Yoga (Sanskrit: योग) is a commonly known generic term for the physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India with a view to attain a state of permanent peace. It is practiced in many different ways all over the world. Specifically, yoga is one of the six āstika (“orthodox”) schools of Hindu philosophy. One of the most detailed and thorough expositions on the subject is the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali, which defines yoga as “the stilling of the changing states of the mind” (Sanskrit: योग: चित्त-वृत्ति निरोध:). Yoga has also been popularly defined as “union with the divine” in other contexts and traditions.
- Yoga is a timeless tradition from Rig Veda with a history of over 5000 years
- Yoga means uniting individual soul Jeevatma with universal soul Paramatma
- Yoga is Citta Vritti Nirodah means, yoga controls the fluctuations of the mind
- Yoga is an ancient philosophy that educates on health and harmonious living
- Yoga is a science of self-awareness, self development and self-transformation
- Yoga is a holistic discipline that integrates body and mind, creates perfect balance
- Yoga is not just physical exercise, it builds emotional stability and calms the mind
- Yoga is a powerful health discipline that heals many health issues without medicine
- Yoga is a way of life that boosts positive energies and improves quality of life
- Yoga bestows self understanding, love, knowledge, wisdom and happiness
- Yoga awakens the spiritual self, makes the practitioner experience inner divinity
- Yoga is a natural therapy that makes one look healthy, youthful and beautiful
- Yoga is an amazing inward journey that illuminates life beyond pain and suffering
Yoga in the Bhagavad Gita refers to the skill of union with the ultimate reality or the Absolute. In his commentary, Zaehner says that the root meaning of yoga is “yoking” or “preparation”; he proposes the basic meaning “spiritual exercise”, which conveys the various nuances in the best way.
Sivananda’s commentary regards the eighteen chapters of the Bhagavad Gita as having a progressive order, by which Krishna leads “Arjuna up the ladder of Yoga from one rung to another.” The influential commentator Madhusudana Sarasvati divided the Gita‘s eighteen chapters into three sections of six chapters each. Swami Gambhiranandacharacterises Madhusudana Sarasvati’s system as a successive approach in which Karma yoga leads to Bhakti yoga, which in turn leads to Gyaana yoga:
- Chapters 1–6 = Karma yoga, the means to the final goal
- Chapters 7–12 = Bhakti yoga or devotion
- Chapters 13–18 = Gyaana yoga or knowledge, the goal itself
Truths about Yoga
Most people think yoga is a physical exercise that improves body flexibility.
They are interested in fast paced activities and find yoga slow paced and
uninteresting. They do not realize that fast paced activities cause fatigue,
exhaustion and disturb the mind and body balance.
Some people think yoga is only an alternative therapy that provides relief for
headaches, arthritis, back pain, high blood pressure, diabetes and other ailments.
Such people attend yoga classes till their issues get fixed, and discontinue their
practice. Very few people are aware of the true benefits of yoga.
Some people think yoga is a religious practice that deals with rituals.This is not
true. Yoga is a basis of all religions. It educates the practitioner on self understanding,
love, selfless service, management of pain and peaceful living.
When yoga practice starts in childhood, it is a great blessing for the children. Their
systems will function well, posture and mental abilities will improve, there will be
awareness of right and wrong, children will develop positive thinking and emotional
stability. Their immune system will be strengthened and will be free from disease.
Yoga is for everyone. It is never too late to start yoga; one can start yoga even
after attaining age sixty. Yoga is a gift for all ages and a boon for the old age. It
infuses vitality in the old age, develops abilities to adapt to changing situations,
builds confidence and makes the extra years meaningful.
The only necessity is to learn yoga from a knowledgeable and experienced teacher
who will understand the needs of the individual, provide proper guidance and right