Several seals discovered at Indus Valley Civilization (c. 33001700 BC) sites depict figures in a yoga- or meditation-like posture, "a form of ritual discipline, suggesting a precursor of yoga." Goals can range from improving health and fitness, to reaching Moksha.Within the monist schools of Advaita Vedanta and Shaivism this perfection takes the form of Moksha, which is liberation from all worldly suffering and the cycle of birth and death
Yoga is a group of ancient spiritual practices possibly originating in India around 3300 BC for the purpose of cultivating a steady mind. A practitioner of Yoga is called a Yogi or Yogini. Yoga has been defined as "technologies or disciplines of asceticism and meditation which are thought to lead to spiritual experiences and a profound understanding or insight into the nature of existence." Outside India, yoga is mostly associated with the practice of asanas (postures) of Hatha Yogaor as a form of exercise.
Major branches of yoga include: Hatha Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Raja Yoga. Raja Yoga, established by the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and known simply as yoga in the context of Hindu philosophy, is one of the six orthodox schools of thought.
The Sanskrit term yoga has many meanings. It is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj, "to control", "to yoke", or "to unite". Common meanings include "joining" or "uniting", and related ideas such as "union" and "conjunction".
Several seals discovered at Indus Valley Civilization (c. 33001700 BC) sites depict figures in a yoga- or meditation-like posture, "a form of ritual discipline, suggesting a precursor of yoga." Archaeologist Gregory Possehl points to 16 specific "yogi glyptics" in the corpus of Mature Harappan artifacts as pointing to Harappan devotion to "ritual discipline and concentration." These images show that the yoga pose "may have been used by deities and humans alike."
· Brings down stress and enhances powers of relaxation
· Boosts physical strength, stamina and flexibility
· Bestows greater powers of concentration and self control
· Helps in rehabilitation of old and new injuries
· Intensifies tolerance to pain and enhancing mental clarity
· Boosts functioning of the immune system
· Enhances posture and muscle tone
· Improves blood circulation
· Results in healthy, glowing skin
· Cleanses and improves overall organ functioning
· Bestows peace of mind and a more positive outlook to life
· Infuses a sense of balance and internal harmony
Different types of yoga are Raja Yoga, Bhakthi Yoga, Gnana Yoga, Karma Yoga, Janma Yoga, Japa Yoga, Thapa Yoga & Avathara Yoga. Raja Yoga is attaining Yoga or unification and reach Samadhi or oneness by practicing the Ashtangas of Yoga like Yama, Niyama, etc. (which we discussed in the last article). One who achieves the yogic state by this mode is considered to be the Raja or King of Yoga we can take Swami Vivekananda as an example. Bhakthi Yoga is reaching the ultimate oneness by sheer devotion and faith. Kuchela can be an example for this. Gnana Yoga is unification by attaining knowledge in different walks of life. Present time scientist and vedic age maharishis are examples. Sri Adi Sankara, Buddha Bhagwan can be best examples. Karma Yoga is attaining the oneness by selfless service to humanity and society with out anticipating the result as Krishna Bhagwan explains in Geetha “Karmarne Vadhikaryasya Ma Phaleshu Kadhajena” - perform your duties without anticipating the result of fame in return. Mahatma Gandhi can be quoted as the best example. Janma Yoga, example of the same is some mahatmas born with the inherent quality to reach that oneness state like Jesus Christ, Mohammed Nabi, etc. Japa Yoga is attaining oneness by chanting a mantra, God's name etc. We can see this is part and parcel of all religions like, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. Thapa Yoga is attaining oneness by penance. For this we can see a lot of examples in Vedic scriptures. Avathara Yoga is incarnation of a great soul like Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, etc., who took avatara to create peace and oneness in the Universe.
Yoga is practiced by over 20 million Americans daily. Everyday people are reporting their wonderful experiences with Yoga, the transformation of being, taking you beyond the here and now. In one wonderful session of Yoga, people get to practice a number of things; some Yoga poses (asanas) breathing exercises (pranayama), meditation and chanting. In Yoga you get to learn basic terms like Mudras, Bandhas and Chakras. Best of all, Yoga is fun and relaxing while, at the same time, being delectably challenging to beginners. Following are the various benefits of yoga.
Goal of Yoga: There are numerous opinions on what the goal of Yoga may be. Goals can range from improving health and fitness, to reaching Moksha.Within the monist schools of Advaita Vedanta and Shaivism this perfection takes the form of Moksha, which is liberation from all worldly suffering and the cycle of birth and death (Samsara) at which point there is a realisation of identity with the Supreme Brahman. For the bhakti schools of Vaishnavism, bhakti or service to Svayam bhagavan itself is the ultimate goal of the yoga process, wherein perfection culminates in an eternal relationship with Vishnu, Rama or Krishna, depending on the affiliation.
1. Student of XI (commerce), Sacred, Heart Convent School, Jagadhri-135003
2. Lecturer in Home Sc., DAV College, For Girls, Yamuna Nagar-135001 (Haryana)