What is Yoga?

On December 1, 2016, Yoga was listed as UNESCO’s Intangible cultural heritage.

What is Yoga?

Derived from the Sanskrit word yuj, Yoga means union of the individual consciousness or soul with the Universal Consciousness or Spirit. Yoga is a 5000-year-old Indian body of knowledge. Though many think of yoga only as a physical exercise where people twist, turn, stretch, and breathe in the most complex ways, these are actually only the most superficial aspect of this profound science of unfolding the infinite potentials of the human mind and soul. The science of Yoga imbibes the complete essence of the Way of Life.

Yoga is not just exercise and asanas. It is the emotional integration and spiritual elevation with a touch of mystic element, which gives you a glimpse of something beyond all imagination.

History of Yoga

Yoga is more than 5,000 years old.
Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India.
Yoga gurus from India later introduced yoga to the west, following the success of Swami Vivekananda in the late 19th and early 20th century. In the 1980s, yoga became popular as a system of physical exercise across the Western world. Yoga in Indian traditions, however, is more than physical exercise; it has a meditative and spiritual core. One of the six major orthodox schools of Hinduism is also called Yoga, which has its own epistemology and metaphysics, and is closely related to Hindu Samkhya philosophy. But Yoga actually predates Hinduism by many centuries.The techniques of Yoga have been adopted  successfully by Hinduism. The practice of Yoga will not interfere with any religion.

Yoga came to the attention of an educated western public in the mid-19th century along with other topics of Indian philosophy.

The first Hindu teacher to actively advocate and disseminate aspects of yoga to a western audience, Swami Vivekananda, toured Europe and the United States in the 1890s. The reception which Swami Vivekananda received built on the active interest of intellectuals, interests in things Indian.

In the 20th century, hatha yoga, particularly asanas (the physical postures), became popular throughout the world as a form of physical exercise, and is now colloquially termed as simply “yoga”.

There are very many compound words containing yoga in Sanskrit. Yoga can take on meanings such as “connection”, “contact”, “union”, “method”, “application”, “addition” and “performance”. In simpler words, Yoga also means “combined.

The Bhagavad Gita (‘Song of the Lord’), uses the term “yoga” extensively in a variety of ways. In addition , it introduces three prominent types of yoga.

  • Karma yoga: The yoga of action
  • Bhakti yoga: The yoga of devotion
  • Jnana yoga: The yoga of knowledge

Yoga and Ayurveda – On the view of “Keral Ayurveda Yoga” .

Yoga is one of the practical science of Ayurveda
Yoga and ayurveda are inseparable sisters. Both originate as part of a greater system of Vedic knowledge . Yoga originates in the Yajur Veda, while Ayurveda originates in the Atharva Veda and Rig Veda.

Both yoga and ayurveda are based upon the principles of trigunas (sattva, rajas and tamas) and the panchamahabuthas (earth, air, fire, water, space). Yoga and ayurveda also encompass an understanding of how the body works (Dosha-Dhatu-Mala/humor-tissue-waste material theory) and the effect that food and medicines have on the body (Rasa-Veerya-Vipaka/taste-energy-post digestive effect concept).

Both of these sciences have eight branches: Ashtanga Yoga and Ashtanga Ayurveda. The two have a common understanding of health of the body being dependent on the health and balance of the mind. They share virtually the same metaphysical anatomy and physiology, which consists of 72,000 nadis (subtle channels), seven main chakras (energy centers), five bodily sheaths and the kundalini shakti (energy).

In treatment, both yoga and Ayurveda advocate for the regular practice of pranayama and meditation as well as the use of herbs, body purification procedures, food and chanting of mantras for physical and mental health. In yoga, the body purification procedures have been explained as ‘Satkriyas’ whereas in ayurveda they are known as ‘Panchakarma’.

Both recognize that keeping the body healthy is vital for fulfilling the four aims of life: dharma (duty), artha (wealth), kama (desire), and moksha (liberation).

Yoga generally promotes a diet that is sattvic (light and pure) in nature; ayurveda goes into great detail in looking at which foods balance one’s constitution (according to ‘dosha’) and categorizes food according to six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, astringent).

Yoga is believed to be a natural way of healing. The basic principle of Ayurveda is also the same, whatever is within us, in our cells, is equivalent to that which is in the universe.

We _”Keral Ayurveda Yoga”_ supports “THE FINE BLEND OF AYURVEDA AND YOGA THEORY“.