Yoga is one of the most ancient cultural heritage of India. The word yoga in Sanskrit means "to unite", and so yoga can be said to connote a unitive discipline. In this sense it is an exercise in moral and mental cultivation that generates good health (arogya), contributes to longevity (chirayu), and the total intrinsic discipline culminates into positive and perennial happiness and peace. Therefore, yoga is the said to be indispensable of the ultimate accomplishment in life. It is a science that affects not only the conscious self but the subconscious as well. It is a practical physiological training (kriya yoga), which if practiced can exalt man to the 'supra mundane level'.

What Yoga Is Not
There are too many misconceptions clouding the science of Yoga. People perceive it to be some kind of black or white magic, sorcery, physical or mental debauchery through which miraculous feats can be performed. For some it is an extremely dangerous practice which should be limited to only those who have renounced the world. Few others think it to be a kind of mental and physical acrobatism that is compatible only to a Hindu mind.

What Yoga Really Is
Yoga is an all-embracing way of life, a science of self-culture and mental discipline that ensures the purgation of the ignoble in man and brings forth what is most noble in him. It is pertinent to all people irrespective of his caste, creed, sex, and religion. It can be beneficial to all - the good and the bad, the sick and the healthy, the believer and the non-believer, the literate and the ignorant, the young and the old. A person may begin at any age and can go on reaping its benefits.

The Origin of Yoga
Yoga had its genesis in the wandering ascetics who sought the solitude of the forests to practice this ancient science and then imparted their knowledge to the ardent students (mumuksu) who lived in their ashrams. The ancient yogins were possessive about this art form and did not make any effort to popularize yoga. The yogic postures and the subsequent stages of yoga were handed down only to the deserving students. Hence, this science remained limited to the confines of the forests or remote caves.Very little was known about this Vedic practice until the Yoga Institute of Santa Cruz, Mumbai was founded in 1918, which became India's oldest technical institute on Yoga.

Introduction To Yoga
Yoga is a science of right living and it works when integrated in our daily life. It works on all aspects of the person: the physical, mental, emotional, psychic and spiritual. The word yoga means „unity‟ or „oneness‟ and is derived from the Sanskrit word „yuj‟ which means „to join‟. There are too many misconceptions clouding the science of Yoga. People perceive it to be some kind of black or white magic, sorcery, physical or mental debauchery through which miraculous feats can be performed. For some it is an extremely dangerous practice which should be limited to only those who have renounced the world. Few others think it to be a kind of mental and physical acrobatism that is compatible only to a Hindu mind. The human mind is subject to certain weaknesses which are universal. avidya-wrong notions of the external world, asmita-wrong notions of the external world, asmita-wrong notions of oneself, ragalonging and attachment for sensory objects and affections, dweshad is like and hatred for objects and persons, and abinivesha or the love of life are the five defects of the mind that must be removed. Yoga, the constant meditation and introspection eradicate these mental flaws.

Six main Indian systems (Darshanas) There are however. and within that way. It is a philosophical science of self . and declares that in the quietude of the mind and the tranquility of the senses. seeking its place in nature. The Yoga we are studying specially concerns the Marga of Jnanam or knowledge. mental and emotional we can achieve a contented. Yogic philosophy The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word 'yuj' meaning to yoke. as everywhere in nature. As well as the importance of acquainting yourselves sufficiently with Sanskrit language. six main Indian philosophical systems (Darshanas) or classical points of view that integrate ordinary perception with experiencing the essence or spirit of life's values. one related to the Self and the other to the Not-Self.We have organised some background information on understanding Yoga better. as a waveless lake reflects the stars. reflects the higher. its own character. but more beautifully. The method of producing this quietude is what we have now to consider in this section. By acknowledging and integrating the individual aspects of ourselves from the physical. The scientific method is one that follows the old Indian conception. In Yogic philosophy we have three bodies. Just click on the links below for the information you are interested to find out. Traditionally the knowledge of yoga (investigation into the nature of the inner and outer realities of existence) was handed down orally from teacher (guru) to student. Yoga is not a religion. join or unite. a man may behold the majesty of the Self. unruffled. within that Marga or path of knowledge. independently guiding one into recognizing his fullest potential and purpose in life (Essence of spirit). waveless. one is often at a loss for the English equivalent of the manifold meanings of the Sanskrit tongue. we are dealing only with the science of Yoga and not with other means of attaining union with the Divine. which puts it less technically and scientifically. Schools of Thought Yoga relation to Indian philosophies discussed in this section. Here. Yoga as Practice The lower mind. the Physical. balanced and above all useful life. Yoga as Science The two great methods of Yoga. which dated as far back as 100 years ago. The Nature of Yoga Gain a general idea of the subject of Yoga. You will remember the phrase used in the Upanishad. The origin of yoga pre-dates Indian Hindu and Buddhist religions and in that context. Subtle (astral) and Causal (spirit). which is the path to the integration of self or "self realization". as in explaining Yoga. we find that three subdivisions occur.realization and transformation. . its object in human evolution.

