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From Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YogaFor other uses, such asHatha Yogaor Yoga postures, seeYoga (disambiguation) Statue of Shivaperforming Yogic meditation in thePadmasanaposture.
gə]) refers to traditionalphysicaland mentaldisciplines originating inIndia; to the goal achieved by those disciplines; and to one of the six orthodox (āstika) schools of Hindu philosophy.
Major branches of yoga includeRaja Yoga,Karma Yoga,Jnana Yoga,Bhakti Yoga, andHatha Yoga.
Raja Yoga, compiled in theYoga Sutras of Patanjali,andknown simply as yoga in the context of Hindu philosophy, is part of theSamkhya tradition.
Many other Hindu textsdiscuss aspects of yoga, including theVedas,  Upanishads, theBhagavad Gita, theHatha Yoga Pradipika,theShiva Samhitaand variousTantras.TheSanskritword
has many meanings,
and is derived from the Sanskrit root
, meaning "to control", "to yoke" or "to unite".
Translations include "joining","uniting", "union", "conjunction", and "means".
Outside India, the term
istypically associated withHatha Yogaand itsasanas(postures) or as aform of  exercise.A practitioner of Yoga is called aYogi(gender neutral) or Yogini(feminine form).
History of yoga
Main article: History of yoga
While the most ancient mystic practices are vaguely hinted at in theVedas, the ascetic practices (
) are referenced in theBrāhma
as(900 BCE and 500 BCE),
 earlycommentaries on theVedas. TheRig Veda, earliest of theHindu scripturementions the practice.
Certainly breath control and curbing the mind was practiced since theVedic times.
Popular yoga writer Georg Feuerstein believes that yoga wasfundamental to Vedic ritual, especially to chanting the sacred hymns.
In theUpanishads, an early reference to meditation is made inBrihadaranyaka Upanishad,
one of the earliest Upanishads (approx. 900 BCE). The main textualsources for the evolving concept of Yoga are the middleUpanishads,(ca. 400 BCE),theMahabharata(5th c. BCE) including theBhagavad Gita(ca. 200 BCE), and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali(300 BCE-200 BCE). Several seals discovered atIndusValley Civilization(c. 3300–1700 BC) sites depict figures in a yoga- or meditation-like posture, "a form of ritual discipline, suggesting a precursor of yoga" that point toHarappan devotion to "ritual discipline and concentration", according toArchaeologistGregory Possehl.
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
InIndian philosophy, Yoga is the name of one of the sixorthodox philosophical schools.
 The Yoga philosophical system is closely allied with theSamkhya  school.
The Yoga school as expounded by Patanjali accepts the Samkhya psychology and metaphysics, but is more theistic than the Samkhya, as evidenced bythe addition of a divine entity to the Samkhya's twenty-five elements of reality.
The parallels between Yoga and Samkhya were so close thatMax Müller says that"the two philosophies were in popular parlance distinguished from each other asSamkhya with and Samkhya without a Lord...."
The intimate relationship betweenSamkhya and Yoga is explained byHeinrich Zimmer :These two are regarded in India as twins, the two aspects of a single discipline.
khya provides a basic theoretical exposition of human nature, enumerating anddefining its elements, analyzing their manner of co-operation in a state of bondage(
), and describing their state of disentanglement or separation in release(
), while Yoga treats specifically of the dynamics of the process for thedisentanglement, and outlines practical techniques for the gaining of release, or 'isolation-integration' (
The sagePatanjaliis widely regarded as the founder of the formal Yoga philosophy.
Patanjali's yoga is known asRaja yoga,which is a system for control of the mind.
Patanjali defines the word "yoga" in his second sutra,
which is the definitionalsutra for his entire work:
 (yogaś citta-v
- Yoga Sutras 1.2This terse definition hinges on the meaning of three Sanskrit terms.I. K. Taimni translates it as "Yoga is the inhibition (
) of the modifications (
) of themind (
 Swami Vivekanandatranslates the sutra as "Yoga is restraining themind-stuff (Citta) from taking various forms (Vrittis)."
A sculpture of aHinduyogi in theBirla Mandir ,Delhi Patanjali's writing also became the basis for a system referred to as "Ashtanga Yoga"("Eight-Limbed Yoga"). This eight-limbed concept derived from the 29
Sutra of the2
book, and is a core characteristic of practically every Raja yoga variation taughttoday. The Eight Limbs are:(1)Yama(The five "abstentions"): non-violence, non-lying, non-covetousness, non-sensuality, and non-possessiveness.(2) Niyama(The five "observances"): purity, contentment, austerity, study,and surrender togod.(3)Asana: Literally means "seat", and in Patanjali's Sutras refers to the seated position used for meditation.(4)Pranayama("Lengthening Prāna"):
, life force, or vital energy, particularly, the breath, "āyāma", to lengthen or extend. Also interpreted ascontrol of prana.(5)Pratyahara("Abstraction"): Withdrawal of the sense organs from externalobjects.(6)Dharana("Concentration"): Fixing the attention on a single object.(7)Dhyana("Meditation"): Intense contemplation of the nature of the objectof meditation.(8)Samādhi("Liberation"): merging consciousness with the object of meditation.
Bhagavad Gita
Main article: Bhagavad Gita

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