Yoga is one of the six classical systems of Hindu philosophy (“Yoga”).Yoga is a school of thought in the Hindu religion, and a system of mental and physical exercise developed by this school. All forms of yoga originated in India. People who follow this school, and practice any form of yoga are called yogis, or yogins. Students study under prolonged and careful guidance of the teacher, known as the guru.
The first syllable “gu,” in Sanskrit means light; the second syllable, “ru” means light. A guru is a spiritual teacher who leads the pupil from darkness to light. Literally, yoga means “the union of mind and body.” In Sanskrit, the language of India, yoga means discipline. Many people in western countries practice some form of yoga exercise in hope of improving their health, and achieving peace of mind.
Various forms of yoga have become popular in Europe and the United States. Transcendental Meditation is a simplified version of the yoga of Hinduism. Bhakti-Yoga involves the dedication of all actions and thoughts to a chosen God. Hatha-Yoga, stresses difficult bodily postures and breathing techniques. It has become very popular as a method of gaining and improving health. Certain people also study this form of yoga because of the control they develop over certain bodily functions. A new concept in fitness combines gentle stretching with techniques from Hatha Yoga to perform the most effective, relaxing ways of exercising. There are other forms of yoga that are practiced in India.
There is Prana Yoga, Brahma Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Raja Yoga, and Tantra Yoga. Yoga is used for many purposes. From cleansing the body, to activating the nervous system, to improving one’s intelligence or sex life. Stretching in yoga is quite relaxing. There are perscribed positions known as asanas. In our society, Hatha Yoga seems to be the most commonly practiced. Yoga is basically a way of life which enables one to conserve energy and coordinate the power of body, mind, consciousness, which keeps the body healthy and the mind relaxed. Yoga is one of the world’s oldest branches of spiritual inquiry, and one of the longest standing, most intense experiments of the human spirit, .
Yoga teaches guidelines and values to follow, and practices for purification for the body, mind and spirit. It is the exercise of discipline and the practice of purification. The spiritual tradition of yoga training has been passed down from generation to generation. In the last one hundred years, yoga has become available to the public as never before, presented through hundreds of centers throughout the world, through classes, workshops, videos, books, audio tapes and even television programs.
* Information on the traditional uses and properties of herbs/ yoga are provided on this site is for educational use only, and is not intended as medical advice. all image credit goes to their Photographers.