If you have recently started taking interest in Yoga, I've put together a few key points for you I thought you might enjoy. :)
What is Yoga?
- Yoga, is the universal knowledge that presents the techniques for a happy, healthy and stress free life. It dates back over 5,000 years and originates from India.
- The word ‘yoga’ stems from the Sanskrit word 'yuj' which means 'to unite'. Yoga is the union of the body, mind and spirit along with the universe.
- Although yoga is understood as a variety of physical exercises in the west, it is actually an inner journey towards one’s self.
- Although they are very essential, yoga poses (asana) are not the purpose of yoga. In the ancient days, yogis and yoginis (yoga practitioner) practiced yoga postures in order to be able to sit easily in meditation for long periods of time.
- The kind of yoga that stood out in the west is called "Hatha Yoga". Hatha Yoga consists of breathing exercises (pranayama), yoga postures (asana) and meditation. Hatha Yoga is actually a branch of Raja yoga, one of the four paths of Yoga. That means Yin Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Power Yoga etc. are all ‘Hatha Yoga’ classes.
- Paths of Yoga
Karma Yoga: Path of selfless service
Gyana Yoga: Path of knowledge
Bhakti Yoga: Path of love and surrender (including the mantra singing and meditative Sanskrit music)
Raja Yoga: Path of mental discipline. Raja Yoga is Sage Patanjali's yoga training that consists of eight limbs. This path of yoga offers methods to maintain mental and emotional control. Sage Patanjali collected the scattered yoga knowledge from the Vedic period and brought it together systematically to our day. ‘Raja’ means royal. This Yoga is also called 'Ashtanga Yoga'. Ashtanga literally means "eight limbs". Patanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga consists of 1-Yama (Social responsibilities), 2-Nyama (personal responsibilities) 3-Asana (yoga postures) 4-Pranayama (breathing exercises) 5- Pratyahara (self observation) 6-Dharana (concentration) 7-Dyana (meditation) 8-Samadhi (ultimate blissful state of yoga) (I will write more on the 8 limbs of Yoga)