What is Yoga?
What is Yoga? Is it only all about some poses or breathing exercises? Certainly not. Yoga is far beyond both of these things. The word Yoga is originated from root Yuj in Sanskrit literally meaning ‘to connect’. Here not only the connection in between body, mind and soul is expected but the connection of ones conscious to the almighty is also interpreted in this word.
The WHO says; ‘Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely absence of disease or infirmity’. Yoga not only fulfills this definition but also adds up an important aspect to it; Spirituality. Taking this into consideration one may say that Yoga is complete balanced lifestyle which leads to health of an individual and eventually entire society.
Acharya Patanjali defines Yoga as ‘citta vritti nirodhah’. Stabilizing the mind is an integral part of Yoga. Bhagvadgeeta defines Yoga as ‘Samatvam yogam ucyate’ underlining the importance of Yoga in establishing harmony and promoting holistic way of life. It is also said by Bhagvadgeeta, ‘yogah karmasu kaushalam’ it signifies the role of Yoga in day to day work. It is expected that the follower of Yoga should be skilled as whatever he/she does. Ofcourse Yoga itself refines the person and helps it reaching that level of skills in his/her daily functions. As one thinks deeper he realizes that Yoga is a continuous process which stabilizes all important aspects of human life viz. physical, mental, social and spiritual.
Sushruta Samhita quotes a chapter called ‘Anagatabadha Pratishedh’. Anagata badha are diseases that may take place in future due to our wrong dietetic habits and overall lifestyle. This chapter describes in details about Dinacarya. Patanjal yogasutra quotes ‘Heyam duhkham anagatam’ which explains role of Yoga in preventing these ‘yet to come’ diseases. This is a beautiful example where we find how all ancient Indian sciences were blended with each other. But this is not all; Yoga has far bigger aim than to keep an individual healthy.
The ultimate aim of Yoga is Moksha or complete salvation.
Yoga has eight branches hence termed as Ashtanga Yoga. But these are not actually branches of this science but steps towards Moksha. Bahiranga Yogas like Yama, Niyama, Asana and Pranayama pay more attention to the physical level, whereas Antaranga yogas like Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are closely adherent to mental and spiritual uplift. Darshanas have great importance in Indian philosophy. All of them do macro and micro study of human life and lead it to betterment. Yoga is considered to be one of the Shaddarshanas because of its immense contribution towards human life. Yoga is not only physical experience but transcendental one. It cannot be limited to only postures but it should be an integral and part of our life. Just like we breathe; we should practice Yoga every day….every second of our life should be ‘yogic’ in order to live in complete harmony.
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