The six systems are:       Yoga . The history of yoga can be traced back to India over five thousand years ago. Its roots are found in the Vedic period. Very little is known about the sage Patañjali. Ayurveda.laws of formal religion It was on Sri Patanjali Maharishi's "Yoga Sutras". or Ultimate Reality . approximately 5000 BCE. The word itself is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj – "to yoke or harness. Here is a very brief introduction to a small part of this ancient tradition. that Yoga today has laid its foundation. The word “yoga” is a Sanskrit term that has many meanings. although he is credited with writing texts on Grammar.analysis and characterising of the universe Nyaya ." In India. The actual date of its origin is difficult to pinpoint. but the era from which this knowledge comes from is far less important than the knowledge itself.logic Purva-Mimamsa . This is a metaphor used to describe the process of yoga.union of individual consciousness with universal consciousness Vedanta . God. and creates connection with a greater universal Self. and most importantly for us. It has been practiced over the centuries in many different forms. HISTORY The History of Yoga cannot fairly be condensed to one page. Yoga is one of the six orthodox systems of Indian Philosophy. it was written over 2000 years ago. universe and God. Simply put. Sankhya . It is a method for training and uniting the body. Ashtanga Yoga Philosophy describes a spiritual discipline or path that promotes harmony within the individual self. An integrated and concise text based on the above philosophical systems.knowledge of self. Yoga. one would bring an ox under control by harnessing it to a wagon. Traditional Ashtanga Yoga is the name given to a set of practices compiled by the sage Patañjali sometime between 200 BCE to 250 CE. and specifically in the Rig Veda . mind and spirit.philosophical classification of the universe Vaishesika .the oldest written book in the world. Ashtanga Yoga is translated from the Sanskrit language as: Eight Limbs of Yoga.

Yoga makes use of different movements. and spiritual disciplines which originated in ancient India. Pāli: . you can banish all your stress and lead a healthy life. Various traditions of yoga are found in Hinduism. All you need to know is the most appropriate exercises meant for the structure of your body. /ˈjəʊɡə/. Another specialty about Yoga is its wide choice of asanas. It is a medication without the actual use of medicines. breathing exercises (called pranayams). In fact. In addition. for curing chronic ailments that are otherwise difficult to be cured by other medications. Depending upon the stamina and overall health. Moreover. more and more people. while choosing the asanas of the activity. The amazing thing about Yoga is that its positive effects on the health and mind are visible over time. are resorting to Yoga to find cure for chronic health problems and attain a peace of mind. you need to know the right way of performing the asanas. Of course. It increases the lubrication of joints. It involves the practice of physical postures and poses. One of the most detailed and thorough expositions on the subject are the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali. As the name suggests. Although many of us are well aware of the health benefits of the physical activity. Studies in the field of medicine suggest that Yoga is the only form of physical activity that provides complete exercise to the body. no visible side effects are associated with the practice of Yoga on a regular basis. Jainism and Sikhism. In order to accomplish it. the ultimate aim of practicing Yoga is to create a balance between the body and the mind and to attain self-enlightenment. Yoga can create a positive permanent difference to the lifestyle of anybody practicing it on a regular basis. especially the Westerners. Yoga is associated with a healthy and lively lifestyle with a balanced approach to life. Pranayams are the best exercises to increase the capacity of lungs capacity. They are also curious about knowing what exactly is Yoga and what are included in it. asanas to high intensity asanas. body and spirit. which is sometimes referred to as 'asana' in Sanskrit. not everyone knows about the origin and exact definition of Yoga. Buddhism. Yoga is the perfect way to ensure overall health and physical fitness. Originated in ancient India. Through meditation. breathing exercises. because it massages all the internal organs and glands.[1][2] Specifically. This in turn reduces the risk of many diseases. yoga) is a commonly known generic term for physical. . but includes many other things beyond that. Yoga brings stability to the body and the wavering mind. ligaments and tendons of the body. it is one of the best remedies known to humankind. yoga involves stretching. Yoga (Sanskrit. It is a popular belief that Yoga merely includes stretching and warm up exercises. yoga is one of the six āstika ("orthodox") schools of Hindu philosophy. relaxation technique and meditation. The oldest physical discipline in existence known to humankind. mental. you can choose from the mild pranayams. Yoga typically means 'union' between the mind. People suffering from backaches and arthritis are often suggested to do asanas that concentrate on providing exercise to the muscles at the strategic locations.What Is Yoga In the present time. because any wrong attempt can cause sprains and injuries.

