Best read article to know what is yoga | Adopt yoga to lead a fuller life.
Updated: Jul 4, 2020
What is Yoga?
The Word Yoga is derived from Sanskrit word “YUJ” which means to bind, join, attach and yoke.
Yoga has an ancient tradition known to have existed before 5000 years.
In the sixth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, which is the most important authority on Yoga philosophy, Sri Krishna explains to Arjuna the meaning of Yoga as a deliverance from contact with pain and sorrow.
As a practice, yoga is a routine developed by the sages to help us arouse our dormant abilities, to strengthen our body, to focus our mind, and to unlock our limitless potential to become anything we wish to become.
Yoga is Among the six major schools of Hindu philosophy.
Nyaya literally means logic. The teaching of Nyaya states that the suffering of human existence is caused by the cycle of death and Re-birth. Re-birth occurs as a result of actions or deeds performed in our previous lives.
The name vaisheshika has its origin in the word vishesh = difference.
The aim of this philosophy is similar to the Nyaya. Salvation from suffering comes through the liberation of Re-birth, wishes, and ignorance.
The Word “ Sankhya” means number. According to this system, knowledge of the 25 elements of the universe is essential in order to overcome the suffering of our existence and the difference between two elements: Purusha (Soul) and Prakriti (nature ).
According to this philosophy, the only possibility to overcome suffering is to correctly practice the ceremonies as described in Vedas.
The meaning of vedas is Veda – the Vedas , anta – End.
According to Vedanta, there is only possible for humans to be liberated from the suffering of existence, which according to its teaching is true knowledge about God, man, the universe, etc.
6. Yoga from sage Patanjali :
Yoga was enumerated by sage Patanjali through his work Yoga sutra, popularly called “Patanjali Yoga Sutra” he wrote 195 Sutras which was divided into 4 chapters.
According to his teaching, the detachment of the soul from nature ( which is necessary in order to allow freedom from suffering ), is possible. It is possible to reach this goal through the practice of yoga techniques such as concentration and meditation, as described in detail
In his sutras.
What is the Aim of Yoga:
The main aim of Yoga is to gain “ Mastery over Mind ”
According to Patanjali, it is very difficult to control the mind unless we learn to bring the cessation of thoughts.
Mind is restless due to various reasons such as illness, Greediness, depression, laziness, ignorance, and inability to concentrate.
Patanjali taught about the method to overcome this difficulty through his work Yoga sutra called Patanjali Ashtanga Yoga or 8 Limbs of Yoga.
What are the Benefits of Yoga:
I would like to list up some of the benefits derived by practicing yoga in our daily lives:
1. Brings emotional Stability -
This is one of the best ways to keep our mental health stable as Yoga teaches about moral commandments known as Yama in Sanskrit. When one inculcates Yama he will be free from all worries which in turn brings emotional stability.
The Yama has 5 Aspects:
Himsa means killing or hurting someone, A means not, so Ahimsa is Not to kill or hurt anyone physically or mentally.
Satya is about speaking truth and not to indulge in falsehood. ‘ The truth may hurt for a little while, but a lie hurts forever.
Asteya is Nonstealing. It is not only taking the belonging of others but be honest in one's profession and personal life.
Patanjali insisted on celibacy as it gives more mental focus and clarity.
Aparigraha is about the Nonhoarding of Wealth.
2. Helps in Over All personality Development
Yoga in its 2nd Limb teaches us about self-improvement by following.
1.Saucha – Saucha is about internal and external cleansing, we do keep ourselves clean by brushing the teeth, bathing externally, and internal cleansing is possible by practicing Asana to sweat and purify blood and organs. The practice of pranayama purifies the lungs. It is also important to clean our minds with emotional disturbance by avoiding negative thoughts.
2. Santosha – Santhosha is staying content, however, one should not misunderstand this as being complacent and not set any goals. It is always good to set goals and work towards it and be happy with your efforts and do not to be attached to results.
3. Tapah – Tapah is derived from Sanskrit word Tap which beans to burn. Once we set the goals we should put a burning effort to reach it.
4. Svadhyaya – Sva is self and Adhyaya is Learning so Svadhyaya is about spending time in self-learning.
5.Ishwara Pranidhana – It's about keeping faith in lord or have an optimistic approach towards life.
3. Keeps you physically fit and healthy through the practice of Asanas:
The Asana is the postures that are done holding for a few seconds or a minute.
The practice of Asanas helps to improve the spine and limb flexibility which enables a better range of motion.
