Yoga In India
Developed over 5000 years ago in a bid to develop a philosophy to help people achieve a balanced state of body, mind as well as spirit, yoga in India gained popularity all over the world with yoga practices leading one’s body to its fullest potential.
The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yog’ which in turn, means ‘to join’ or ‘to unite’. Hence yoga is a union with God to live a contended, peaceful and balanced life. Passed down several generations by yogis, rishis and seers, it acts as a way to offer liberation and expansion of human consciousness.
Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual discipline that involves a combination of processes to attain a holistic sense of well-being. The central aim remains to achieve a heightened sense of peace and wholesome happiness about oneself and things around.
Yoga Sutra, penned down by Patanjali in second Century, is considered the ultimate standard of reference for Classical Yoga. According to him, there are eight chief aspects to Classical Yoga which are:
- Yama- meaning social restraints or ethical values
- Niyama- personal observance of purity, tolerance and study
- Asanas- physical exercise
- Pranayama- breath control
- Pratyahara- sense withdrawal for meditation
- Dharana- regulates concentration
- Samadhi- Transconsciousness/Ecstacy
As per Patanjali Yoga Sutra, a Sanskrit shloka does acute justice to explaining what yoga is all about. The shloka ‘YogahChittaVrittinirodha’ translates to ‘Yoga is a divine way to withdraw from the attachments and to control the mind’. The traditional Hindu legend, Bhagwat Geeta defines yoga as ‘the right path of action which is based on the truth and well-being’.
Soon, the art of yoga became hugely popular with the west as many Hindu philosophers, including Swami Vivekananda introduced the concept during their tours in late 19th century. Since then, a number of studies have been conducted worldwide trying to explore long-term benefits of yoga, some even stating that regular practice of yoga could lead to prevention for schizophrenia, cancer, asthma and heart related diseases.
With its eternal benefits and ever increasing popularity, yoga continues to extend its impact and influence across the boundaries of different cultures and languages.