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YOGA – an ancient form of Exercise
Yoga is a family of ancient spiritual practices dating back more than 5000 years from India. It is one of the six schools of Hindu philosophy. In India, Yoga is seen as a means to both physiological and spiritual mastery. Outside India, Yoga has become primarily associated with the practice of asanas (postures).
Yoga as a means of spiritual attainment is central to Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism and has influenced other religious and spiritual practices throughout the world. Hindu texts establishing the basis for yoga include the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and many others.
The four main paths of Yoga are
• Karma yoga: The yoga of action in the world
• Jnana yoga: The yoga of knowledge and intellectual endeavor
• Bhakti yoga: The yoga of devotion to a deity
• Raja yoga: The yoga of meditation
A committed practitioner of yoga is referred to as a yogi, yogin (masculine), or yogini (feminine).
The aims of the yoga practitioners are extremely varied.
1. Inspiration of Spiritual Element
2. Increased Flexibility and Fitness
3. Solutions to varied Health Disorders
4. All – round development : Mind, Body, Soul
Yoga entails mastery over the body, mind, and emotional self, and transcendence of desire. According to the followers, the Yogi eventually reaches the enlightened state (Moksha) where there is a cessation of thought and an experience of blissful union. This union may be of the individual soul (Atman) with the supreme Reality (Brahman), as in Advaita Vedanta; with a specific god or goddess, as in Dvaita, or dualistic forms of Hinduism and some forms of Buddhism.
Common to most forms of yoga is the practice of concentration (dharana) and meditation (dhyana). The awareness is concentrated on a fine point of sensation (such as that of the breath entering and leaving the nostrils). Sustained single-pointed concentration gradually leads to meditation (dhyana), in which the inner faculties are able to expand and merge with something vast. Meditators sometimes report feelings of peace, joy, and oneness.
Advantages of Yoga
Yoga emphasizes treatment of the root cause of an ailment. It works in a slow, subtle and miraculous manner. Modern medicine can claim to save a life at a critical stage, but, for complete recovery and regaining of normal health, one must believe in the efficiency of yoga therapy.
On a physical level Yoga postures stimulate the glands, organs, muscles and nerves in ways that traditional exercise cannot. Muscle tightness and strain is quickly relieved and both circulation and digestion improves. Stress-related symptoms like poor sleep, fatigue, muscle spasms, anxiety, and indigestion are greatly improved.
Through continued practice Yoga postures can have a profound effect on the inner dimensions of life, establishing deep calm, concentration, emotional stability and confidence.
About the Author: Roderick Corkern is an active fitness and exercise equipment expert with over 16 years of helping people overcome fitness issues and teaching them to integrate exercise into their life.