Yoga means the union of body and mind where body is the individual soul and mind is the Universal
spirit. Yoga is the restraining of mind-stuff (chitta) from taking various forms (vritti).
Yoga is an ancient system of health and fitness which originated in India. Today yoga is accepted
as a comprehensive exercise to promote control of the body and mind. Yoga has become accepted
as one of the best ways to achieve health, fitness and balance.
Yoga is a hard word to define, because it covers a very wide range of practices. In its most
general sense, it is a spiritual practice designed to increase awareness and self-knowledge,
so that a person can be freed from old behavior patterns and exercise more choice in his or
her life. The exercises can lead to greater physical and mental freedom, and to greater control
over the body and thought processes.
Yoga is first and foremost the discipline of conscious living. When we take charge of our lives,
we also tap into our inner potential for happiness, or what in Sanskrit is called ananda.
This primal joy, which transcends the ego or personality, wells up in our hearts and infuses
our whole being with vibrant energy — life.
Thus energized, or enlivened, we can go about
the business of our daily living in a harmonious manner. We become highly creative,
establishing order where there is chaos, instilling life where there is a vacuum, causing
comfort where there is distress. In other words, because we are full of joy and life,
we become a healing presence in the world.
Yoga is useful in many Disease like:- back pain, neck and shoulder pain, anxiety, headaches, hypertension, insomnia, Thyroid, blood pressure, spondylitis, diabetes etc.
There are 8 disciplines to yoga as presented by Patanjali (thus Astanga yoga - 8 limbed yoga) which must be practiced and refined in order to perceive the true self- the ultimate goal of Yoga:
Yama - Universal ethics: Non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, sexual restraint and non-acquisitiveness.About our fundamental nature that of being compassionate, generous, honest and peaceful.
Niyama - Principles of self conduct: purity, contentment, intense dedication or austerity, study of self and scriptures and self-surrender.The directive include Shaucha (internal and external purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (austerity), Svadhyaya (study of religious books and repetitions of Mantras) and Ishvarapranidhana (self-surrender to God, and His worship).
Asana - practice of the postures.Body and mind are intimately connected and if the body is agitated the mind will be agitated as a result. In order to meditate successfully one must develop a very steady posture. The practice of moving the body into postures helps in improving health, strength, balance and flexibility.
Pranayama - Breath control.Very much like the wind creates the motion of the leaves, prana creates the motion of the mind which gives rise to the vrittis. Air is the primary physical medium of prana and breathing is our best method to gain control over the prana. Pranayama gives control of breathing processes and control of vital force. When the inflowing breath is neutralized or joined with the outflowing breath, then perfect relaxation and balance of body activities are realized.
Pratyahara - withdrawal and control of the senses.In pratyahara we sever this link between mind and senses, and the senses withdraw. It is most commonly known for sensory inhibition.
Dharana - concentration.
Dhyana - meditation. When the mind has become purified by yoga practices, it becomes able to focus efficiently on one subject or point of experience. The meditator is fully focused on the object of concentration. It will lead to dhyana.
Samadhi - a state of higher consciousness where the sense of self (ego) dissolves in the object of meditation and the individual self exists in its own pure nature.
Bhakti Yoga -
Bhakti Yoga emphasizes on the love and devotion to the Almighty. The individual performing this type of Yoga concentrates on the existence of Almighty. He/she learns to show love, compassion to the creatures co-existing with him/her, apart from keenly worshipping the Lord. Bhakti Yoga can be practiced in a number of ways, such as praising the God by singing, chanting slogans, reading religious books, listening to prayers and by watching religious movies.
Hatha Yoga- Hatha Yoga was founded by Yogi Swatmarama in the 15th century in India. This type of Yoga is all about the combination of two extremes - 'ha' (the Sun, regarded as the positive current) and 'tha' (the Moon, regarded as the negative current). It involves the performance of physical postures (Asanas), breathing exercises (Pranayams), meditation, mudras and purification procedures known as 'Shatkriyas'.
Karma Yoga - As the name suggests, Karma Yoga is the dedication of all the actions (karma) and their fruits to the Almighty. This type of Yoga purifies one's heart, and helps attain the knowledge of one's own self. The aim of a Karma Yogic (one, who performs Karma Yoga) is to provide selfless service to the poor and the needy, without expecting money, fame, power, respect and honor in return of the service.
Kundalini Yoga - Kundalini Yoga aims at drawing the untapped energy (Kundalini), coiled at the base of the spine, by using a set of technique that uses the person's mind, senses and body. Apart from the physical postures (Asanas), the person performs meditation, chants mantras in order to awaken each of the seven chakras of the body. The Asanas are coordinated with the hold of breath control.
Mantra Yoga - Mantra Yoga, as the name suggests, makes use of mantras to attain a peace of mind and increase the concentration power. The mantras are chanted by the person in a thoughtful way, in order to attain certain goals. Mantra Yoga helps eliminate a number of disorders, including psychosomatic ailments and the problems of anxiety, stress and tension. It boosts the person's self-confidence as well.
Purna Yoga -Known as integral Yoga, Purna Yoga offers wisdom and techniques for the unison of the body, mind and soul. It emphasizes the Karma of your everyday life. It involves meditation, pranayams and the performance of alignment-based Asanas. Purna Yoga is an improvisation of the traditional systems of Yoga.
Raj Yoga -Raj Yoga is the best way for the complete and holistic healing of one's mind and soul. This type of Yoga helps a person to alleviates himself/herself from the emotional and mental conflicts. Also called Astanga or eight-limbed Yoga, Raj Yoga helps the person to be in harmony with the co-existing creatures and the environment.
-Power yoga is a general term used in the West to describe a vigorous, fitness-based approach to style yoga.The Power Yoga
trend started emerging during mid 1990s. It was introduced by two American Yoga instructors
Power Yoga is fast paced and a strenuous exercise.The core of
Power Yoga is Ashtanga Yoga. The stress on fitness makes
Power Yoga different from other forms of Yoga. This technique of
Power Yoga can be used for a heavy work out. Power yoga generally use for physical fitness
, weight loss
& body shaping.