Yoga – An Introduction
The literal Hindu meaning of “Yoga” is addition, union, contribution, etc. Sanskrit has unlimited derivations and connotations of the word. In the current context “Yoga” is an ancient Indian methodology of the unification of one’s own consciousness to the universal consciousness. This process of spiritual liturgy transpires through an extremely intense and rigorous process of dedication and concentration of the physical and mental faculties. It has a meditative and spiritual core whose singular and ultimate aim is emancipation.
As per the mythological scriptures, Lord Shiva himself is said to have propounded “Yoga” which was carried forward down the generation by succession. The great sage Patanjali is considered to be the compiler of aphorisms of yogic practices. “Yoga” has various branches or schools
· Bhakti Yoga – focused on love and devotion to God.
· Karma Yoga – relates to discipline of action outlined in Bhagwat Gita.
· Jnana Yoga – union attained by the dint of pure knowledge.
· Laya Yoga – yoga of awareness.
· Hatha Yoga – involving physical techniques.
Hatha Yoga – Most popular, preferred and practiced
Hatha yoga has six limbs of attaining salvation which are
· Asanas – postures – the most popular and practiced form of yogic exercise.
· Pranayama – controlled breathing.
· Pratyadhara – sense withdrawal.
· Dharana – concentration.
· Dhyana – meditation.
· Samadhi – heightened concentration.
Hatha yoga is a unique technique of opposing energy which has much similarity to the yin – yang concept. Being therapeutic in nature, Hatha yoga attempts to attain physical and mental equilibrium by postures, purification practices, controlled breathing, the calming of mind by relaxation and meditation. Asanas teach poise, balance and strength and are practiced to improve the physical health and clear the mind for the preparation of meditation.
Therapy induced by Asanas and Pranayams
Scriptures narrate of 8.4 million asanas. The Hatha Yoga scriptures provide 84 popular postures, which the modern day teachers have reduced further as per the need, benefit effectiveness and cure. Pranayams or breathing exercises which are 50 in number. Hath yoga utilizes a combination of Asanas and Pranayams to bring about spectacular human wellness factors and cure to many chronic illness. A brief examination can be attempted thus –
Philosophy of the Yoga wellness regime
It is apparent from the above as to how each asana or pranayam of Hath Yoga helps in the mental and physical betterment of humanity. A closer examination will reveal that the tool of wellness has always been around us in the form of animals, trees, birds, mundane objects of daily use, basic mathematics, geometry, etc which forms the very basis of the Yoga postures or asanas. The ancient yogic sages and saints closely studied, experimented and monitored the wellness over the years and factored them into yoga asanas for the refinement in the life quality of human beings.
Conclusion and caution.
Yoga is a common man’s secret to good health and wellness. They are simple, freehand, effective, inexpensive and without any negative after effects. Like any other knowledge yoga is also to be learnt under a trained instructor. It is good to have knowledge, but no knowledge is good without a teacher and so is the science and art of Yoga as well.
Be sure to join us at 7:30pm on the last Sunday of every month for yoga!