i. Hatha yoga emerged as a prominent tradition of yoga distinct from the Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. the more commonly used. who supervised Indus Valley Civilization excavations. brought yoga to the West in the late 19th century. dating to the mid 3rd millennium BC. Alexander Wynne. There are very many compound words containing yog in Sanskrit. Kesins and Vratyas. meaning "connection with a verb". While the Yoga Sutras focus on discipline of the mind. Thus. application. though there is no conclusive evidence. chandrá-yoga has the astronomical sense of "conjunction of the moon with a constellation". where the yoking or harnessing of oxen or horses takes on broader meanings such as "employment. It is a posture not of sitting but of standing. 1000–800 BCE) and the Atharvaveda. For example. Munis. "endeavour". c.1). Nasadiya Sukta of the Rig Veda suggests the presence of an early contemplative tradition. asthma and heart patients. suggesting a precursor of yoga. observes that formless meditation and elemental meditation might have originated in the . the standing deities on the seals also show Kayotsarga (a standing posture of meditation) position. Vratya. Many studies have tried to determine the effectiveness of yoga as a complementary intervention for cancer. More prosaic moods such as "exertion". showing "a form of ritual discipline. a group of ascetics mentioned in the Atharvaveda. emphasized on bodily postures which probably evolved into yogic asanas. puṃ-yoga is a grammatical term expressing "connection or relation with a man". But the same compound is also given a technical meaning in the Yoga Sutras (2. Yoga can take on meanings such as "connection". In Vedic Sanskrit. "addition" and "performance". The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are often labelled as Rāja yoga. chakrá-yoga has a medical sense of "applying a splint or similar instrument by means of pulleys (in case of dislocation of the thigh)". In the 1980s. "zeal" and "diligence" are also found in Epic Sanskrit. All further developments of the sense of this word are post-Vedic. schizophrenia.[17] Ramaprasad Chanda.Pre–philosophical speculations and diverse ascetic practices of first millennium BCE were systematized into a formal philosophy in early centuries CE by the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. author of The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. already had a much more figurative sense. “Not only the seated deities on some of the Indus seals are in yoga posture and bear witness to the prevalence of yoga in the Indus Valley Civilization in that remote age. Techniques for controlling breath and vital energies are mentioned in the Brahmanas (ritualistic texts of the Vedic corpus." according to archaeologist Gregory Possehl. Early Vedic Samhitas also contain references to other group ascetics such as. PREHISTORY Several seals discovered at Indus Valley Civilization sites. or "to attach" from the root yuj. guṇá-yoga means "contact with a cord". In a national survey. "method". Hatha yoga concentrates on health and purity of the body.e. the word yoga is used to refer to one of the six orthodox (āstika) schools of Hindu philosophy. By the turn of the first millennium. concentration and bodily postures used by Vedic priests to conduct yajna (Vedic ritual of fire sacrifice) might have been precursors to yoga. states that. beginning with Swami Vivekananda. "to join". etc. long-term yoga practitioners in the United States reported musculo–skeletal and mental health improvements. Hindu monks. "contact". "to unite". the "union with the Supreme" due to performance of duties in everyday life[9] In Hindu philosophy. "application". designating the "practical" aspects of the philosophy. depict figures in positions resembling a common yoga or meditation pose. use. literal meaning of the Sanskrit word yoga which is "to add". yoga became popular as a physical system of health exercises across the Western world. The term kriyā-yoga has a grammatical sense. performance" (compare the figurative uses of "to harness" as in "to put something to some use"). Ascetic practices (tapas)."[18] Some type of connection between the Indus Valley seals and later yoga and meditation practices is speculated upon by many scholars. Someone who practices yoga or follows the yoga philosophy with a high level of commitment is called a yogi or yogini. bhakti-yoga means "devoted attachment" in the monotheistic Bhakti movement.

