“A form of preventive medicine and spiritual journey”
Yoga is a type of exercise that serves as physical and mental nourishment. The origins of yoga are shrouded in antiquity and mystery. Since Vedic times, the principles and practice of yoga have crystallized. But it was only around 200 BC that all the fundamentals of yoga were collected by Patanjali in his treatise, named Yoga sutra. Yoga works on the mind and the body at the same time, as well as exploiting their interdependence. Yoga asanas (postures) and breathing deal with the physical body, but they also affect the brain, meaning they affect the mind.
Yoga considers that most diseases are due to insufficient life force, either in the body, or a blockage of life force to one part of the body. This weakens the body and decreases resistance or immunity to disease. The best way to increase the general life force of the body is by good nutrition, sufficient sleep, a positive mental state, and yoga.
There are different types of Yoga; while they share common elements, some focus more on postures and breathing exercises, whereas others have a greater focus on spirituality. Yoga forms constitute a ladder of sorts, from the “lowest” form of Hatha yoga the foundation, with its focus on physical postures and breathing techniques, to the “highest” form known as Raja, or “union by mental mastery.” Other forms being Bhakti yoga or the yoga of devotion, Karma yoga or the yoga of selfless action, Gnana Yoga or the yoga of knowledge, and Mantra yoga or Union by voice or sound.
Newer forms of hybrids of yoga are also proposed such as Power yoga or Açu-yoga. There are also variations of yoga depending on the Guru – “the teacher that is being followed.”
These days, yoga classes are being held at most health and wellness centers across the United States. Along with meditation, yoga is probably one of the most popular alternative therapies. Clinical practices have discovered that several ailments, including hypertension, clinical depression, amnesia, acidity, can be controlled and managed by yogic practices.
All the wonders of modern science and technology will not bring happiness, peace of mind, health, or long life. Although wonders have been achieved in our external environment (space travel, computers, etc.), our internal environment has been neglected. Thousands of years ago the ancient yogis turned their minds inwards and discovered their true nature. This allowed them to work out a system of body and breathing exercises, which results in vitality, rejuvenation, and peace of mind.
Why not enjoy the benefits of modern science and practice yoga to enjoy the benefits of vitality, rejuvenation, and peace of mind as well? In conclusion, the many advances made by seers of yoga should inspire Hindus today, who are making a mark in the cutting-edge fields of science and technology.
Evidently, most of these sciences were in tune with nature. The ancients did not plunder the earth to search for its natural treasures. It was contemplation that took years to manifest. We should follow the footprints of yesterday in search of a better tomorrow – universal harmony, something that we lost somewhere along the way with the race for existence.