Different Aspects of Yoga
These are the times, when people are again returning to their roots. After peak of materialism and blind race, now we are searching for real meaning of life. Now we are feeling the need to relax and adopt a simple, healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. Even medical science is adopting holistic approach in curing the patients. After much research, science has come to conclusion that beside unhealthy lifestyle, stress is the major cause for all problems (physical, mental and emotional). And in hospitals too meditation and Yoga has become part of treatment along with conventional way of treatment. Yoga is the greatest philosophy of India.
In the present day nearly everyone, in the East as well as West, is familiar at least with the word “Yoga” if not with its meaning. The word “Yoga ” is derived from the Sanskrit root “yuj” meaning to unite, join, harness, contact, or connect. Therefore, Yoga means union or connection. It is the union between the individual self and the Universal Self. It is the fusion of a healthy body with a disciplined for the purpose of spiritual development. So, Yoga aims at physical, mental, and spiritual development step by step. It improves physical health and resilience, harmonizes thought and emotion, and awakens supersensory abilities. The preliminary objective of Yoga is the purification of the body, and the main objective is the removal of mental impurities. When both body and mind are totally freed from impurities, one’s consciousness becomes clear and pure.
In ancient times, the knowledge of Yoga was passed on directly from Guru to disciple. That time Yoga was not a commodity for sale but a beautiful tradition that was passed from generation to generation. But that time the knowledge was not available to all. These days many professional institutions teach Yoga. Even personal tutors are available. Though my acquaintance with Yoga is since my school days, but my in-depth concepts were cleared when I joined my post graduation in Philosophy. During our Indian philosophy course we were taught about Yoga philosophy. When I read original text on Yoga called “Patanjali Yoga Sutras” by Rishi Patanjali (originally written in Sanskrit), I learned that Yoga is not just collection of breathing exercises or postures to maintain physical body as thought generally by most of us. Rather Yoga is a philosophy, way of life, means to know your own inner nature, a path to discover self; connect with our own being as well God or Divine.
Yogic philosophy views an individual person as a whole being, which includes the physical, mental, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual nature. It regard one’s entire being and not just one or a few of its aspects. Yoga is a process of growing, unfolding, and becoming conscious as a whole, not a partial being, and in this way, reaching perfection. Yogic discipline works gradually through its various techniques to unfold and develop all the different levels that comprise a human being: physical, psychological, and spiritual. The process begins at the gross level of the physical plane, and then proceeds slowly toward the subtler levels, finally culminating in the plane of cosmic consciousness. Thus Yoga is not something like aerobics or physical exercises but a way to exceed in spirituality. So it is advisable to practice yoga under expert’s guidance. As yoga is a delicate science if done wrong, it may cause adverse effects.
Before even beginning the preliminary exercises of Yoga a seeker should build up a strong fortress of physical, moral, emotional, and mental purity. The Yogic scriptures prescribe the practice of Yamas and Niyams, restraints and observations, to create that fortress. In general Yamas and Niyams are basic guidelines for foundation of Yoga. Yama means “restraint “, or control applied to the behaviour, attitudes, and morals of the seeker like Ahimsa (nonviolence), Satya (truth), Asteya (non stealing), Aparigraha (non possessiveness), Brahmacharya (continence, celibacy). The practice of Yamas is designed to bring about internalization of ethical values and self-control. Niyama means “observance”, “discipline” or “rule”. These are Saucha (purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (transformative spiritual practices or austerities), Svadhyaya (spiritual study) and Ishvara pranidhan (dedication of all one’s thoughts and actions to God). The practice of Niyama is designed to reduce and remove impurities in the body and mind, thus creating physical well-being and inner peace.
To conclude, Yoga is a philosophical way as well as practical path to achieve good health, improve stamina and gaining mental peace. By practicing regular yoga one can build immunity. With yoga one can achieve peace of mind, spirituality and inner joy. Yoga helps to gain Divine bliss.