WHAT IS YOGA?
Derived from the Sanskrit word yuj, Yoga means union of the individual consciousness or soul with the Universal Consciousness or Spirit. Yoga is a 5000-year-old Indian body of knowledge. Though many think of yoga only as a physical exercise where people twist, turn, stretch, and breathe in the most complex ways, these are actually only the most superficial aspect of this profound science of unfolding theinfinite potentials of the human mind and soul. The science of Yoga imbibes the complete essence of the Way of Life.
“Yoga is not just exercise and asanas. It is the emotional integration and spiritual elevation with a touch of mystic element, which gives you a glimpse of something beyond all imagination.”
History of Yoga
Yoga is more than 10,000 years old. The earliest mention of the contemplative tradition is found in the oldest surviving literature Rig Veda, in Nasadiya Sukta. It dates back to the Indus-Saraswati civilization. The Pashupati seal from the selfsame civilization shows a figure sitting in a yogic posture, further corroborating its prevalence in those ancient times. However, the earliest mention of the practices that later became part of yoga are found in the oldest Upanishad, Brihadaranyaka. The practice of Pranayama finds a mention in one of its hymn and Pratyahara in Chandogya Upanishad. The first appearance of the word “yoga” with the same meaning as we know today, perhaps happens for the first time in Kato Upanishad, a mukhya or important Upanishad, embedded in the last eight sections of the Katha school of Yajurveda. Yoga here is seen as a process of inner journey or ascent of consciousness.
- There are more than 20 Upanishads and Yoga Vasishtha, which predate Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita, where Yoga is stated to be the union of mind with the Supreme Consciousness.
- Yoga is discussed in the ancient foundational Sutra of Hindu philosophy and is perhaps most elaborately mentioned in Patanjali Yogasutra. Patanjali defines yoga in his as:
The Medieval Ages saw the development of Hatha Yoga.
Scriptures of Yoga: Patanjali Yoga Sutras
Patanjali is considered as the father of Yoga and his Yoga Sutra are completely dedicated to the knowledge of Yoga. The descriptions of each sutra offered attempts to focus on the practical suggestions of what can be done to experience the ultimate benefits of a yogic lifestyle.
The term “yoga” has been applied to a variety of practices and methods that includes:
* ‘Gyan Yoga’ or philosophy
* ‘Bhakti Yoga’ or path of devotional bliss
* ‘Karma Yoga’ or path of blissful action
Along with the series of simple, yet effective yoga postures and breathing techniques, a greater emphasis is placed on the inner experience of meditation, for the well-being of the mind and other hidden elements of human existence. We believe when one is in harmony within; the journey through life becomes calmer, happier and more fulfilled.
The wisdom and techniques of yoga are taught in a pure, joyful and thorough manner. The programs restore balance by helping to strengthen our body, calm our mind, regain our focus and improve self- confidence. It is a complete package for beginners as well as regular practitioners and has something for everyone – of all age groups.
Regular practice of Yoga has brought remarkable lifestyle changes in the practitioners. People have experienced relief from chronic illnesses and have observed behavioral changes. Participants have reported a healthy, happier living with reduced anxiety, increased tolerance and mindfulness.
Yoga has never been alien to us. We have been doing it since we were a baby! Whether it is the Cat Stretch that strengthens the spine or the Wind-Relieving pose that boosts digestion, you will always find infants doing some form of yoga throughout the day. Yoga can be many things to many people. We are determined to help you discover your “Yoga Way of Life!”
Pranayama is the extension and control of one’s breath. Practicing proper techniques of breathing can help bring more oxygen to the blood and brain, eventually helping control prana or the vital life energy. Pranayama also goes hand in hand with various yoga poses. The union of these two yogic principles is considered as the highest form of purification and self-discipline, covering both mind and body. Pranayama techniques also prepare us for a deeper experience of meditation.
Meditation is a practice where an individual operates or trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content or as an end in itself.
The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force (qi, ki, prana, etc.) and develop compassionlove, patience, generosity, and forgiveness. A particularly ambitious form of meditation aims at effortlessly sustained single-pointed concentration meant to enable its practitioner to enjoy an indestructible sense of well-being while engaging in any life activity
The word meditation carries different meanings in different contexts. Meditation has been practiced since antiquity as a component of numerous religious traditions and beliefs] Meditation often involves an internal effort to self-regulate the mind in some way. Meditation is often used to clear the mind and ease many health concerns, such as high blood pressure depression, and anxiety. It may be done sitting, or in an active way—for instance, Buddhist monks involve awareness in their day-to-day activities as a form of mind-training. Prayer beads or other ritual objects are commonly used during meditation in order to keep track of or remind the practitioner about some aspect of that training.
Meditation may involve generating an emotional state for the purpose of analyzing that state—such as anger, hatred, etc.—or cultivating a particular mental response to various phenomena, such as compassionThe term “meditation” can refer to the state itself, as well as to practices or techniques employed to cultivate the state.[ Meditation may also involve repeating a mantra and closing the eyes] The mantra is chosen based on its suitability to the individual meditator. Meditation has a calming effect and directs awareness inward until pure awareness is achieved, described as “being awake inside without being aware of anything except awareness itself In brief, there are dozens of specific styles of meditation practice, and many different types of activity commonly referred to as meditative practices
Why learn to meditate?
Meditation can also help us to understand our own mind. We can learn how to transform our mind from negative to positive, from disturbed to peaceful, from unhappy to happy. Overcoming negative minds and cultivating constructive thoughts is the purpose of the transforming meditations found in the Buddhist tradition. This is a profound spiritual practice you can enjoy throughout the day, not just while seated in meditation.
On this website you can learn the basics of Buddhist meditation. A few books are mentioned that will help you to deepen your understanding if you wish to explore further. Anyone can benefit from the meditations given here, Buddhist or not. We hope that you find this website useful and that you learn to enjoy the inner peace that comes from meditation.
* How to Meditate
* Why learn to meditate
* Meditation posture
* Breathing meditations
* The stages of the Buddhist path
* Loving kindness meditation
* Transforming meditations
* Books on Buddhism & meditation
* Meditation Videos
* Find Meditation Classes Near You