The term Yoga has its verbal roots as (Yuj) in Sanskrit. Yuj means joining. Yoga is that which joins. In the traditional terminology it is joining of the individual self with the universal self. It is an expansion of the narrow constricted egoistic personality to an all pervasive, eternal and blissful state of REALITY. Yoga is to unite.
Yoga is a conscious process of gaining mastery over the mind. Control involves two aspects –
- A power to concentrate on any desired subject or object
- A capacity to remain quiet any time.
Yoga is a skillful trick to calm down the mind and not to use brutal force to stop it. Yoga is a skillful science of gaining mastery over the mind. Skill in action is Yoga. Equanimity of mind is Yoga.
True Of Happiness
Happiness is the silence of the mind. The mind is into the state of silence. That is happiness. The structure of bliss is silence, pure consciousness. Happiness not limited to only head. Each and every cell is transformed. There is a law of increasing returns.
There are numerous methods of yoga catering to the needs of different persons in society to bring about the transformation of the individual. They are broadly classified into four streams. Swami Vivekananda, who was a great social reformer and a very inspiring personality of India, puts them as work and worship, philosophy and psychic control. Let us briefly understand what they are.
1) Karma Yoga – involves doing action with an attitude of detachment to fruits of action.
2) Bhakti Yoga – The control of emotions is the key in the path of worship.
3) Jnana Yoga – The path of philosophy is apt for the keen intellectuals and is centered around the analysis of “happiness”.
4) Raja Yoga – The Yoga of mind culture or psychic control gives a practical and easy approach to reach higher states of consciousness. It is based on the Astanga Yoga of Patanjali’s yoga system.
Raja yoga emphasizes training the mind through meditation and is generally preceded by Hatha yoga, which aids mental preparation. The practice of Raja yoga typically starts with Hatha yoga in order to prepare the body and mind for meditation.
The Eight Limbs Of Yoga
Patanjali defines yoga as having eight components, also known as “Eight Limbs”. The eight limbs of yoga are yama (abstinence), niyama (observances), asana (yoga postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption).
The eight-limbed Yoga, popularly known as “Astanga Yoga”, is one of the major contributions of Patanjali’s Yoga which gives a comprehensive and systematic approach for developing the mind.
Patanjali’s eight-fold path offers guidelines for a meaningful and purposeful life. Delve into this prescription for moral and ethical conduct and self-discipline. Let us briefly understand what are the eight limbs.
1) Yama – 5 set of “DONTS” (non-violence, non-lying, non-stealing, non-possessive and celibacy)
2) Niyama – 5 set of “DOS” (cleanliness, contentment, penance, self-analysis and surrender to reality)
4) Pranayama – Mastery through breath
5) Pratyahara – Mastery through senses
6) Dharana – Focusing of mind
7) Dhyana – Defocusing of mind
8) Samadhi – Super consciousness
The first five limbs come under a general heading “Bahiranga Yoga”. It is used for indirect control of mind. The last three limbs are referred to as “Antaranga Yoga”. It is used for direct control of the mind.
Thus, the four streams of Yoga help man to develop the personality at four different levels – physical, mental, intellectual and emotional and simultaneously bring about spiritual progress.
The word asana literally means a posture. Asana is the third limbed Yoga. It uses the body to gain health and master the mind. It is the practice of postures for health, to stretch and relax all groups of muscles.
Nowadays we talk about yoga classes are actually Yogasanas which is part of the Yoga only, the third limbed Yoga. Yoga is not an exercise neither it is a religious which a lot of people have the wrong definition.
Yogasanas are classified into four types and they are standing, sitting, prone and supine. And there are three categories : relaxation, meditative and cultural. There are three stages of Yogasanas. First stage is Sthira for the stable of mind through effort. Second stage is Cira for the steady of mind through relaxation. And the third stage is Sukha for the blissfulness of mind through tune into infinity.
There are four components of a Yogasana session. First is the breathing exercise which helps to prepare for a smooth breathing. Secondly, loosening exercise helps to stimulate the body to prepare for the postures. Thirdly is Sun Salutation (Suryanamaskar) which is the combination of breathing and posture together. And lastly is Asana which are the yoga postures.
The objectives of Yogasanas are for physical personality development, mastery over the mind, move towards selflessness and promotion of the health and bliss.
What Is The Purpose Of Yoga
By now, you should have a better understanding what is Yoga. You can say that Yoga actually is a lifestyle. Yoga as a lifestyle means far more than performing difficult yoga poses or practicing breathing techniques.
Rather, yoga is rich, encompassing philosophy about all aspects of how we live life. The ancient of the Eight Limbs of Yoga, which describe eight aspects of a yoga lifestyle.
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I would also like to share an interesting video by Sadhguru who has explained the true purpose of yoga. Enjoy!
Hope the above information does help to bring you some realization and knowledge about Yoga. If you have any thought or experience you would like to share, you are welcome to leave them in my comment box provide below. I am more than happy to hear from you or answer any of your questions if you have.
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