Brief Introduction to Yoga

 

Yoga has become very popular the world over, unfortunately however, its true meaning, purpose and significance are often forgotten or ignored. As such, the benefit that one gets from the practice is not optimum. In order to fully benefit from yoga practice, one must go back to its ancient roots and define the very word “Yoga”.

The word Yoga is commonly understood to have derived from the Sanskrit word Yuj, meaning “to unite”. As the Indian Prime Minister Nerendra Modi pointed out, “It’s not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.” 

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The great sage Maharishi Patanjali, who later systematized the system was very clear in his understanding about Yoga as Anushasan or Discipline, as a Way of Life based upon the Principle of Moderation in every aspect of Life.

This has been explained in the book “Live Yoga, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali for Modern Times” by our Founder Mentor Anand Krishna.

Indeed, the science of Yoga itself is thousands of years old. The earliest evidence of Yoga practice is found in the ruins Moen jo Daro in Sindh, part of the Sindhu-Saraswati Valley Civilisation – dating back to at least 2700 BCE. Yet, it as relevent today as it was then. Our Founder Mentor’s fresh transcreation of the ancient text proves the same beyond any doubt.

True Yoga

What is commonly referred to as yoga nowadays is a set of physical postures and breathing exercises alone. Concerns have been shifted towards look and style. Exertive physical exercises have become the sole focus, which, unfortunately, may  strain the heart, causing fatigue and damage to muscles.

 

There is, indeed, much more to it than what is now being packaged and sold in the marketplace as commodity. Even differentiating Modern Yoga and Traditional Yoga is a misnomer. Yoga is Yoga. Yoga is a lifestyle­–a complete holistic system of Self Empowerment and Wellbeing, of which the physical postures (asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayama) are part. Then, what are the rests?

The Eight Limbs of Yoga

Patanjali defines yoga as “Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha”- Yoga is the cessation of the mental fluctuations. To achieve this goal, Patanjali prescribes the eight limbs every practitioner must master. They are:

  • Yama (self discipline)
  • Niyama (rightful virtuous action)
  • Asana (physical posture)
  • Pranayama (life-force regulation through breathing)
  • Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses)
  • Dharana (contemplation)
  • Dhyana (meditation)
  • Samadhi (perfect equanimity)

Practicing proper yoga means incorporating the philosophy and routine as a way of life, not just going through the motions of the asanas or pranayama.

The first two limbs of Patanjali’s Eight-limbed Yoga, yama and niyama have always been considered the foundation for success in yoga.

It is through Yoga practice that one realizes oneness. Thus, one can no longer remain indifferent toward the suffering of all living beings.



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