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What is Yoga

Yoga is a Sanskrit word. Its root word is “yuja” which means to join or to act as a bridge. The word “Yoga“was introduced by ancient Yogis so that it could represent the meaning that “it joins the individual soul “Aatma” to the universal soul “Purusha”. Thus, Yoga means these processes which act as bridge between Aatma and Purusha. The aim of yoga is to achieve “immortality that means to be free from the cycle of life and death. This freedom can be attained by the union or yoga of the individual soul to the universal soul. So it is applied to the body and mind to achieve its aim. It can be called as the science of the mind and body.

Yoga teaches a harmonious development of the body and mind. The body, along with senses and mind, is the cause of involvement with this world, but the freedom can be obtained only through the effort of the mind by gaining control over the senses. So senses have to be controlled by proper utilization of mind to take the body along with the soul to the goal. Yoga treats the body as well as mind.

In Ayurveda, various yogic practices are used for keeping equilibrium between the body, mind, and self, in order to establish harmony with the cosmos as the name of Astanga Yoga. The credit of the introduction of Astanga Yoga goes to an ancient Acharya Patangali. The first step of the yoga is Yama or forbearances, second “self discipline or Niyama”, third “Yogic postures or Asana”. Yoga is best known as a set of physical practices or Asana that include gentle stretches. Breathing practices and progressive deep relaxation is the part of Pranayama which is the fourth step of Yoga. These physical practices and Pranayama are intended to ready the body and mind for meditation as well as for a meditative perspective on life. The meditative practices also follow a sequence. First, to develop the capacity to withdraw the senses from focus on the outer world, then, the capacity to concentrate on a meditative subject. The concentration leads into a wordless and timeless experience of inner peace.

Astanga Yoga:
1.  Yamas or Forbearance
2.  Niyamas or Self discipline
3.  Asanas or Yogic postures.
4.  Pranayama
5.  Pratyahara or Restraint
6.  Dharana
7.  Dhyana
8.  Samadhi
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