“Yoga let’s people discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.” ~ Narendra Modi
Yoga is an ancient practice that involves flexible poses, the strength of mind, immense concentration and deep breathing. It focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to help the Yogi attain physical and mental wellness. It is a practice that is attributed to have originated in India and then spread to the rest of the world, gaining immense popularity for how healthy it is and how easy it is integrated into one's life.
But what really is yoga, aside from the asanas and Sanskrit names? For that, one first needs to know the etymology of the word योग. योग (Yoga) is a Sanskrit noun that is derived from युज् (yuj) which means to unite or to yoke. Yoga was initially meant to be a method using which the Yogi would unite his soul to the universe, thus making them the same. Many people see yoga as a form of exercise, something to better one's physical wellbeing. However, yoga is a way of life, and understanding that the mind and body are two separate entities and how to attain unity of the self with the universe is through yoga. Yoga is a physical exercise and an exercise that involves infinite potentials of the human mind and soul. The science of yoga assimilates the complete essence of the way of life.
Yoga has a long, extensive history in India, its roots going as far back as the Indus valley civilization and possibly even more. This makes it extremely difficult to figure out how yoga originally began. It can be agreed that it originated in Hindustan and that yoga has become part of India's history.
Yoga's beginnings may be traced back over 5,000 years to northern India. The Rig Veda, an old sacred scripture, is where the word yoga first appeared. The Vedas are a collection of four ancient Sanskrit religious writings. The Rig Veda is the oldest of the Vedas, and it contains a compilation of over a thousand hymns and mantras divided into ten chapters called mandalas, all of which were utilized by Vedic age priests. Yoga was refined and developed by Rishis, who documented their practices and beliefs in the Upanishads.
Swami Vivekananda, who toured Europe and the United States in the 1890s, was chiefly responsible for bringing yoga to the notice of Westerners. The Yoga Sutras, credited to Patanjali and written probably about A.D. 400, described what Vivekananda regarded to be the main yoga traditions of his time. Vivekananda did much to call attention to them.
According to the legend, Adiyogi, the first Yogi, imparted yoga to the famed Saptrishis, or "seven sages." He outlined and explained 112 ways in which mortal beings can rise, transcend their limits and realize their full potential. These seven enlightened sages carried Adiyogi's contributions to various ends of the planet. Agastya, the sage carried out this spiritual process in an effective manner in practical life, not just as an ideology but also as a way of life. His teaching and philosophy have crafted the Indian culture around a core Yogic way of life.
One's doesn't really need to dig that deep to know that yoga has and always will be an essential part of India and its culture. India also loves yoga. International yoga day is direct proof of this. The idea to have June 21 wholly dedicated to yoga was the idea of prime minister Narendra Modi. Since 2016, the union ministry of AYUSH organizes the international yoga fest to create awareness among the people about the importance of yoga in one's life.
There are many types of yoga. Hatha (a combination of many styles) is one of the most popular styles. It is a more physical type of yoga compared to a still, meditative form. Hatha yoga generally focuses on pranayamas (breath-controlled exercises).
Physical fitness is essential for one's body and mind. After all, health is wealth. Hence the Indian government introduce yoga studies into the school curriculum. One can even pursue higher studies in the field of yoga.
Yoga has been adopted by schools, hospitals, jails, and police academies in India. The Indian government has supported a project to build a collection of movies demonstrating how to strike more than 1,500 poses in the "proper" way.
Similarly, many such schemes have been implemented throughout the years.
Yoga has a lot of accepted and welcomed benefits. These include improvement in one's strength and balance, calm the mind, ease back pain, makes one more flexible, and so much more.
Yoga can help you reach perfect balance in your mind, body, and soul. It clears your system of any negativity and encourages the growth of a healthy and happy life. It plays a massive part in our history and our culture. Hence, we as Indians can wholeheartedly declare that India is the home of yoga.