IntroductionThrough yoga one learns to respect his body and take care of it properly. Through yoga one learns to view stress and worry as negative factors, which rob the self of energy that would otherwise be channeled towards personal growth.
By yoga one learns to stretch his body like a rubber band but at the same time with control,direction and purpose. In all, yoga would dramatically improve the way one looks and feels.
Origin and nature of yogaYoga comes to us from the heart of Eastern philosophy. Early Indians developed a method to transcend the limitation of the senses and this was called as yoga. Through conscious control of physical and mental activity, the individuals practicing yoga can master their surroundings and rise to a higher spiritual plane.
The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root "yug", meaning to link or join together. Yoga deals with the whole person. A single word to describe yoga is "Balance". Yoga is designed to balance the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of an individual. As the mind and soul approach equilibrium the human becomes increasingly aware of its identity and relationship with the external world surrounding it. Yoga is an empirical science based on observations and reflections of experience or introspection. Yoga may be defined as the science of self-fulfillment. It allows us to utilize our capabilities to the fullest while permitting us to choose our own goals.
Archaeological evidence shows that the inhabitants of the Indus Valley practiced yoga prior to 2000 B.C. Through word of mouth the tradition was passed on from father to son and from teacher to pupil. A major shift from oral to written tradition began with the arrival of the Aryans in India shortly after 2000 B.C. The Aryans developed the language of Sanskrit and it later became the canonical language of Hindu scriptures. Because the forerunners of yoga are found in the Upanishads written in Sanskrit, Sanskrit became the accepted standard for yogic vocabulary. Around 300 B.C yoga began to take form as an organized group of principles and practices.
The person, most responsible for systematizing yoga was the Indian Philosopher, Patanjali. Around 200 B. C. Patanjali bolstered the move from oral to written tradition. In the classical treatise, YOGA SUTRA Patanjali codified in writing a large body of yogic principles and processes. The yoga sutras are a step-by-step guide to the attainment of physical, mental and spiritual balance. It consists of an ordered series of 194 terse aphorisms or sutras. Each sutra addresses itself to some aspect of self-development. According Patanjali, yoga is "The discipline leading to the highest development of spiritual consciousness".
The eight limbs or stages of yoga are