YOGA – Introduction
The word Yoga has its roots in Sanskrit and means ‘to join’. Traditionally it was believed Yoga joined the individual self (Jivatma) with the universal self (Parmatma).
Developed in India, Yoga is a spiritual practice that has been evolving for the last 5,000 years. It is a way of life to control the mind, body and soul. Yoga helps to achieve the rather elusive state of contentment that no materialistic luxury of the modern world can bring. It also helps to strike a perfect balance between the mind and body and harmony between man and the universe through yogic kriyas, Yogasanas, Chitta shuddhir and yoga nidra.
It has become the subject of modern scientific research and evaluation resulting in the recognition of some of its influences on the human body and metabolism.
A great Indian teacher of this century , Sri Aurobindo, regarded Yoga as a methodical effort towards self-perfection that involved development of the latent potential on the physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual levels. The most popular form of Yoga practiced in this country is Hatha yoga, which is concerned with body control and consists of a series of Asanas. The word HATHA is made up of HA meaning sun and THA meaning moon. The body is enlivened by positive and negative currents and when these are in complete equilibrium we enjoy perfect health. Although Hatha yoga is essentially concerned with control of the body, it has a much wider effect. Hatha Yoga helps in reaching a healthy body in which all systems function efficiently and this in turn calms the mind. According to the description given in Kathopnishad, when the senses are calm, when mind is at rest, when the intellect is not disturbed- that it is the highest stage. This steady control of the senses and mind is called Yoga. Patanjali has described Yoga as “Chitta Vritti nirodh”. It is the restraint or control (Nirodh) of mental (Chitta) modifications or fluctuations (Vritti). Yoga is the means through which the restless mind is soothed and energy is directed in a constructive manner