Many hail to India with the desire to learn and practice the art of yoga, as India is the motherland of yoga. When the quest for yoga begins, there are several crucial factors that need to be kept in mind for smooth completion of the journey. But prior to this, there is something even more important to consider before you take up the practice of yoga. It is essential for the aspirant to gather enough information about yoga. The next question is why to do so? It is necessary for the aspiring yoga practitioner to have a clarity of concept for better understanding about the science of yoga.
There are many who perceive yoga as a mere physical workout where the individuals are involved in turning and twisting of their body. lack of adequate knowledge, dedicated groundwork, fewer sources for authentic data, etc. are certain reasons for this falsity. Fabricated information only misguides the human race, gives rise to several newer versions which are not true and, results in wrong opinions. Therefore, the importance of authentic information cannot be undermined.
If you are motivated to take up the science of yoga for whatever reasons it may be– increased strength, improved balance, correct posture, glowing skin, calmer mind, etc. then ensure you gather enough information about yoga from verified sources that can expand your wisdom about this glorious science. Take a glimpse of the information about yoga here.
Yoga originates from a Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ which means to join or unite. Yoga unites the three core elements of the human being: body, mind, and spirit. It harmonizes the three pillars of life: body, intellect, and soul. These are regarded as three legs of a tripod stand. Even if one leg is broken and not functioning properly, it creates an imbalance in lifestyle. It is the practice of integrating the body into a whole. It is the art and science of a peaceful living.
The origin of yoga is speculated to date back to the Pre-Vedic Indian traditions whose mentions are found in Rig-Veda. It flourished around fifth-sixth century BCE. The earliest mentions of yoga practices are found in Upanishads. Sage Patanjali is regarded as the father of yoga and his writings are dedicated to this Vedic science. The Patanjali sutras date from first half of the first millennium century CE. Yoga in India is more than a physical workout; it is a deeply consecrated, meditative and spiritual science.
The art of yoga is practiced by individuals to reap its wonderful physiological and psychological benefits. On physical level, yoga poses tone, strengthen and align the body. On a mental level, the pranayama, meditation techniques detoxify and calm the mind. Yoga is also effective in alleviating problems like hypertension, depression, cardiovascular diseases and many other disorders. It is also efficacious in reducing stress, promoting relaxation of body and mind.
All yoga poses are directed towards the same outcome, unification of mind, body, and soul. However, they differ in terms of philosophy and practice and, have unique benefits. Given below are some of the most traditional types of yoga:
Hatha Yoga: The traditional style of yoga and the originator of various other styles. Includes the practice of various asanas and breathing techniques. It helps in preparing the mind and body for deep meditation practices. Standing yoga poses, sitting yoga poses, backbends all come under hatha yoga style. Breathing techniques such as 3-part breath, alternative nostril breathing, skull cleansing breathing etc., are practiced for calm and relaxed state of mind.
Ashtanga Yoga: This style of yoga is based on the eight limb path of yoga popularised by Sri.K.Pattabhi Jois. It is an intensive form of yoga for complete mind-body-spirit reformation.
The 8-Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga are mentioned below:
Yama: This refers to ethical standards and moral values. It teaches the practitioner how to conduct themselves. The five yamas are ahimsa, satya, brahmacharya, asteya and aparigraha.
Niyama: This refers to self-discipline, meditation practices. The five niyamas are: saucha, Santosh, Tapas, Svadhyaya, Isvara Pranidhana
Asana: Meaning yoga poses that lead to integration of mind, body, and soul through physical exercise
Pranayama: Breathing techniques to pacify the mind and to experience serenity
Pratyahara: Withdrawal from worldly pleasures and to direct attention internally
Dharana: Concentration, focused mind
Dhyana: the seventh stage meaning meditation. It refers to unbroken flow of concentration
Samadhi: A state of quietness for blissful awareness. A practitioner experiences ecstasy with this yoga.
Karma Yoga: The yoga of action. It aims to free the practitioner from all kinds of negativity and harm caused by our own actions. When a person is actively engaged in an activity, with full attention, it brings freedom and fulfillment to the practitioner.
Bhakti Yoga: The word Bhakti comes from Sanskrit word Bhaj which means to ‘adore God’. Full faith and devotion in the supreme power of the universe, the God or Guru for the disciple. It helps an individual to accept tolerance and develop a positive attitude towards life.
Jnana Yoga: Jnana means knowledge. The process of acquiring knowledge through meditation. The path of wisdom. The aim of jnana yoga is to liberate the soul from all worldly pleasure and to achieve oneness in life.
This is only a brief information about yoga as it is difficult to condense the vast knowledge about yoga in one piece of writing. Enlighten yourself with this brief knowledge.