Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices aimed at disciplining the intellect, mind, senses, emotions, ego, desires & will; ultimately leading to calmness & poise of the soul helping one to look at all of life and its aspects evenly. It is a method by which the restless mind is calmed and the energy directed towards constructive channels.
When the restlessness of the mind, intellect & self is stilled through the practice of yoga, the yogi finds fulfillment. He is not moved even by the greatest sorrow. This is the real meaning of Yoga- a deliverance from contact with pain and sorrow.
Yoga originated in India during the Indus Valley Civilization (around 3000BC) and was brought to the West in the 19th century. It was made popular as a form of physical exercise since 1970’s.
Eight Stages of Yoga
Yoga is not merely the poses (asanas) which most people think of it as. That is just one of the 8 stages of Yoga. These are:
Yama – Abstentions
Niyama – Observances
Asana – Physical poses. This the stage which most people relate Yoga with.
Pranayama – Breathing exercises
Pratyahara – Withdrawal of senses
Dharana – Concentration
Dhyana – Meditation
Samadhi – Super consciousness
Improves physical strength & stamina
Brings flexibility & balance to the body
Brings clarity of mind helping better decision making
Relieves stress, minor aches & pains
Improves focus & concentration
Improves health & overall well bring