Yoga - The Art of Being and Science of Well-Being
Yoga is an ancient practice and a spiritual discipline focussing on assimilating the mind, body and nature to establish an organic harmony between all forces. The word ‘yoga’ comes from Sanskrit which means to unite, and hence yoga is not just physical exercise but a means to achieve a balance between thoughts and actions and channelizing the body and energy as a holistic approach to well-being. Yoga has had various lineages, traditions and driving philosophies that have led to the emergence of different traditional schools of Yoga, each with its own set of principles, objectives and practices.
Yoga is recognised all over the world for its immensely uplifting values. Each year, June 21 is celebrated as the International Day of Yoga, and especially for India, Yoga has a cultural and heritage value too. Yoga is an inner science comprising of a variety of practices and methods through which human beings can achieve a union between the body and the mind to attain self-realisation. The aim of Yoga practice (sādhana) is to overcome and endure all kinds of sufferings that leads to a sense of freedom in every walk of life with holistic health, happiness and harmony.
One of the deep impulses of human mind is a craving to know. We wish to understand the world around us, its source, its meaning and its probable future. Founders of philosophical thoughts - Vedic seers, ancient Indian Yoga Gurus, Maharishis, Mahavir, Buddha, Christ, Mohammed and Sufis have dedicated their lives to the quest of understanding the source of suffering of mankind. All these masters have developed a common path, based on their concrete experiences which are practical, methodical and systematic for unfolding and culturing the unlimited potentialities of mankind which can be realised by the practice of Yoga. The roots of Yoga are in ancient India; its universal origin is the burning desire in the heart of the philosophers - the yearning to be happy and free of suffering. In Indian thought the term Philosophy stands for Darshana i.e. ‘vision’ as a means of self-realization through self-purification which claims to end the three-fold suffering of mankind forever. While minutely observing the life phenomenon, ancient Indian masters have concluded that so long as we do not pay any serious attention towards our day-to-day activities as well as the activities of Mother Nature, we go on performing all our actions mechanically in the form of reflexes in life and therefore, life seems to be full of pain and miseries. However, they have also observed that if we add our awareness to our activities we can understand life and phenomenon associated with it, we can overcome all kinds of pain and suffering, we can achieve total integration that can lead us to freedom.
Different social customs and rituals in India, the land of Yoga, reflect a love for ecological balance, tolerance towards other systems of thought and a compassionate outlook towards all creations. Yoga Sadhana of all hues and colours is considered a panacea for a meaningful life and living. Its orientation to a comprehensive health, both individual and social, makes it a worthy practice for the people of all religions, races and nationalities.
Different philosophies, traditions, lineages and guru-shishya paramparas of Yoga led to the emergence of different traditional schools. These include Jnāna Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Pātanjala Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Dhyāna Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Laya Yoga, Rāja Yoga, Jain Yoga, Bouddha Yoga etc. Each school has its own approach and practices that lead to the ultimate aim and objectives of Yoga.
Nowadays, millions of people are practicing Yoga and have been benefitted by the practice of Yoga which has been preserved and promoted by the great eminent Yoga Masters from ancient times to this date. Yoga is being practiced as an art and science of wellbeing across the globe.