The Crux Of Ancient Yoga Philosophy
The Yoke of Yoga
The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ which means joining or union of Atma with Brahman.
In simple terms, yoga is the fundamental element that bridges the gap between the mind and body.
It’s the only form of exercise that takes care of the mental health of an individual.
Yoga as an ancient art was propagated by Patanjali.
Patanjali is the founder of Ashtanga Yoga, which means Eight Limbs’ of yoga. Patanjali has described the following eight limbs:
- Yama: This means self-restraint and discipline. The four yamas are:
Ahimsa- non violence
Asteya- non stealing and
Brahmacharya- celibate when single.
- Niyama: This refers to the rules one has to follow in the society. It consists of
Cauchy- purity of thought.
Swadyaya- gaining knowledge
Ishwarpranidhana- surrendering to God.
- Asana: means a steady psychosomatic pose.
- Pranayama: control over breath.
- Pratyahara: means withdrawal of senses.
- Dhranana: Focusing on a single point. Dharana is the first step to meditation.
- Dhyana Entering the super conscious. Here the meditator is one with the object of meditation.
- Samadhi: The last step is Samadhi, which leads to moksha or liberation, the ultimate aim of Yoga.
SEE ALSO: The 8 Most Important Vedic Gods
Pranayama: The Crux of Yoga
Pranayama literally translates into control over the breath.
Breathing practices reduce stress levels effectively by supplying more oxygen to the brain.
A daily routine of simple breathing techniques can go a long way in maintaining good health. Breathing practices like Anuloma Viloma keeps the lungs in great shape.
Studies have shown that regular practice also increases the lung capacity. Kapalabhati, which means ‘one with a luminous forehead’ helps in reducing gastric problems and ulcers.
Regular practice of kapalabhati has also helped cure diabetes and asthma.
In this day and age, although it might not be possible to practice each and every principle, efforts can be made to incorporate the essence of yoga; that is, the union of mind and body.
The transition from yoga as an ancient form to modern day yoga has been extremely smooth. Traditional yoga as well as modern yoga are equally accepted by people today. Yoga is therefore not an exercise, but essentially a way of life.
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