INTRODUCTION

Yoga (Sanskrit, P li: originated in India.

yóga) refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines that The word is associated with meditative practices

in Hinduism, Buddhism andJainism. Within Hinduism, it refers to one of the six orthodox ( stika) schools of Hindu philosophy, and to the goal towards which that school directs its practices. In Jainism, yoga is the sum total of all activities ² mental, verbal and physical. Major branches of yoga in Hindu philosophy include R ja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Hatha Yoga. According to the authoritative Indian philosopher Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, yoga, based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, comprises one of the six main Hindu schools of philosophy (darshanas), together with Kapila's Samkhya, Gautama's Nyaya, Kanada's Vaisheshika, Jaimini's Purva Mimamsa, and Badarayana's Uttara Mimamsa or Vedanta. Many other Hindu texts discuss aspects of yoga, including the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, theHatha Yoga Pradipika, the Shiva Samhita and various Tantras. The Sanskrit word yoga has many meanings, and is derived from the Sanskrit root "yuj," meaning "to control," "to yoke" or "to unite." Translations include "joining," "uniting," "union," "conjunction," and "means." It is also possible that the word yoga derives from "yujir samadhau," which means "contemplation" or "absorption." This translation fits better with the dualist Raja Yoga because it is through contemplation that discrimination between prakrti (nature) and purusha (pure consciousness) occurs. Someone who practices yoga or follows the yoga philosophy to a high level of attainment is called a yogi or yogini. History

even as early as the late Rig Vedic period. while ascetic practices ("tapas") are referenced in theBr hma as (900 to 500 BCE). showing "a form of ritual discipline. He mentions less likely possibilities as well. 3300±1700 BCE) sites in Pakistan depict figures in positions resembling a common yoga or meditation pose." according to archaeologist Gregory Possehl. and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (150 BCE).History The Verdic Samhitas contain references to ascetics. (ca. based on strong parallels between Upanishadic cosmological statements and the meditative goals of the two teachers of the Buddha as recorded in the early Buddhist texts. Techniques for experiencing higher states of consciousness in meditation were developed by the shramanic traditions and in the Upanishadic tradition. Having argued that the cosmological statements in the Upanishads also reflect a contemplative tradition. They describe meditative practices and states that existed before the Buddha. The Buddhist texts are probably the earliest texts describing meditation techniques. as well as those first developed within Buddhism. he argues that the Nasadiya Sukta contains evidence for a contemplative tradition. In Hindu literature. early commentaries on the Vedas. the Mahabharata including the Bhagavad Gita (ca. . though there is no conclusive evidence. 200 BCE). where it refers to control of the senses and the cessation of mental activity leading to a supreme state. While there is no clear evidence for meditation in pre-Buddhist early Brahminic texts. Wynne argues that formless meditation originated in the Brahminic tradition. Several seals discovered at Indus Valley Civilization (c. Important textual sources for the evolving concept of Yoga are the middle Upanishads. the term "yoga" first occurs in the Katha Upanishad. Some type of connection between the Indus Valley seals and later yoga and meditation practices is speculated upon by many scholars. 400 BCE). suggesting a precursor of yoga.

