Yoga is being practiced in all forms today including Art Yoga, Dance Yoga, Dynamic Yoga and Power Yoga. It dates back to the time of the Indus Valley civilisation and the times of the Rig Veda. Yoga as a concept slowly emerged in the Bhagavad Gita and in Shanti Parva of Mahabharata. Yoga is most elaborately described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Thus, Patanjali is said to be the Father of Yoga. Our Associate Editor, Navodita, talks about Yoga as a lifestyle, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
Yoga is not just exercise and asanas. It is something more and beyond that takes you towards emotional integration and spiritual elevation with a touch of a mystic element. It is this that gives you a sense of something beyond the imagination.
Yoga is being practiced in all forms today including Art Yoga, Dance Yoga, Dynamic Yoga and Power Yoga. However, this brings us to the question – what is yoga in its original classical form? Yoga dates back to the time of the Indus Valley civilisation and the times of the Rig Veda. Yoga as a concept slowly emerged in the Bhagavad Gita and in Shanti Parva of Mahabharata. Yoga is most elaborately described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, where he says about Yoga, ‘Yogah-chitta-vritti-nirodhah’ or Yoga is one way to cleanse the mind. Thus, Patanjali is said to be the Father of Yoga. Yoga is envisaged as a philosophy, according to ancient Indian scriptures, Bhakti Yoga, Raj Yoga, Gyan Yoga and Karma Yoga.
One of the beauties of the physical practice of Yoga is that the poses support and sustain you no matter how old or young, fit or frail, you come to your mat. As you age, your understanding of the asana becomes more sophisticated. You move from working on the alignment and mechanics of the pose to refining the inner actions to just being in the pose. Such is the development of the Self-practicing Yoga. The more classical pose you do, the better effect of the asana you benefit from. Yoga, however, is more than just that. If you practice Yoga asanas every day but cannot manage the healthy lifestyle that demands eat healthily and get enough sleep, then you doing nothing more than aerobics or exercises. Yoga effects come to you holistically with every practice of asana and with every act of will-power to discipline your body and mind. Yoga can actually be many things to many people- to some it can be a yoga mat, to others a morning cup of water with honey and lemon, to others boiled vegetables for a meal, yet to some waking up early for a yoga workout, and to others a simple bow before an idol at home.
Yoga is thus a way of life. Asanas aside, pranayama is another major breathing technique used to control the breath. Practicing proper techniques of meditation can pump proper oxygen to the blood and brain eventually helping control prana or vital life energy. Pranayama also goes hand in hand with various Yoga asanas. The union of these two yogic principles is considered as the highest form of purification and self-discipline, covering both body and mind. Pranayama techniques also prepare us for deeper forms of meditation.
Yoga more often than not can be about restraint, self-control, discipline in eating habits and in fitness and lifestyle. It doesn’t always propagate austere ways of living but living with a sense of fulfillment, happiness, and peace with a feeling of contentment and satisfaction. It is a way of life that promotes perfect relationships with your loved ones, respect for elders and love for youngers ones in your family and a harmonious way of community life.
It can augment your personality in every possible way – one you can start by always being positive. Staying positive will help you overcome the toughest of challenges while attracting more positivity and opportunities. The best way to get any work done is by being passionate. Let your passion drive your efforts and you’ll be able to achieve excellence in life. If life is a roller-coaster ride, then make sure you are enjoying to the max. Yoga can help you handle emotions and not let emotions take control of you. The regular practise of healthy food and asanas helps you stay centered and calm during challenges. Next time you lose your cool, you can close your eyes, take a deep breath, dwell on the word ‘Om’ and take a few more breaths so you slowly dissolve the anger and contain yourself. Effective Yoga practice helps you stay connected with your main objectives and aims in life instead of getting embroiled in petty squabbles with people around you. It helps you be a survivor.
Yoga can assist you not only in keeping your physical body healthy but also in maintaining an equipoise, calm and in control of life situations. Yoga, therefore, is more than just physical asanas and to relegate it to some aspects that are dynamic and power yoga would only be focussing on a minuscule part of what this deep philosophy truly is about.
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