What is Yoga?
What is Yoga; is it a physical exercise or mental exercise, is it a philosophy, is it an ideology, is it related to a particular religion or is it something else that we don’t know?
Yoga is a Sanskrit word which means ‘Union’. There is some evidence that shows that Yoga was developed in ancient India. It was originated in Indus Valley Civilization (3300-1900 BCE) and pre-Vedic Eastern states of India, the Vedic period (1500–500 BCE) and thereafter till Patanjali’s period. The first use of the root of the word “Yoga” is mentioned in hymn 5.81.1 of the Rigveda (ऋग्वेद). Other than Rigveda, Yoga related information and literature are available in all Vedas (4), Upanishads (108 उपनिषदों), Smritis, teachings of Buddhism, Jainism, Panini, Epics (2 महाकाव्य), Purans (18 पुराण), etc. In the yogic lore, Lord Shiva is seen as the first Yogi or Adiyogi, and the first Guru or Adi Guru.
Yogacharyas Ramana Maharshi, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Paramhansa Yogananda, Swami Vivekananda, and many other people have contributed for the development of Yoga between 1700 – 1900 A.D. and now in modern India, Baba Ramdev is a brand ambassador of Yoga who is visiting around the world to spread the awareness about Yoga.
Yoga is an old discipline from India; spiritual and physical both. Yoga uses breathing techniques, exercise, and meditation. It helps to improve health and happiness. The fundamental purpose of yoga is to foster harmony in the body, mind, and environment. In Indian traditions, Yoga is not just a physical exercise; it is a meditative and spiritual exercise also. Outside India, it has developed into a posture-based physical fitness, stress-relief, and relaxation technique.
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev said, “Yoga is not just an exercise. It is a process and system through which human beings can find their highest possible potential.”
Yoga is essentially a spiritual discipline based on an extremely subtle science, which focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body. Yoga is also commonly understood as a therapy or exercise system for health and fitness.
Now the world knows the importance and benefits of Yoga. In the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on the 11th of December, 2014, they decided to celebrate the 21st of June as International Yoga Day annually. First International Yoga Day celebrated on the 21st of June 2015 around the world.
Importance of Yoga:
Bhagavad-Gita says, “A person is said to have achieved yoga, the union with the Self, when the perfectly disciplined mind gets freedom from all desires, and becomes absorbed in the Self alone.” Bhagavad-Gita also says that “Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self and to the self.”
Yoga is not only a physical exercise that improves and develops only your body and muscles. It is a journey where you can meet with yourself.
Yoga is not a religion and not related to religion. Yoga doesn’t know your religion, your caste or your society. It is a disciplined practice of you, for you to your overall development. It is a way of living that aims towards a healthy mind in a healthy body.
Man is a physical, mental and spiritual being; yoga helps in developing the balance between all the three. Any other form of exercise is only concern about your physical fitness; it has no concern about your spiritual improvement. Yoga is not just about bending or twisting the body and holding the breath. It is a technique to bring you into a state where you see and experience reality simply the way it is.
Over the last few decades, the awareness of Yoga is increased drastically. Everyone is now aware of Yoga and its importance. Medical professionals to celebrities to politician personalities, everyone is adopting and recommending the regular practice of yoga due to its various benefits.
Yoga is suitable for people of all ages. Now many schools are adopting Yoga as a daily practice so that they can create a new and improved generation. Yoga should be included in our daily life. Positive thinking, perseverance, discipline and orientation, prayer as well as humble and kindness leads the path to self-knowledge and self-realization.
The main aims of Yoga in our daily life is:
- To develops our physical health
- To develops our mental health
- To develops our social health
- To develops our spiritual health
- And to helps in our self-realization
Research also says that Yoga has many benefits if you do it in a proper way and in a very disciplined way. Doing Yoga not only improves your physical health, but you will be mentally strong also.
Here are some of the common health benefits of Yoga:
- Yoga recharge your body with cosmic energy
- Yoga helps to reduce your stress level
- Yoga relieves anxiety
- Yoga improves your concentration levels
- Yoga removes your negativity from the mind and toxins from the body
- Yoga helps to reduce inflammation
- Yoga can improve your cardiac health
- Yoga can improve your quality of life
- Yoga can reduce your chronic pain
- Yoga promotes quality of sleep
- Yoga improves flexibility and balance of your body
- Yoga can relieve migraines
- Yoga improves your food habits
- Yoga improves your body immunity
- Yoga builds discipline
There are many more benefits. Once you start doing Yoga, you will come to know that there is no side effect of Yoga, no harmful for our body, no harmful for our mind and you will feel energized all over the day. It will be a great feeling which you only can describe. There is a proverb, ‘A healthy body has a healthy mind.’ Yoga gives us a healthy body and as well as a healthy spiritual mind.