2 : citta-v tti-nirodha ) This terse definition hinges on the meaning of three Sanskrit terms.. this role suggests that Patanjali was aware of Buddhist ideas and wove them into his system. Taimni translates it as "Yoga is the inhibition (nirodha ) of the modifications (v tti) of the mind (citta)". S are regarded in India as twins. non-covetousness. Patanjali's yoga is known as Raja yoga. K.. while Yoga treats specifically of the dynamics of the process for the disentanglement. Yoga is the name of one of the six orthodox philosophical schools. which is the definitional sutra for his entire work: : (yoga .Yoga Sutras of Patanjali In Hindu philosophy." Patanjali's writing also became the basis for a system referred to as "Ashtanga Yoga" ("EightLimbed Yoga"). or "isolation-integration" ("kaivalya"). the two aspects of a single khya provides a basic theoretical exposition of human nature.The Yoga philosophical system is closely allied with the Samkhya school. which is a system for control of the mind. The parallels between Yoga and Samkhya were so close that Max Müller says that "the two philosophies were in popular parlance distinguished from each other as Samkhya with and Samkhya without a Lord." The intimate relationship between Samkhya and Yoga is explained by Heinrich Zimmer: These two discipline. and describing their state of disentanglement or separation in release ("mok a"). non-lying. enumerating and defining its elements.Yoga Sutras 1. Patanjali is widely regarded as the founder of the formal Yoga philosophy. analyzing their manner of co-operation in a state of bondage ("bandha"). and non-possessiveness. Patanjali defines the word "yoga" in his second sutra.. Swami Vivekananda translates the sutra as "Yoga is restraining the mind-stuff (Citta) from taking various forms (Vrittis). I. The use of the word nirodha in the opening definition of yoga is an example of the important role that Buddhist technical terminology and concepts play in the Yoga Sutra. nonsensuality. Yama (The five "abstentions"): non-violence. The Yoga school as expounded by the sage Patanjali accepts the Samkhya psychology and metaphysics. This eight-limbed concept derived from the 29th Sutra of the 2nd book. and outlines practical techniques for the gaining of release. and is a core characteristic of practically every Raja yoga variation taught today. The Eight Limbs are: 1. as evidenced by the addition of a divine entity to the Samkhya's twenty-five elements of reality. . but is more theistic than the Samkhya.

Pranayama ("Suspending Breath"): Pr na. Jnana yoga: The yoga of knowledge. Dharana ("Concentration"): Fixing the attention on a single object.2. In the view of this school. the middle six with Bhakti yoga. Sometimes Patanjali's system is referred to as ³Seshvara Samkhya´ in contradistinction to Kapila's "Nirivara Samkhya. 7. which he assumed with slight variations.´ brings out the intimate relation between the two systems. and surrender to god. In the early works." Bhagavad Gita The Bhagavad Gita ('Song of the Lord'). Asana: Literally means "seat". Furthermore. but differs from it in that while Samkhya holds that knowledge is the means of liberation. the highest attainment is the event of one of many individual selves discovering itself. In addition to an entire chapter (ch. 4. The everyday world is real. and in Patanjali's Sutras refers to the seated position used for meditation. there is no single universal self shared by all persons. Dhyana ("Meditation"): Intense contemplation of the nature of the object of meditation. Yoga agrees with the essential metaphysics of Samkhya. it introduces three prominent types of yoga:[43]    Karma yoga: The yoga of action. the highest attainment does not reveal the experienced diversity of the world to be illusion. circa 1490) divided the Gita into three sections. Sam dhi ("Liberation"): merging consciousness with the object of meditation. 3. Vyasa's commentary on the Yoga Sutras. Yoga and Samkhya Patanjali systematized the conceptions of Yoga and set them forth on the background of the metaphysics of Samkhya. contentment. and dutiful action. including meditation. austerity. 5. uses the term "yoga" extensively in a variety of ways. the Yoga principles appear along with the Samkhya ideas. mental discipline. breath. Madhusudana Sarasvati (b. 6. and the last six with . study. also called the ³Samkhyapravacanabhasya. with the first six chapters dealing with Karma yoga. Pratyahara ("Abstraction"): Withdrawal of the sense organs from external objects. 6) dedicated to traditional yoga practice. Bhakti yoga: The yoga of devotion. Also interpreted as control of the life force. Yoga also introduces the conception of God. to restrain or stop. 8. " y ma". Niyama (The five "observances"): purity. Yoga is a system of active striving.

