In yesterday’s article I gave you 10 outstanding yoga videos, all of which were excellent.
Some of the videos were historical in nature and traced back to the roots of modern yoga, showing some of the modern masters of this ancient art. There was a video from 1938 of Krishnamacharya, the grandfather of modern yoga. And there were two others video with his disciples, BKS Iyengar, founder of Iyengar Yoga, and Sri K. Pattahbi Jois, founder of Ashtanga Yoga.
The aim of yoga is to help the practitioner enter into the flow state, and as such it is a movement approach that definitely can be a strong aid in helping to live a Low Density Lifestyle.
I thought it would be nice today to look at the ancient roots of yoga, in order to help give a context for understanding the wisdom of this traditional modality, whose aim is to create a divine union between body, mind and soul.
Yoga (Sanskrit, Pāli: योग yóga) refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines originating in India. The word is associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.
In Hinduism, it also refers to one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy, and to the goal toward which that school directs its practices. In Jainism it refers to the sum total of all activities—mental, verbal and physical.
Major branches of yoga in Hindu philosophy include Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Hatha Yoga. Raja Yoga, compiled in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and known simply as yoga in the context of Hindu philosophy, is part of the Samkhya tradition.
Many other Hindu texts discuss aspects of yoga, including Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Shiva Samhita and various Tantras.
The Bhagavad Gita (‘Song of the Lord’), uses the term yoga extensively in a variety of ways. In addition to an entire chapter (ch. 6) dedicated to traditional yoga practice, including meditation, it introduces three prominent types of yoga:
* Karma yoga: The yoga of action
* Bhakti yoga: The yoga of devotion
* Jnana yoga: The yoga of knowledge.
The Sanskrit word yoga has many meanings, and is derived from the Sanskrit root “yuj,” meaning “to control,” “to yoke” or “to unite.” Translations include “joining,” “uniting,” “union,” “conjunction,” and “means.”
Outside India, the term yoga is typically associated with Hatha Yoga and its asanas (postures) or as a form of exercise. Someone who practices yoga or follows the yoga philosophy is called a yogi or yogini.
It was the Indian sage Patanjali, who lived in the second century BCE, who is widely regarded as the founder of the formal Yoga philosophy. Patanjali’s yoga is known as Raja yoga, which is a system for control of the mind. Patanjali defines the word “yoga” in his writings, specifically the second sutra of what became known as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
Hundreds of years later, yoga’s evolution continued with the development of Hatha Yoga by Yogi Swatmarama, in 15th century India.
Hatha Yoga differs substantially from the Raja Yoga of Patanjali in that it focuses on shatkarma, the purification of the physical body as leading to the purification of the mind and prana, or vital energy.
Compared to the seated asana, or sitting meditation posture, of Patanjali’s Raja yoga, it marks the development of asanas into the full body “postures” now in popular usage. Hatha Yoga in its many modern variations is the style that many people associate with the word “Yoga” today.
The goal of yoga ranges from improving health to achieving Moksha. Within Jainism and the monist schools of Advaita Vedanta and Shaivism, the goal of yoga takes the form of Moksha, which is liberation from all worldly suffering and the cycle of birth and death (Samsara), at which point there is a realization of identity with the Supreme Brahman.
In the Mahabharata, the goal of yoga is variously described as entering the world of Brahma, as Brahman, or as perceiving the Brahman or Atman that pervades all things. For the bhakti schools of Vaishnavism, bhakti or service to Svayam bhagavan itself may be the ultimate goal of the yoga process, where the goal is to enjoy an eternal relationship with Vishnu.
Yoga also helps your body maintain a stable relationship with itself while going into a calm, neutral state of peace.
So whether you see yoga as a form of exercise that allows you to move in a more flowing way, or as a way to achieve a higher state of consciousness and a sense of liberation, either way, by practicing this ancient art, you will find yourself on the path of living a Low Density Lifestyle.