[113] In the 1960s. and unconnected to a religious denomination. studies of the effects of yoga on heart disease suggest that yoga may reduce high blood pressure. The three main focuses of Hatha yoga (exercise. PURPOSE Generally put. MODERN HISTORY Yoga came to the attention of an educated western public in the mid 19th century along with other topics of Hindu philosophy. and Swami Satchidananda.K. K. the purpose of yoga is defined as citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ (the cessation of the peturbations of consciousness). Concepts used later in many yoga traditions such as internal sound and veins (nadis) are also described in the Upanishad. The Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs . western interest in Hindu spirituality reached its peak. Numerous asanas seemed modern in origin. Since 2001. Iyengar.Upanishadic tradition. The number of people who practiced some form of yoga has grown from 4 million (in 2001) to 20 million (in 2011). reduce stress and make the spine supple. yoga is a disciplined method utilized for attaining a goal. specialist Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs has been found 30% more beneficial than usual care alone in a UK clinical trial. as Dean Ornish. Overall. the physical postures of yoga are used to alleviate health problems. enhance cardiac rehabilitation. A second "yoga boom" followed in the 1980s. as well as reduced symptoms of asthma in asthmatics. and meditation) make it beneficial to those suffering from heart disease. Other smaller studies support this finding. In contemporary times. and lower cardiovascular risk factors. who toured Europe and the United States in the 1890s. improve symptoms of heart failure. Chandogya Upanishad describes the five kinds of vital energies (prana). The ultimate goal of Yoga is moksha though the exact definition of what form this takes depends on the philosophical or theological system with which it is conjugated. Bhakti schools of Vaishnavism combine yoga with devotion to enjoy an eternal presence of Vishnu. Regular yoga practice increases brain GABA levels and has been shown to improve mood and anxiety more than some other metabolically matched exercises. Yoga is also used as a complete exercise program and physical therapy routine. Among the teachers of Hatha yoga who were active in the west in this period were B. In the specific sense of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras.[114][115][116] Kundalini Yoga. and Swami Vishnu-devananda. The earliest reference to meditation is in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. such as walking. legitimizing yoga as a purely physical system of health exercises outside of counter culture or esotericism circles. In the West. was brought to the United States by Yogi Bhajan in 1969. Pattabhi Jois. the popularity of yoga in the USA has been on the constant rise. In Shaiva theology. breathing. yoga is used to unite kundalini with Shiva. giving rise to a great number of Neo-Hindu schools specifically advocated to a western public.S. and strongly overlaped 19th and early 20th century Western exercise traditions. For chronic low back pain. a follower of Swami Satchidananda. Mahabharata defines the purpose of yoga as the experience of Brahman or Ātman pervading all things. The first Hindu teacher to actively advocate and disseminate aspects of yoga to a western audience was Swami Vivekananda. considered an advanced form of yoga and meditation. Potential Benefits for Adults Long-term yoga practitioners in the United States have reported musculoskeletal and mental health improvements. the term "yoga" is today typically associated with Hatha yoga and its asanas (postures) or as a form of exercise. connected yoga to heart health. one of the oldest Upanishads.[26] Taittiriya Upanishad defines yoga as the mastery of body and senses.

