What is Yoga?


Before practicing such an exercise, it is important to become informed of its meaning and functions.

"Yoga is one of the six orthodox systems in Indian philosophy. It was collated, co-ordinated, and systemized by Patanja in his classical work, The Yoga Sutras, which consists of 185 aphorisms. In Indian thought, everything is permeated by the Supreme Universal Spirit (Paramatma or God) of which the human spirit (jivatma) is a part. The system of yoga is so called because it teaches the means by which the jivatma can be united to, or be in communion with the Paramatma, and so secure liberation (moska)" (http://www.yoga.com/ ).

Bob Swanson of "Meditation for Stress Management" circumscribes Yoga as a "union of body, mind and spirit" (http://home.earthlink.net/ ). Author of the book Light On Yoga, Iyengar quotes Mahadev Desai defining yoga as "the yoking of all the powers of body, mind, and soul to God; it means the disciplining of the intellect, the mind, the emotions, the will, which that Yoga presupposes; it means a poise of the soul which enables us to look at life in all its aspects evenly" (http://www.yoga.com/ ). The purpose of Yoga exercises is to relax and become "in tune" with the body. It is a connection between the physical and the mental selves. Randy Leighton comments on deep relaxation, saying that "[Yoga is] a very pleasant, non-demanding activity that is specifically intended to induce total mental and physical relaxation . . . Yoga is synonymous with relaxation" (http://home.earthlink.net/ ). To perform Yoga is to enhance self-appreciation, self-knowledge, and above all, self control. This self-control factor is the key to eliminating stress. "When one does not feel Yoga, one feels not together, non-cohesive and inharmonious, insecurity and fear" (http://home.earthlink.net/ ).



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