" or vital energy (tha).[52] The most ancient sustained expression of yogic ideas is found in the early sermons of the Buddha. Meditative states alone are not an end.[45] [edit]Hatha Yoga Main arti les: Hatha yoga and Hatha Yoga radipika Hatha Yoga is a particular system of Yoga descri ed byYogi Swatmarama. the term "yoga" is typically associated with Hatha Yoga and its asanas (postures) or as a form of exercise. of Patanjali's Raja yoga." the purification of the physical body as leading to the purification of the mind ("ha"). Hatha Yoga differs substantially from the Raja Yoga of Patanjali in that it focuses on "shatkarma. along with its many modern variations.[50] [edit]Modern.[46][47] Compared to the seated asana. Japan Early Buddhism incorporated meditative absorption states. Westernised Yoga In the West.[48] it marks the development of asanas (plural) into the full body 'postures' now in popular usage [49] and. compiler of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika in 15th century India.[54] The difference between the Buddha's teaching and the yoga presented in early Brahminic texts is striking. and "prana.[51] [edit]Yoga practices in other traditions [edit]B ddhi m Main arti le: Buddhism and Hinduism#Meditation ¥ £ ¤ The Buddha depicted in yogic meditation.delineating eighteen di erent yogas. for according to the Buddha.Kamakura. Instead of attaining a complete ¢ Jnana (knowl ) ¡¡  Ot commentators ascri e a di erent 'yoga' to each chapter. or sitting meditation posture.[53] One key innovative teaching of the Buddha was that meditative absorption must be combined with liberating cognition. is the style that many people associate with the word "Yoga" today. . even the highest meditative state is not liberating.

"Ati yana. Zen is often set alongside Yoga. which are said to be increasingly profound.cessation of thought.[64] [edit]Indo-Tibetan Buddhism Yoga is central to Tibetan Buddhism. meditative contemplation and precise dynamic movements to centre the practitioner.[57] Yogacara Buddhism Yogacara (Sanskrit: "yoga practice"[58])." "Mah [66] yoga. "Trul khor"). the generation of heat in one's own body. the two schools of meditation display obvious family resemblances." "Anu yoga" and the ultimate practice." "Yoga yoga. their point of reference became the sage who is liberated in life." a framework for engaging in the practices that lead to the path of the bodhisattva. old Brahminic metaphors for the liberation at death of the yogic adept ("becoming cool. a discipline that includes breath work (or pranayama). with the Anuttara yogaclass substituting for Mahayoga and Atiyoga." "going out") were given a new meaning by the Buddha. The Nyingma tradition also practices Yantra yoga (Tib. based on the practice of mindful awareness. also spelled yog ch ra. or vehicles.[62] This phenomenon merits special attention since the Zen Buddhist school of meditation has some of its roots in yogic practices. Upa (called "Charya"). Yogacara received the name as it provided a "yoga. some sort of mental activity must take place: a liberating cognition." "Upa yoga.[68] The body postures of Tibetan ancient yogis are depicted on the walls of the Dalai Lama's summer temple of Lukhang. In the Nyingma tradition. In fact.[67] Other tantra yoga practices include a system of 108 bodily postures practiced with breath and heart rhythm.[65] The last six are described as "yoga yanas": "Kriya yoga. and Yoga. as being "the very foundation of the whole of Tibetan . The Mahayana school of Buddhism is noted for its proximity with Yoga. the path of meditation practice is divided into nine yanas." The Sarma traditions also include Kriya.[56] Liberation for the Brahminic yogin was thought to be the realization at death of a nondual meditative state anticipated in life.[60] [edit]Ch'an (Seon/Zen) Buddhism Zen (the name of which derives from the Sanskrit "dhyaana" via the Chinese "ch'an"[61]) is a form of Mahayana Buddhism.[52] In the west.[55] The Buddha also departed from earlier yogic thought in discarding the early Brahminic notion of liberation at death.[63] Certain essential elements of Yoga are important both for Buddhism in general and for Zen in particular.[59] The Yogacara sect teaches "yoga" as a way to reach enlightenment. "tummo"). is a school of philosophy and psychology that developed in India during the 4th to 5th centuries. A semi-popular account of Tibetan Yoga by Chang (1993) refers to ca al (Tib.