caution and common sense are recommended. A research group from Boston University School of Medicine also tested yoga‟s effects on lower back pain. had suffered a back injury . Another study found that MBSR had showed positive effects on sleep anxiety.5 fewer days off work each year. at the end of four months those patients treated with yoga were better in their social and occupational functions and quality of life. pain. Their results showed that Iyengar yoga could help reduce the inflammation caused by therapy. spinal stenosis. Yoga is used for treatment of cancer patients to decrease depression. while the others continued with their normal routines and treatments. the yoga group reported less fatigue and better moods.[136] Yoga has been criticised for being potentially dangerous and being a cause for a range of serious medical conditions including thoracic outlet syndrome. so called "Yoga foot drop.[127] Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs include yoga as a mind-body technique to reduce stress. The yoga group showed improvement in disease activity scores. Implementation of the Kundalini Yoga Lifestyle has shown to help substance abuse addicts increase their quality of life according to psychological questionnaires like the Behavior and Symptom Identification Scale and the Quality of Recovery Index. which combines exercise and breathing techniques. while the standard treatment group had only a five percent drop. damage to the common fibular nerve. Over twelve weeks." etc. A study found that after seven weeks the group treated with yoga reported significantly less mood disturbance and reduced stress compared to the control group. An exposé of these problems by William Broad published in January. The yoga group completed twelve sessions of Raj yoga. The reported pain for yoga participants decreased by one third. Yoga participants also had a drop of 80% in pain medication use. but there was no statistically significant evidence to show that their quality of life improved. In one study. and spiritual growth. allowing one to develop control over one's mind and body. retinal tears. Other researchers have looked into yoga as a supplementary or alternative treatment for arthritis. At the end of the eight weeks. The ten women in the yoga group participated in 90-minute yoga sessions three times a week for eight consecutive weeks. a condition associated with cognitive deficits and stressrelated relapse. but after eight weeks of yoga. and fatigue and increase anxiety control.programme is the dominant treatment for society (both cheaper and more effective than usual care alone) due to 8. one group of volunteers practiced yoga while the control group continued with standard treatment for back pain. Physical injuries A small percentage of yoga practitioners each year suffer physical injuries analogous to sports injuries. There has been an emergence of studies investigating yoga as a complementary intervention for cancer patients. Researchers in the United Arab Emirates studied a group of over forty rheumatoid arthritis patients to see if yoga could be effective in treating the disease. traditional Hindu psychology focuses on enhancing the normal and healthy mind through the practice of meditative techniques such as yoga. 2012 in The New York Times Magazine resulted in controversy and denial in the yoga community in New York City where yoga is popular. Yoga is found to improve cognitive functions and reduce stress in schizophrenia. quality of life. a science writer. Rather than adapting the sick or mentally ill mind (the primary focus of modern psychology). The practice of yoga in Hindu tradition also has psychological benefits. degenerative arthritis of the cervical spine. and author of The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards. insomnia. the researchers compared blood tests and qualityof-life surveys of the yoga group and control group. experienced yoga practitioner. The researchers noted that the majority of the test subjects were clinically depressed prior to the trial. Researchers at Washington State University conducted a study in 2007 to see if there was a link between yoga and the health of breast cancer patients. Broad. Yoga has also been studied as a treatment for schizophrenia.

impulsiveness.while performing a yoga exercise. This is a very serious condition which can result in a stroke. many people get trained and certified to become yoga instructors. a tear in the arteries in the neck which provide blood to the brain can result from rotation of the neck while the neck is extended. have been reported to have resulted from yoga practice and engagement in sports. shoulder stands. for example. "Yoga exercises are not recommended for children under 16 because their bodies‟ nervous and glandular systems are still growing. Torn muscles. backward bends. beginners' competitiveness and instructors' lack of qualification are foremost. and emotional situations. but is an event which could occur in some yoga practices. lotus and half lotus (seated cross-legged position). This can occur in a variety of contexts. for pregnant women. However. . Some yoga practitioners do not recommend certain yoga exercises for women during menstruation. As the demand for yoga classes grows. a beginning yoga student can overestimate the abilities of their body and strive to do advanced poses before their body is flexible enough to perform them. and the effect of Yoga exercises on these systems may interfere with natural growth. forward bends. Vertebral artery dissection. Pediatrics The American Yoga Association states. knee injuries.6% of the respondents had suffered an injury producing prolonged pain or requiring medical treatment. In the previous 12 months 4. Headstands. and handstands produced the greatest number of injuries. Among the main reasons that experts cite for causing negative effects from yoga. and headaches are common ailments which may result from yoga practice. Acetabular labral tears. mediation and breathing exercises are encouraged. However. In turn. or for nursing mothers. not every newly certified instructor can evaluate the condition of every new trainee in their class and recommend refraining from doing certain poses to avoid injuries. meditation and simple breathing exercises (without breath-holding) are safe and can help children to manage stress. damage to the structure joining the femur and the hip. An extensive survey of yoga practitioners in Australia showed that about 20% had suffered some physical injury while practicing yoga." However. in a beauty shop while your hair is being rinsed.

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