All You Wanted to Know About Yoga For Health And Happiness

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What is Yoga?

Until a few decades ago. many people were not aware of what yoga is. some used to believe that the practice of yoga was akin to "magical performances" of the past such as bending bars and tearing plates. breaking stones. stopping the pulse or a car. walking on fire, remaining underground in a pit for several days, etc.

In recent times. instead of wanting to know what yoga is, many people are keen what among the different yoga practises should they follow for maintaining health, or for overcoming some common health problems.

Yoga is one of the very ancient Sanskrit words. It has two different meanings - a general meaning and a technical meaning.Both these meanings are not related with each other. In the general sense, the word "YOGA" is derived from the root Yuji Ryoge. which means joining, coming together or union of any two or more things.

The word yoga has been used in the rig Veda, one of the four Vedas, or ancient texts, to mean "unity of the intellect of the sages" or dheenam yogaminvati or "arrangement of verses" or chandasam yogam.

In the Atharva Veda, another of the four ancient texts, words such as ashtayogaih and shadyogebhih are used to indicate a plough pulled by eight or six bullocks respectively.Words such as vi-yoga samyoga ayoga, prayoga,viniyoga,sahayoga, are common examples of the use of the word "yoga" even today in the general sense of coming together derived from the root Yuji.

The technical meaning of the term yoga is derived from another root Yuj (samadhau). Here the meaning of word is not "union" but a state of stability, stillness, and peace". The word "yoga" here indicates both the state of stillness and the means or practices which lead to that state. These practices include asanas, pranayama, dhyana, yama-niyamas, etc.

While in the Vedas the word yoga is used only in the general sense, there are texts (such as the Bhagavad Gita) in which both the meanings are ascribed to that word in the Gita, words such as Buddhi Yoga, Karma-yoga are used which refer to the technical meaning.

In the Kathopanishad and Shvetashvatara Upanishad, ancient Hindu Scriptures. yoga is used in the technical meaning.Many experts have said that at the time of Panini the famous Sanskrit grammarian of the seventh century BC, both the meanings of the word-general and technical-yoga were already in use.


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