WHAT IS YOGA | YOGA HISTORY | BENEFITS OF YOGA | TYPES OF YOGA | YOGA FOR BEGINNERS :
WHAT IS YOGA?
In the modern world, the South Asian art of yoga has expanded to all corners of the globe. Yoga is not only an idea but a union, a philosophy or as a concept that you imbibe. It actually causes damage to the individual if you intellectually see everything is one. Through yoga, you can fuse all that who you are with all that is the universe. For the people blessed with human physiology and mind, Lord Shiva demonstrated that this technique is appropriate for everyone.
He demonstrated that one can benefit from yoga even in intensely worldly situations like the battlefield of Mahabharata.
Many great statesmen through history, including the founders of modern India – Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Rajaji took inspiration from the Gita. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought support from the Gita for critical policy decisions.
Swami Vivekananda had re-introduced yoga to the rest of the world in 1893, would rewrite Sage Patanjali’s work in English prose, titled Raja-yoga. Swami Vivekananda has inspired millions of Indians.
The first is strengthening and optimizing the body for its vital functions. The limbs and muscles must be toned and relaxed, blood and vital fluids should circulate vigorously, and toxins and waste need to be expelled effectively. He makes sure that even the elderly and disabled should benefit from yoga.
While Hollywood stars are indebted to him, there are today more than 2,000 yoga schools around the world that he founded and nurtured. He himself demonstrates nearly all the yoga-asanas to the public with perfection and YouTube also carries many of his live demonstrations.
A relaxed body helps with a relaxed, contemplative mind and helps in sitting erect cross-legged on the floor needed for several states of yoga.
Prana is the primordial life force, a subtle substance, that permeates the entire universe.
Charging up the body with prana has demonstrated that the mind can be further calmed, and blood pressure stabilized and lowered to even sportsman-like levels with regular practice. Sri Shyama Charan Lahiri Mahasaya himself taught advanced yoga techniques of prana-Ayama from the Shree Bhagavat Gita to about 5,000 disciples in 19th century Kasi. His grand-disciple, Paramahansa Yogananda, carried these techniques to America in 1920 and spread them worldwide from there. Paramahamsa Yogananda’s book, Autobiography of a Yogi is a modern classic.
Dhyana is the fourth state of yogic practice, sometimes mispronounced as Chan in Chinese language and Zen in Japanese language. Dhyana is also known as meditation and is more easily possible after prana-ayama. In this state, on its own, the breath calms down progressively to minimal levels. When the breath calms down, the mind automatically calms down. The goal of Dhyana is to naturally remove all thoughts from the mind – it is a waste thinking about the past or the future or the present. It can also be so within you, in your mind, and if you can achieve that, it is powerful. From stillness, you can also direct the mind to solve specific problems quickly and intuitively. In the year 1892 , Swami Vivekananda sat in meditation for three days on the island rock off Kanyakumari to discover the purpose of his life. The next ten years are history.
The fifth state of yogic practice is Samadhi. Loosely, it is the primordial, undifferentiated state of sameness prior to the Big Bang. All is one, one is all in Samadhi. According to one estimate, there are about 500 people living on this planet today who have achieved sustained states of Samadhi. Samadhi requires regular and sustained yoga practice.
The soul of India is yoga. And, of those who do, fewer practice it the way it should be. Yoga is something you can do wherever you are, whenever you want, and for however long you can. On this year’s International Day of Yoga on the summer solstice, June 21, may many, many more go back to their essential yogic nature and heritage.
“Y” represents that the word “yoga” had come from the Sanskrit word “yoga,” which means “to unite or to yoke.” The goal of yoga is to distance oneself from the material world and to unite oneself with the God of Hinduism, commonly understood to be Brahman, the impersonal cosmic consciousness of the universe.
“O” here represents the Hindu mantra “Om”— Om is a known to be the sacred sound of the universe. Shockingly, what was once relegated to the kingdom of the cults is now being replicated in churches. In the ashrams of the cults, there is no pretence.
“G” reminds us of the gurus i.e. the yogis who had developed and disseminated yoga for the purpose of achieving oneness with the impersonal God of Hinduism.
Finally, the letter “A” in the word Y-O-G-A represents the Hindu word asana. Swami Param of the Dharma Yoga Ashram in New Jersey pointed to think of asanas as mere body positions or stretching exercises.
Yoga is a combination of mind, spirit and body. The word yoga has its first mention in the Rig Veda, the oldest of the blessed texts. The Yoga history can be divided into four major periods which are the pre-classical period, classical period, post-classical period and modern period. Yoga Sutras tells us about the history of yoga. Contrary to what some people may consider, yoga was not urban as the latest way to slim down so they could fit into a smaller pants size. The history of yoga in Rishikesh goes back 5,000 years. It originated in India, and the first time the word yoga was establish in written form was in the Rig Veda, one of the blessed texts used by Vedic priests.