All these are indicative of not only links between Indus Valley Civilisation and Jainism. which is first mentioned in the Acaranga Sutra and later in Kalpasutra [74] The five yamas or the constraints of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali bear an uncanny resemblance to the five major vows of Jainism."[77] The Indus valley seals and iconography also provide a reasonable evidence of the existence of a proto-yogic tradition akin to Jainism. had many references on yoga as a way of life for laymen and ascetics. Heinrich Zimmer contended that the yoga system had pre-Aryan origins that did not accept the authority of the Vedas." Acarya Kundakunda. a system of yogic thinking that grew into a full-fledged religion. The later texts that further elaborated on the Jain concept of yoga are as follows:  ¦ ¦ Pujyapada (5th century CE) ." [69] Chang also claims that Tibetan Yoga involves reconciliation of apparent polarities. Robert J." is the sum total of all the activities of mind.[73] Jain iconography depicts Jain Tirthankara's meditation in "Padmasana" or "Kayotsarga" yogic poses. indicating a strong influence of Jainism. speech and body." 2nd century CE Jain text. and Jainism reciprocates by making the practice of yoga part and parcel of life.[4] Umasvati calls yoga the cause of "asrava" or karmic influx [70] as well as one of the essentials²samyak caritra"²in the ath to liberation. This has led certain Indologists like Prof.[71] AcaryaHaribhadra and Acarya Hemacandra mention the five major vows of ascetics and 12 minor vows of laity under yoga. such as prana and mind. Tattvarthasutra etc.Yoga.[79] [edit]References in Jain canons and literature Earliest of Jain canonical literature like Acarangasutra and texts like Niyamasara. scholars and archaeologists have remarked on close similarities in the yogic and meditative postures depicted in the seals with those of various Tirthankaras: the "kayotsarga" posture ofRsabha and the "mulabandhasana" of Mahavira along with seals depicting meditative figure flaked by upright serpents bearing similarities to iconography of Parsva. Zydenbos to call Jainism. [edit]Jainism According to "Tattvarthasutra. relating this to theoretical implications of tantrism.[70] In his "Niyamasara.[78] More specifically. and hence had to be reckoned as one of the heterodox doctrines similar to Jainism. but also show the contribution of Jainism to various yogic practices. essentially. describes yoga bhakti²devotion to the ath to liberation²as the highest form of devotion. "Yoga.[72] Dr. Mahavira was said to have achieved "Kevala Jnana" "enlightenment" siting in "mulabandhasana" ('root-lock') position.[75][76] This mutual influence between the Yoga philosophy and Jainism is admitted by the author Vivian Worthington who writes: "Yoga fully acknowledges its debt to Jainism.

passed a fatwa banning yoga on the grounds that it contains "Hindu elements"[86] These fatwas have.[84] and states that teachings such as the uniting of a human with God is not consistent with Islamic philosophy. a Deobandi Islamic seminary in India. but prohibits the chanting of religious mantras. an Islamic body in Indonesia. Muslim yoga teachers in Malaysia criticized the decision as "insulting. Several other yogic texts were appropriated by Sufi tradition. in turn. against Muslims practicing yoga. which is legally non-binding. been criticized by Darul Uloom Deoband."[82] Sisters in Islam. where they adapted both physical postures (asanas) and breath control (pranayama).[85] In a similar vein. also expressed disappointment and said that its members would continue with their yoga classes.[83] The fatwa states that yoga practiced only as physical exercise is permissible. but engagement with yoga is not found at the historical beginnings of the tradition.[87] . saying it had elements of "Hindu spiritual teachings" and that its practice was blasphemy and is therefore haraam. a women's rights group in Malaysia.[80] The ancient Indian yogic text Amritakunda ("Pool of Nectar)" was translated into Arabic and Persian as early as the 11th century.[81] Malaysia's top Islamic body in 2008 passed a fatwa.  Ishtopadesh Acarya Haribhadra Suri(8th century CE)     Yogabindu Yogadristisamuccaya Yogasataka Yogavimisika  Acarya Joindu (8th century CE)  Yogasara  Acarya Hemacandra (11th century CE)  Yogasastra  Acarya Amitagati (11th century CE)  Yogasaraprabhrta [edit]Views of Abrahamic religions [edit]Islam The development of Sufism was considerably influenced by Indian yogic practises. but typically the texts juxtapose yoga materials alongside Sufi practices without any real attempt at integration or synthesis. the Council of Ulemas. Yoga became known to Indian Sufis gradually over time.