Before getting into the postures (asana ) we must practice dynamic moves like Suryanamaskar to avoid injuries.
The Suryanamaskar done for few rounds makes your body warm and supple which makes you hold the posture steady and comfortable. The suryanamaskar done continuously for few rounds burns calories which helps in shedding weight or fat around the waist.
The continuous forward and backward bending action in suryanamaskar stretches the muscles which improves the blood and lymphatic circulation.
There are asana like padangusthasana which is done bending forward applies pressure on abdominal organs thus activating them this boosts metabolism and improves digestion.
The backbend posture like ushtrasana expands lungs which allows more uptake of oxygen.
Some postures are done balancing on a single leg which tones and strengthens them.
The head low posture like sirshasana activates the glands in the brain and enables effective functioning of endocrine glands.
The posture like virabhadrasana improves stamina and physical strength.
4. The practice of Pranayama helps to Regulate breathing:
Pranayama helps in regulating breath. When we breathe, the air is entered into the lungs and through air sacs, the freshly inhaled oxygen is passed into the blood, the air sacs also absorbs carbon dioxide which is then removed from the body through exhalation.
Pranayama is lengthening the breath, the practice of pranayama fully exchange incoming oxygen with outgoing carbon dioxide.
They have also shown to slow heartbeat, stabilize blood pressure, and relieving the stress.
5.Improves Focus :
When the mind is free from disturbing thoughts through Yama and niyama and the body is tempered by the practice of asanas and breathing is controlled through pranayama the mind is free from distraction.
The yogi ( One who practices Yoga ) will be able to focus any given task and be able to accomplish effectively. The person who has a high level of concentration possesses high intellectual powers to tackle any situation.
What are some of the Popular Styles of Yoga in India
1. Mysore Style Ashtanga Yoga :
This style of Yoga was before taught in Mysore ( A place in southern India) by Sri K Pattabi Jois. The classes start with Suryanamaskar A and Suryanamaskar B then followed by Asana practice. A breathing technique called “Ujjayi” is done throughout the session.
This style of yoga has 6 series which are primary series, intermediate series, and four advanced series.
2. Iyengar Yoga :
This form of Yoga is pioneered by Dr. BKS Iyengar. He was one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world.BKS Iyengar has been credited with popularizing yoga, first in India and then around the world.
This type of yoga makes use of props like belts, Yoga straps, chairs, Yoga Blocks, bolsters, and blankets. This style of Yoga emphasis on precision and Alignment while performing asanas.
3. Bihar School of Yoga
Bihar is a state in eastern India. Bihar school of yoga was founded by Swamy Satyananda Saraswathi in 1964. Satyananda yoga is the yogic style developed by Swami Satyananda Saraswathi.
Satyananda yoga has now developed into a prominent international system. It addresses how our head, heart, and hands correspond to our intellect, emotions, and actions.
It seeks to integrate our physical, psychological, and spiritual selves.
How to Start practicing Yoga:
Yoga can be practiced by anyone and at any age. It is always worth starting as early as in Teenage as children are known to be flexible compared to Adults. However, flexibility comes at any age all you have to do is consistent practice without being harsh on your muscles.
There are too many instances where a person started practice after 50 years yet they went on to become flexible and healthy.
Also, yoga is for all ages and all sizes anyone can practice yoga, all you need is a motivation and self-determination.
Follow this 5 Guideline to start your Yoga practice.
1. Invest in a good yoga mat and yoga attire to feel convenient and comfortable during yoga session. ( T-shirts, Yoga pants and shorts could be a great choice )
2. Find the nearest Yoga studio at proximity to your house and easily accessible to reduce the travel time.
( Use the keyword Yoga classes near me in google to find the yoga studio nearby )
3. Understand what style of yoga is taught and whether it is suitable for your fitness level as a beginner before enrolling. Some studios offer Free Trial Class.
4. The best time to practice yoga is early in the morning on an empty stomach. If this is not feasible all you have to do is maintain a gap of 4 hours between a meal and a session.
5. Always consult your doctor if you have any medical issues and make sure the Yoga classes are taught by a certified trainer with prior experience.
6. If studio classes are not your choice then you can opt for online classes.
In the present situation due to the rise in pandemic ( Covid-19 lockdown) and panic over the risk of infection, It is imperative to maintain a healthy lifestyle and also keep the anxiety and mental health in check.
The Practice of Yoga is a solution to remain stress-free and boost the immunity.