yoga postures were traced and seen fro the figures which were illustrated in the stone seals. the artifacts were placed on History books circa 3000 B.C., which was linked to the great Indus-Sarasvati Civilization which was known to be the largest civilization that exist in the ancient world. The Indus-Sarasvati, being a maritime society, exported goods all over Africa and the Middle East. They build up sewage systems and put up geometrical brick roads and constructed multistory buildings.
The Vedas are known as the oldest scripture in the world which were the ancient texts, was brought by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization. It was a compilation of hymns that commends a high power which included the oldest recorded teachings in Yoga. They have considered this the divine revelation. The intelligence of the Vedas was known as the Pre-classical Yoga or the Vedic. This was described by the ritualistic ceremonies that the Yoga practitioners have been required in order to go beyond the limitations of the mind.
The history of yoga would not have been completed in the classical stage of yoga. After the time and turn of the millennium, yoga and its spread in different forms have come up with the need for standardization. This is important so that the people will be aware with it and it can be applied by them. Due to this, during the second century, C.E., Patanjali has composed and collected seminal text which was the Yoga-Sutra which had defined the Classical Yoga.
At the age of Postclassical Yoga in the enormous history of Yoga, it gave rise to some productive literature which has included the Tantra and the Hatha which is famously known nowadays. These were taught in schools for Yoga and practiced by many. Therefore, post classical Yoga is described to the adaptation of our present state. It is the time when yoga has evolved greatly and introduced to people. It has then been applied in the United States in the 1800’s.
Now in the recent decades, yoga has greatly and swiftly evolved. Swami Sivananda was one of the prominent gurus ever to master yoga. He has served as a doctor and he has generously opened up schools in Europe and America.
Now as we move on with the yoga practices that we have today, it is much helpful and easier to understand if we looked back on the history of yoga.