religious. "one can see if and how [prayer] might be enriched by meditation methods developed in other religions and cultures"[93]but maintains the idea that "there must be some fit between the nature of [other approaches to] prayer and Christian beliefs about ultimate reality. an individual perceives reality as maya. [edit]Christianity The Roman Catholic Church. John Wijngaards points out the long Judaic and Christian histories of absorbing elements from surrounding religions. and Hinduism into their spiritual practices. at times. to moral deviations.[95] Both Tantra & Yoga offer paths that relieve a person from depending on the world.[94] [edit]Tantra Main article: Tantra Tantrism is a practice that is supposed to alter the relation of its practitioners to the ordinary social.In May 2009. His comments were made in the context of yoga possibly competing with and eroding participation in Islamic practice. the Vatican issued two documents: Aspects of Christian meditation and "A Christian reflection on the New Age. It is also considered a part of the New Age movement and therefore inconsistent with Christianity.[88] The only sect of the Islam community that has successfully incorporated yoga into its practice is the Jogi Faqir. Many Roman Catholics now bring elements of Yoga.[91] The Vatican warned that concentration on the physical aspects of meditation "can degenerate into a cult of the body" and that equating bodily states with mysticism "could also lead to psychic disturbance and. illusion.[89][90] In 1989 and 2003.[92] The letter also says."[92] The Rev. when the church opposed the gnostics' belief that salvation came not through faith but through a mystical inner knowledge. discounted personal development techniques such as yoga as commercial ventures that could lead to extremism. and the individual achieves liberation from it. . The 2003 document was published as a 90 page handbook detailing the Vatican's position. Through Tantric practice. Ali Bardako lu. He notes that the absence of any intense experience of God's power has sent some Christians eastward. whose followers are Muslim converts from the Hindu Jogicaste. and some other Christian organizations have expressed concerns and disapproval with respect to some eastern and New Age practices that include yoga and meditation. Turkey's head of the Directorate of Religious Affairs. and logical reality in which they live.[92] Some fundamentalist Christian organizations consider yoga practice to be incoherent to their religious background and therefore a non-Christian religious practice." that were mostly critical of eastern and New Age practices." Such concerns can be traced to the early days of Christianity. Buddhism.

Yoga controls body and mind to enable them to harmonize with spirit.Where Yoga relies on progressive restriction of inputs from outside. It is considered to be a kind of Kundalini Yoga for the purpose of moving the Goddess into the chakra located in the "heart". bhakti or service to Svayam bhagavan itself may be the ultimate goal of the yoga process. or as perceiving the Brahman or Atman that pervades all things. ranging from the more gentle hatha yoga to the more strenuous. is a practice that uses posture and breathing techniques to induce relaxation and improve strength. meditation.[96] This particular path to salvation among the several offered by Hinduism. and Tantra. and Tantra seeks to use the mind to balance the demands of body and spirit. In the Mahabharata. which deals mainly with spirit. the Sanskrit word for "union". as Brahman. meditate. which are based on temporary or permanent withdrawal from social relationships and modes. at which point there is a realization of identity with the Supreme Brahman. he exclaims: Because every embodied individual is composed of a body. This is often in a limited form in comparison with the way this kind of meditation is known and used by Tantric practitioners and yogis elsewhere. or simply because it's in fashion. the ancient Rishis of India who developed the Science of Life organized their wisdom into three bodies of knowledge: Ayurveda. concentrating on its harmony of mind and spirit. They both make a person independent. Ayurveda is most concerned with the physical basis of life. . breathe. The philosophy of all three is identical. Tantra relies on transmutation of all external inputs so that one is no longer dependent on them. the goal of yoga takes the form of Moksha. but is more elaborate than the initiate's previous meditation. for meditation and worship. such as yoga. [96] During tantric practices and studies. which deals mainly with the physical body. stretch. where the goal is to enjoy an eternal relationship with Vishnu. and its health benefits may surpass those of any other activity. which is liberation from all worldly suffering and the cycle of birth and death (Samsara). and social renunciation. their manifestations differ because of their differing emphases.[97] [edit]Goal of yoga The goals of yoga are varied and range from improving health to achieving Moksha.[95] As Robert Svoboda attempts to summarize the three major paths of the Vedic knowledge. you may not realize the numeroushealth benefits of yoga. which is mainly concerned with the mind. Whether you practice yoga to relax. a mind and a spirit. Yoga.Shaivism and Jainism. links Tantrism to those practices ofIndian religions.[98] For the bhaktischools of Vaishnavism. the goal of yoga is variously described as entering the world of Brahma.[99] oga. but can take them or leave them at will. the student is instructed further in meditation technique. particularly chakra meditation.[42] Within the Hindu monist schools of Advaita Vedanta. And while there are many different kinds of yoga.

