Yoga is one of the most ancient sciences of living with its origin in India for over 5000 years ago. Derived from a Sanskrit word 'yug' means 'to unite', yoga tells us the art of healthy living. The evidence of yoga can be traced in the vedic period when Aryans wrote 'Upanishads' and 'Puranas' and later sage Patanjali compiled the whole yoga system in his manuscript 'Yog Sutra'. For this, he is also called the 'father of yoga'. Apart from the Hindu texts, the references of yoga can also be found in Buddhism and Jainism. Yoga is a combination of physical, mental, emotional, ethical, spiritual and social aspect of life. Yoga teaches us the art of attaining calmness and tranquility in life.
Practicing yoga includes various poses and postures to attain the ultimate objective of healthy life. Patanjali has described eight stages of yoga discipline in his work Yog Sutra. These are: yamas, niyamas, asans, pranayama, pratyahara, dharna, dhyana and samadhi. Later Swami Sivanand compiled then to five principles of yoga including Asanas (Proper Exercise), Pranayama (Proper breathing), Shavasana (Proper Relaxation), Dhyana (Positive thinking and Meditation) and Proper Diet. Though traditional yoga generally includes asana (postures), pranayama (breath control) and dhayna (meditation) to start with but all are important to attain the fulfillment. The asanas includes different postures and stretching to increase flexibility in body as well as physical strength. Pranayama is the breathing exercise, which makes us feel relaxed and rejuvenated. It also increases the lung capacity of the body. Similarly, dhyana includes several mediation techniques, which connects your body and soul to react the stage of self-realization.
Yoga is a vast therapy of relaxation and rejuvenation which has been mainly categorized into 6 branches called Hatha yoga, Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Tantra Yoga. Almost all the types of toga are covered in these branches. Some of the major types of yoga are kundalini yoga, swara yoga, kriya yoga and mantra yoga. Performing yoga helps you to connect your soul with the paramatma or the universal soul.
The benefits of yoga are countless as it is beneficial for all aspects of life. i.e. physical, mental and spiritual. Yoga helps you to maintain a state of harmony between these three levels. Thus, yoga talks about the overall development of an individual. Doing yoga generates a cosmic energy inside our body, which rejuvenates our body with positive energy and hence, increases the power of self-healing in the body. It increases clarity in the thought.
Moreover, yoga helps in increasing the concentration level of an individual and activates the parasympathetic nervous system, thus resulting in stress reduction and relaxation. Yoga also helps to function all the physical, physiological and psychological systems of the body in an undisturbed and healthy manner. And thus, due to numerous benefits of yoga, the whole world is accepting this Indian system of alternative therapy and hence, the popularity of yoga has crossed all the boundaries.
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