Yoga day is an important day celebrated on 21 June. Since 2015 it has been considered as an international day by the UN assembly. The word yoga was derived from the Sanskrit word ‘yog.’ The meaning of yoga- is the union of the mind and soul. It is believed that yoga was first brought to earth by Lord ‘Shiva’. There are 8 limbs for yoga or 8 ashtangas for yoga, they are- yama (external disciplines), niyama (internal disciplines) asana (postures), Pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawl of senses), dharna (concentration), dhyana (meditative absorption), and samadhi (union, integration).
Practicing Yoga has many benefits such as increased flexibility, improved immunity and balance, relaxation and managing stress. Patanjali Maharshi, an ancient Indian sage is thought to be the author of ‘The yoga sutras.’ It is a book with the collection of Sanskrit sutras on theory and practice of yoga. It has 196 sutras.It is widely regarded as the authoritative text on yoga, and it is a collection of aphorisms, outlining the eight limbs of yoga. The development of yoga dates back to 3000 B.C (5,000 years ago).
There are 4 paths for yoga. They are- Raj yoga, Bhakti yoga, Janan yoga and Karma yoga. The great sage Patanjali was a follower of Raj Yoga. In Raj Yoga, Yoga is practiced to gain mastery over the mind through willpower. Ramanuja was the main follower of Bhakti Yoga. Bhakti yoga helps a person to develop emotional maturity, and to achieve a strong sense of universal brotherhood. and oneness. Janan yoga was followed by Adi Shankara. This path helps in developing a logical mind with intuitive knowledge and immense awareness. The Bhagvad gita remains the main source for the conceptual basis of karma yoga; it was later elaborated by Swami Vivekananda. This path emphasizes on performing actions with detachment and without worrying about the results.
Tirmulai Krishnamacharya a famous Indian yoga teacher is also known as ‘Father of modern yoga’ the most popular yoga for westerners is Hatha yoga. It is a branch of yoga which literally means ‘force’. There are many types of poses called asanaa in yoga. Asana means body posture. There are about 84 asanas. Some important asanas are tadasana (mountain pose) bhujangasana (cobra pose) adho mukha svanasana (downward facing dog), uttanasana (standing forward bend), balasana (child pose), shavasana (corpse pose) sukhasana (easy pose), gomukhasana (cow pose), padmasana (lotus pose) etc…
There are 7 chakaras for yoga. Chakra literally means energy point. They are Muladhara (Root Chakra), Svadhisthana (Sacral or Pelvic Chakra), Manipura (Navel Chakra), Anahata (Heart Chakra), Vishuddha (Throat Chakra), Ajna (Third-Eye Chakra), Sahasrara (Crown Chakra). There are different types of yoga such as Iyengar yoga, Kundalini yoga, Bikram yoga and ashtanga yoga.
Iyengar yoga is named after B.K.S Iyengar it mainly focuses on the structural alingment of the physical body through the practice of asana. The author B.K.S Iyengar wrote a book on Iyengar yoga known as ‘light of yoga’.
Kundalini yoga is a yoga that is practised with songs, chants, breathing exercices etc. It is also known as ‘Yoga of awarness’. It’s main aim is to activate your shakti or kundalini energy. It is a spiritural energy positioned at the base of the spine.
Bikram yoga was developed by Bikram Choudhury. It is also known as hot yoga as it is practiced at very high temperatures (105 degrees farenheit). It consists of 26 postures, namely a fixed sequence of 24 asanas and two pranayama (breathing exercise)
Ashtanga yoga or ashtanga vinyasa yoga was publicized by K. Pattabhi Jois. It is often recommended as a modern day form of classical Indian yoga. The style is energetic, synchronizing breath with movements. Ashtanga yoga is a powerful tool to tune the body. It improves focus, balance and coordination.
So to deduce, yoga is good for all of us and it can help us join our mind, body and spirit. Practicing yoga is an important factor and it can help us in many ways. As an Indian citizen we should have a basic knowledge about the history of yoga as it emanated from ancient India. Yoga is considered by doctors as a healing exercise as it helps our body to become fit and reduce the fatality rate of dying. Once B.K.S Iyengar said “Your body exists in the past and your mind exist’s in the future. In yoga, they come together in the present”
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