Over the next five millennia, yogis had passed their knowledge of yoga to their students, and hence many different schools of yoga developed as the practice of yoga expanded its global reach and popularity.
Yoga is well known for its poses and postures, but they were not an important part of original yoga traditions in India. Fitness was not a primary goal.
The tradition began to gain popularity in the West at the end of the 19th century.
These 4 periods define the history of yoga:
Vedic Period, Pre-Classical Period, Classical Period, Post Classical Period and the Modern Period.
- The Vedic Period:- The next reference to yoga is established in the Rig Veda, the oldest holy text in the world. The Vedas, dating back to 1500 and 1200 BC, are a collection of hymns, mantras and Brahmanical rituals that praised a larger being.
- Pre-Classical Period:- The word Upanishad means to sit near and implies that the only way a student could study the truths inscribed in the texts was by sitting close to a guru. This remains a significant division of yoga’s philosophy today. As with the Vedas, the Upanishads contained nothing of what we would term as yoga asana practice today.
- Classical Period:– Written sometime in the second century, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras created a milestone in the history of yoga, defining what is now known as the traditional Period. This set of 195 sutras (aphorisms) is considered to be the first regular appearance of yoga, and Patanjali is respected as the father of yoga. Strict adherence to which would lead one to explain. The sutras still serve as a principle for living in the world, although modern yoga no longer sees the need to master the eight limbs in succession.
- Post-Classical Period:– It was in this period that the faith of the body as a temple was rekindled and yogis considered a perform to invigorate the body and to extend life. It was no longer needed to flight from reality; instead, the focus was more living in the moment and on the correct path. The examination of the religious and the physical halves and the need to harmonize the mind, body, and spirit led to the creation of Tantra yoga, to cleanse the body and mind, and to Hatha yoga in the ninth or tenth century.
- Modern Period:- Swami Sivananda wrote numerous books on yoga and philosophy and introduced the five principles of yoga. J.Krishnamurti, the prolific Indian philosopher, unfair thousands with his writings and teachings on Jnana yoga. The defining epicentre of modern-day yoga, as experienced in the west, began with Krishnamacharya, Mysore in India in 1931.
BENEFITS OF YOGA:-
- Can Decrease Stress:- In fact, multiple studies have shown that it can decrease the secretion of cortisol, the primary stress hormone. They also had lower levels of stress, anxiety, fatigue, and depression. It also helped improve the quality of life and mental health.
- Relieves Anxiety:-
Many people begin practicing yoga as a way to cope with feelings of anxiety. At the end of the study, those who practiced yoga had significantly lower levels of anxiety than the control group. Another study followed 64 women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is characterized by severe anxiety and fear following exposure to a traumatic event. After 10 weeks, the women who practiced yoga once weekly had fewer symptoms of PTSD. In fact, 52% of participants no longer met the criteria for PTSD at all.
- May Reduce Inflammation:–
Inflammation is a normal immune response, but chronic inflammation can contribute to the development of pro-inflammatory diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Both groups then performed moderate and strenuous exercises to induce stress.
At the end of the study, it was concluded that the individuals who practiced yoga had lower levels of the inflammatory markers than those who didn’t practiced yoga. Similarly, in 2014 a small study showed that twelve weeks of yoga had reduced inflammatory markers in breast cancer survivors with persistent fatigue. Although more research is needed to confirm the beneficial effects of yoga on inflammation, these findings indicate that it may help protect against certain diseases caused by chronic inflammation.
- Could Improve Heart Health:-
One study found that participants over 40 years of age who practiced yoga for five years had lower blood pressure and pulse rate than those who didn’t. High blood pressure is one of the major causes of heart problems, such as heart attacks and stroke. Lowering your blood pressure can help reduce the risk of these problems. Some research also suggests that incorporating yoga into a healthy lifestyle could help slow the progression of heart disease. Participants saw a 23% decrease in total cholesterol and a 26% reduction in “bad” LDL cholesterol. Additionally, the progression of heart disease stopped in 47% of patients.
- Improves Quality of Life:- Practicing yoga significantly improved quality of life, as well as mood and fatigue, compared to the other groups. Yoga decreased symptoms of chemotherapy, such as nausea and vomiting, while also improving the overall quality of life. At the end of the study, the women had less pain and fatigue with improvements in levels of invigoration, acceptance, and relaxation.