Unlike the more gentle hatha yoga. depression. and it is an effective form of psychological therapy. tendons. This is particularly beneficial for women approaching menopause. the forms of ashtagna yoga. Power yoga is an excellent form of cardio conditioning. and other arthritic symptoms by practicing yoga poses and postures. and Joints y y y y y y The physical benefits of yoga are myriad. better mood. including acute anxiety. Yoga reduces anxiety and stress. vinyasa yoga. and mood swings. People suffering from hypertension can benefit from yoga tremendously. pain. Many practitioners claim that yoga has also lowered their cholesterol. power yoga. Muscles. as it involves all the muscles in your body to hold and balance yoga asanas (poses). and muscles stay limber. Yoga improves your endurance. as hatha yoga can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Here are some of yoga's many health benefits. legs. Yoga is often prescribed to help heal various injuries. pulled hamstrings. Yoga keeps your body strong. and shoulders. The various yoga postures strengthen your feet. you should consult your physician before using yoga as a treatment for any injury! Yoga is an excellent weight-bearing exercise that can improve your bone density. Most notably: y y y y The gentler forms of yoga lower your blood pressure because the asanas (yoga poses.like Bikram yoga (which is performed in a 105°F room) or power yoga. Benefits of Yoga to Your Bones. People suffering from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis will see a noticeable improvement in their stiffness. power yoga. abdominals. and better concentration throughout the day. resulting in a strenuous cardiovascular workout and improved core strength. . Benefits of Yoga on Mental Health y Yoga benefits anyone's mental health by helping him or her relax. helping joints. which strengthens core muscles while it keeps blood and oxygen circulating throughout your body. every form of yoga improves your health from head to toe. Yoga has been used to help treat a wide variety of emotional and mental disorders. Benefits of Yoga to the Cardiovascular System Yoga has tremendous health benefits for your heart. lower back. legs. resulting in better health. since the poses and postures gently stretch and strengthen your back and neck muscles. or thinning of the bone. Of course. and Bikram yoga. Yoga's stretching and breathing exercises improve your flexibility. since yoga can help ward off osteoporosis. Hatha yoga can relieve chronic back and neck pain. postures. including repetitive strain injuries. hands. These rigorous yoga practices follow a specific sequence of poses (asanas) that become more challenging as you progress. knee and back injuries. and yoga positions) keep blood flowing evenly throughout your body while you focus on your breathing. even minor skin burns. especially the more athletic forms of yoga such as ashtanga yoga. vinyasa yoga. and Bikram yoga require you to keep your body in constant motion between poses.

Those with attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity can learn to relax and get control by using yoga breathing and yoga asanas. malaise. resulting in a stronger immune system and improved ability to heal quickly from disease or injury. Power yoga is a vigorous form of yoga that burns calories. which can often prevent headaches from starting. Benefits of Yoga on Other Health Conditions y y y y Do you have frequent headaches? Yoga can rid you of tension headaches and migraines because yoga circulates blood and oxygen to your head. Yoga can help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight throughout your life. Benefits of Yoga in Everyday Life y y y Yoga can help cure insomnia. Many women going through menopause report an easing of symptoms when they begin practicing yoga. Because yoga is a form of meditation. which has far-reaching health benefits. it results in a sense of inner peace and purpose. Try some yoga postures today! And as your instructor will no doubt tell you at the end of your practice: Namaste. Yoga has been used to help heal victims of torture or other trauma. resulting in weight loss. and weakness. Yoga is an effective treatment for a variety of autoimmune diseases because it can reduce the symptoms these diseases often cause. Yoga can help fight fatigue and maintain your energy throughout the day. such as stiffness.y y y Even children can benefit from yoga. A regular yoga practice helps boost antioxidants throughout your body. fatigue. Regular yoga practice will create multiple and noticeable benefits to your health. as regular yoga practice leads to better and deeper sleep. .