Yoga the way of life, it’s part of life. We shouln’t feel disappointed or frustrated considering our limitations with regard to physical health; shape and size of the body; lack of time; lack of space or unavailability of a teacher. In fact, Yoga means to overcome all these problems. Yoga includes every aspect of life. Yoga touches everything in life. All healing methods and meditations are part and parcel of Yoga. Yoga is like the sun itself, which brightens everything that comes into contact with it.
Ove 5,000 years ago began YOGA, and people have been feeling the positive effects ever since. In the Western world, yoga was only introduced in the late 19th and early 20th century, only becoming truly popular in the 1980s. Yoga practices help reduce the impact of stress responses. By reducing perceived stress, yoga can help decrease the physical signs of stress—lowering the heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. This leads to less anxiety and depression.
Yoga literally means “union”. This union can be understood on different levels: philosophically, as that of the relative, limited self with the absolute Self; religiously, as that of the individual soul with the Infinite Spirit; psychologically, as the integration of the personality – a state wherein a person no longer lives at cross-purposes with himself; emotionally, as the stilling of the waves of likes and dislikes, permitting one to remain in all circumstances complete in himself
According to the ancient sage Patanjali, yoga is the neutralization of ego-directed feelings, because once these become stilled, the yogi realizes that he is, and that he has always been, one with the Infinite – that his awareness of this reality was limited only by his infatuation with limitation.
Yoga is usually defined as union: union between the limited self and the Divine Self. The aim of Yoga is not really to unite us with anything for we are already united. It is to help us realize our identity with the Divine Self, to make us know and tune into our intrinsic nature. There are many definitions of Yoga, which apply to all levels of existence and awareness. At the physical level, we need to harmonize the functions of different organs, muscles and nerves so that they do not hamper or oppose each other. Disharmony in various body parts and systems brings about inefficiency and lethargy or clumsiness. Moreover, it manifests in diseases in the body.
In this context we can define Yoga as physical harmony & health and mental balance & peace.
The Bhagavad Gita, a very widely known classical text on Yoga, gives various definitions of Yoga.
- Yoga is equanimity of mind in success and failure.
- Yoga is discretion in work.
- Yoga is the remover of misery and destroyer of pain.Yoga is the supreme secret of life.
- Yoga is serenity.
- Yoga is the giver of infinite happiness. Patañjali, the author of the classical Yoga text, The Yoga Sutras, defines Yoga as, “complete control over patterns or modifications of the mind.”
The Structure of Yoga:
The various branches of Yoga could be, for practical purposes, classified into five basic groups:Jnana Yoga: the Yoga committed to inquiry.
Karma Yoga: the Yoga committed to selfless service and Dharma.
Bhakti Yoga: the Yoga devoted to love and devotion to God.
Raja Yoga: the Yoga committed to introspection and contemplation.
Hatha Yoga: the Yoga devoted to the discipline of the body and the balance of the mental, physical and subtle forces of the body through the practice of asana and pranayama.
If you have a history of a chronic disease or are recovering from an injury, consult your physician before commencing. Let your yoga teacher know of any injuries or pains.
- Do what you easily can. There is no competition. You are expected to move at your own pace. Listen to your body and do not push yourself.
- Many benefits of the yoga practice will unfold progressively. Be regular in your practice and don’t give up because you can’t touch your toes in the first go.
- Don’t get discouraged by the initial lack of flexibility or strength, it improves over time. Be patient and give your body the time to respond.
- Focus on the breath, right from the beginning.
- Understand that every body is unique. Everyone has different levels of strength, stamina, and flexibility. Your lifestyle and goals may also vary. Find a style of yoga that suits your needs.