TYPES OF YOGA:
1. Yin Yoga:- The Yin technique of yoga was developed to penetrate deep into the connective tissues to expand flexibility and hence the poses are held for a long period of time (typically 3-5 minutes or longer) to target the connective tissues rather than focusing only on muscles. Hence, the asanas are more passive holds, with some muscular engagement.
Read More: What is Yin Yoga?
2. KUNDALINI YOGA:- Kundalini Yoga is a blend of Bhakti Yoga (the yogic practice of devotion and chanting), Raja Yoga (the practice of mediation/mental and physical control) and Shakti Yoga, (for the expression of power and energy).
The main motive of this technique of yoga is to awaken the energy of consciousness, to practice in a way that throws light on our self-imposed limitations, and motivates us to develop our intuitive mind by thinking out of the box.
The kriyas are a specific set of activity that generate strength or intensity, organize that energy and deliver you to a specific energetic state — particularly one of greater awareness.
Read More: What is KUNDALINI YOGA?
3. ASHTANGA YOGA:- Ashtanga Yoga is one of the most popular styles of yoga. This type of yoga involves doing specific sequences of Ashtanga Yoga poses, which are done in a continuous, flowing, fast-paced manner. , Ashtangis ( Ashtanga Yoga practitioners ), moves from one pose to another, timed with every inhale and exhale. Ashtanga Yoga is a vinyasa-style class. There are total five series of Ashtanga asanas and every student had to first master all poses of the first series before moving onto the poses of second series. Ashtanga Yoga came to the western countries through students of Sri Pattabi Jois( He passed away in 2009 after establishing his yoga centre in Mysore, India). Beginners beware! This is a tough class. You have to first learn other yoga asanas in order to learn the basic poses before jumping into an Ashtanga practice.
Read More: What is ASHTANGA YOGA?
4. BIKRAM YOGA:- Bikram yoga, founded in the 1970s by Bikram Choudhury in the Hatha tradition, is generally considered the original hot yoga. The rooms are set at 40 % humidity and in between 95 -105 degrees Fahrenheit. He opened a yoga studio in San Francisco in the ‘1970s, made his name famous with the exercise, and gathered followers from Lady Gaga to George Clooney. Choudhury has been embroiled in scandal since allegedly raping a student, and then in turn allegedly harassing his former attorney for trying to look into it (the attorney was awarded $7 million; Bikram has since decamped to Acapulco, Mexico—where he still teaches, according to HuffPost). This turn, for yoga to become an exclusive activity, goes hand in hand with the cultural appropriation of the 2,500-year-old spiritual practice, as a yoga teacher and researcher Rina Deshpande explains in Self.
Read More: What is BIKRAM YOGA?
5. VINYASA YOGA:- Vinyasa yoga differs from ‘traditional’ yoga where you are holding static poses. Vinyasa yoga places emphasis on controlling your breathing. Your focus is to synchronize your movements with your breathing. Transitions from one pose to another are performed during a single inhale or exhale. This style of yoga is great for increasing your balance and proprioception as well as core strength and muscle endurance. Vinyasa can also be combined with other styles of yoga such as Bikram or hot yoga.
Another big difference between traditional yoga and a vinyasa style is the stretching that is performed. Since traditional yoga focuses on holding static poses for longer periods of time, the stretching performed here is considered active stretching. During vinyasa yoga you are holding poses for a much shorter period of time, meaning this style of yoga uses a combination of active and dynamic stretching methods.
Read More: What is VINYASA YOGA?
6. HATHA YOGA:- The term HATHA YOGA is derived from the Sanskrit ha, meaning “sun,” and that, meaning “moon.” The practice aims to unite the active and receptive qualities represented by each celestial being. However, this is believed because Patanjali refers to the word “asana”, which contrary to the popular belief that this refers to yoga postures, the word actually means “to be seated in a rigid, amusing, and calm position”, which is ideal for meditation, not postures.
Read More: What is HATHA YOGA?
7. PRANAYAMA:- The word Pranayama is derived from the Sanskrit, prana, meaning “life force,” and ayama, meaning “extension.”Pranayama is an integral part of yoga. The inhaling enables both the rhythm of performing yoga poses and relaxing the mind for meditation. Pranayama is the fourth of the eight limbs of yoga, according to the ancient sage Patanjali. In the second book of The Yoga Sutras, we find the description of pranayama as “regulation of breath or the stoppage of inhalation and exhalation, which follows after securing steadiness of the posture or seat, asana.”
Read More: What is PRANAYAMA?
8. KARMA YOGA:- Karma means “activity”. Activity always comes with the consequence of the process. The law of karma is the law of action and reaction, illustrated by the well-known saying “what we reap is what we sow”. Understand how this law applies in life, helps us to spiritualize our life and progress.
Read More: What is Karma Yoga?
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