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What is yoga ?

Yoga is a practical method that highly requires combination of mind and body at the same time. Based on the principle of controlling the breath and keeping the body in the same posture, thereby mastering and controlling the body's flexibility, improving wisdom, health and finding the value of happiness.
The magic of Yoga is through the practice of the body to give up an unhealthy lifestyle, and to improve themselves. With thousands of Yoga benefits , it is considered the oldest and most trusted form of sports in the world.

Other definitions of Yoga

1. "Yoga is the inhibition (nirodhaḥ) of the modifications (vṛtti) of the mind (citta)"
2. "Yoga is restraining the mind-stuff (Citta) from taking various forms (Vrittis)."
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Know more about Yoga

Yoga (Sanskrit) is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. Yoga is one of the six Āstika (orthodox) schools of Indian philosophical traditions.
The term "Yoga" in the Western world often denotes a modern form of hatha yoga and yoga exercises, consisting largely of the postures or asanas.

Yoga in Indian Traditons

Yoga in Indian traditions, however, is more than physical exercise; Yoga has a meditative and spiritual core. One of the six major orthodox schools of Indian philosophy is also called Yoga, which has its own epistemology, ontology and metaphysics

Yoga in the west

Following the success of Swami Vivekananda, Yoga gurus from India later introduced Yoga to the West in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Outside India, Yoga has developed into a posture-based physical fitness, stress-relief and relaxation technique.
The term "Yoga" in the Western world often denotes a modern form of hatha yoga and yoga as exercise, consisting largely of the postures or asanas.

YOGA HISTORY

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     The earliest evidence of Yogis and Yoga tradition is found in the Keśin hymn 10.136 of the Rigveda, states Karel Werner.
The first use of the root of the word "yoga" is in hymn 5.81.1 of the Rig Veda, a dedication to the rising Sun-god in the morning (Savitri), where it has been interpreted as "yoke" or "yogically control".
The Yogis of Vedic times left little evidence of their existence, practices and achievements. And such evidence as has survived in the Vedas is scanty and indirect. Nevertheless, the existence of accomplished Yogis in Vedic times cannot be doubted.
     Systematic Yoga concepts begin to emerge in the texts of c. 500–200 BCE such as the Early Buddhist texts, the middle Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata
Karel Werner: "The Buddha was the founder of his (Yoga) system, even though, admittedly, he made use of some of the experiences he had previously gained under various Yoga teachers of his time."
     Most of the other contemporary yoga systems alluded in the Upanishads and some Buddhist texts are lost to time.
     The first known appearance of the word "yoga", with the same meaning as the modern term, is in the Katha Upanishad, probably composed between the fifth and third century BCE, where it is defined as the steady control of the senses, which along with cessation of mental activity, leading to a supreme state.   
The earliest extant systematic account of yoga and a bridge from the earlier Vedic uses of the term is found in the Hindu Katha Upanisad (Ku), a scripture dating from about the third century BCE describes the hierarchy of mind-body constituents—the senses, mind, intellect, etc.—that comprise the foundational categories of Sāmkhya philosophy, whose metaphysical system grounds the yoga of the Yogasutras, Bhagavad Gita, and other texts and schools 
The Mahabharata Secret
The Bhagavad Gita (Song of the Lord) is part of the Mahabharata and also contains extensive teachings on Yoga. In addition to an entire chapter dedicated to traditional yoga practice, including meditation, it introduces three prominent types of yoga:
  • Karma yoga: The yoga of action.
  • Bhakti yoga: The yoga of devotion.
  • Jnana yoga: The yoga of knowledge.

Karma Yoga

Karma yoga, also called Karma marga, is one of the three spiritual paths in Hinduism, one based on the "yoga of action". It is one of the paths in the spiritual practices of Hindus, others being Jnana yoga (path of knowledge) and Bhakti yoga (path of loving devotion to a personal god).
Karma Yoga, states the Bhagavad Gita, purifies the mind. It leads one to consider dharma of work, and the work according to one's dharma, doing god's work and in that sense becoming and being "like unto god Krishna" in every moment of one's life.

Bhakti yoga

Bhakti yoga, also called Bhakti marga (literally the path of Bhakti), is a spiritual path or spiritual practice within Hinduism focused on loving devotion towards any personal deity. It is one of several paths in Hinduism which lead to Moksha, the other paths being Jnana yoga, Karma yoga, and Kriya yoga.
The personal god varies with the devotee. It may include a god or goddess such as Ganesha, Krishna, Radha, Rama, Sita, Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Parvati, Durga, and Surya among others.

Gyaan yoga

Gyaan yoga, also known as Gyaan Marg emphasizes the "path of knowledge", also known as the "path of self-realization". It is one of the three classical paths (margas) for moksha (salvation, liberation).
The Gyaan yoga is a spiritual practice that pursues knowledge with questions such as "who am I, what am I" among others. The practitioner studies usually with the aid of a counsellor (guru), meditates, reflects, and reaches liberating insights on the nature of his own Self (Atman, soul) and its relationship to the metaphysical concept called Brahman in Hinduism.

YOGA GOALS

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According to Jacobsen

Yoga has five principal traditional meanings:
  • A disciplined method for attaining a goal.
  • Techniques of controlling the body and the mind.
  • A name of a school or system of philosophy (darśana).
  • With prefixes such as "hatha-, mantra-, and laya-, traditions specialising in particular techniques of yoga.
  • The goal of Yoga practice.
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According to David Gordon White

Yoga has five principal traditional meanings:
  •  A meditative means of discovering dysfunctional perception and cognition, as well as overcoming it to release any suffering, find inner peace and salvation.
  • The raising and expansion of consciousness from oneself to being coextensive with everyone and everything.
  • A path to omniscience and enlightened consciousness enabling one to comprehend the impermanent (illusive, delusive) and permanent (true, transcendent) reality. 
  • A technique for entering into other bodies, generating multiple bodies, and the attainment of other supernatural accomplishments. These are, states White, described in Tantric literature of Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as the Buddhist Sāmaññaphalasutta.

PRACTICE YOGA

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Yoga has developed into a worldwide multi-billion dollar business, involving classes, certification of teachers, clothing, books, videos, equipment, and holidays. The ancient cross-legged sitting asanas like lotus pose (Padmasana) and Siddhasana are widely recognised symbols of yoga.
The United Nations General Assembly established 21 June as "International Day of Yoga", celebrated annually in India and around the world from 2015. On December 1, 2016, yoga was listed by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage.

Yoga as excercises


Yoga as exercise is a physical activity consisting largely of asanas, often connected by flowing sequences called vinyasas, sometimes accompanied by the breathing exercises of pranayama, and usually ending with a period of relaxation or meditation. It is often known simply as yoga.

Yoga as exercise was created in what has been called the Modern Yoga Renaissance by the blending of Western styles of gymnastics with postures from Haṭha yoga in India in the 20th century, pioneered by Shri Yogendra and Swami Kuvalayananda.
Before 1900 there were few standing poses in Haṭha yoga. The flowing sequences of salute to the Sun, Surya Namaskar, were pioneered by the Rajah of Aundh, Bhawanrao Shrinivasrao Pant Pratinidhi, in the 1920s. Many standing poses used in gymnastics were incorporated into yoga by Krishnamacharya in Mysore from the 1930s to the 1950s.

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