Sadhguru describes the word ‘yoga’ as being a complete path by itself. While the word ‘yoga’ literally means ‘union’, it refers to the union of the body, mind and the divine. It is a philosophy, a path of life to live by. Yoga is commonly associated with its physical manifestation in the form of postures or asanas however it is very importantly a spiritual discipline too.
The invention of this system of body, mind and spirit fitness cannot be credited to any one single individual. Rather, the origin of yoga goes back several thousands of years ago. Nevertheless from a mystical perspective, Lord Shiva is seen as the first yogi and guru. It is believed that Shiva bestowed his profound knowledge onto the ‘Saptarishis’ or the seven sages who then spread this yogic science in different parts of the world. Yoga has come a long way from there and today is a very popular body and mind fitness program across the globe.
Through the years, the different philosophies, practices, traditions and lineages have led to the formation of different schools of yoga. Each school has its own philosophy, principles and practice systems. Broadly speaking there are six branches of yoga – hatha, raja, karma, bhakti, jnana and tantra yoga. While each school of yoga has a different approach to life, they are not strictly compartmentalized. In fact, there are many characteristics and paths in these forms that are overlapping.An individual maybe be practicing or involved in one or more of these branches. Whichever form of yoga appeals to your senses may be the right path for you.
The practice of yoga places immense focus on breathing exercises, meditation and poses or postures intended to encourage relaxation and reduce stress. Practicing yoga results in many physical and mental health benefits. Some of the benefits include reduction in stress and anxiety, increase in flexibility and improvement in posture, building of muscle strength, boosting of metabolism, improvement in blood sugar levels and blood flow.
In order to improve our physical health and attain mental and spiritual harmony, the daily practice of yoga is recommended. Yoga can be practiced by one and all to achieve a holistic balance and well being in our lives.
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