What is Yoga?

Yoga (योग) is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. Yoga is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophical traditions. There is a broad variety of yoga schools, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The term “yoga” in the Western world often denotes a modern form of Hatha yoga, which includes the physical practice of postures called asanas.

 

During the twentieth century, the philosophy and practice of Yoga became increasingly popular in the West.

Some pages from a historic Yogasutra manuscript (Sanskrit, Devanagari). The verses are highlighted and are embedded inside the bhasya (commentary).

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is a collection of 195 Sanskrit sutras (aphorisms) on the theory and practice of yoga. The Yoga Sutra was compiled sometime between 500 BCE and 400 CE by the sage Patanjali in India who synthesized and organized knowledge about yoga from much older traditions. The Yoga Sūtra...

Patanjali's eight limbs of yoga

Ashtanga

Ashtanga (eight limbs of yoga) Ashtanga yoga (aṣṭāṅgayoga, “the eight limbs of yoga”) is Patanjali’s classification of classical yoga, as set out in his Yoga Sutras. He defined the eight limbs as yama (abstinences), niyama (observances), asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption). The eight limbs form...

Raja Yoga

Rāja Yoga

Rāja Yoga In Sanskrit texts, Rāja yoga was both the goal of yoga and a method of attaining it. The term also became a modern name for the practice of yoga, when in the 19th-century Swami Vivekananda equated raja yoga with the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Since then, Rāja yoga has variously been called aṣṭāṅga yoga, royal yoga, royal union, sahaja marg, and classical...

serenity yoga

Karma Yoga

Karma Yoga Karma yoga, also called Karma marga, is one of the three spiritual paths in Hinduism, one based on the “yoga of action”. To a karma yogi, right action is a form of prayer. It is one of the paths in the spiritual practices of Hindus, others being Jnana yoga (path of knowledge) and Bhakti yoga...

natural yoga

Jnana Yoga

Jnana Yoga Jnana yoga, also known as Jnanamarga, is one of the several spiritual paths in Hinduism that emphasizes the “path of knowledge”, also known as the “path of self-realization”. It is one of the three classical paths (margas) for moksha (salvation, liberation). The other two are karma yoga (path of action, karmamarga) and bhakti yoga (path of loving devotion to...

The bodhisattva Maitreya and disciples, a central figure in Yogacara origin myth. Gandhara, 3rd century CE.

Yogācāra

Yogachara Yogachara (Yogācāra; literally “yoga practice”; “one whose practice is yoga”) is an influential tradition of Buddhist philosophy and psychology emphasizing the study of cognition, perception, and consciousness through the interior lens of meditative and yogic practices. It is also variously termed Vijñānavāda (the doctrine of consciousness), Vijñaptivāda (the doctrine of ideas or...

What is Yoga?

What is Yoga?

What is Yoga? Yoga (“to yoke”) refers to a series of interrelated ancient Hindu spiritual practices that originated in India, where it remains a vibrant living tradition. Yoga is one of the six orthodox systems (darshans) of Indian philosophy. Its influence has been widespread among many other schools of Indian...

4 Ways to Take Your Yoga Routine to the Next Level

4 Ways to Take Your Yoga Routine to the Next Level There is nothing quite like the study and practice of yoga to help you get fit, stay centered, and grow as a human being. Yoga has long been one of the top forms of exercise all around the world,...

Yoga as Exercise

Yoga as Exercise Yoga as exercise is a physical activity consisting mainly of postures (asanas), often connected by flowing sequences called vinyasas, sometimes accompanied by rhythmic breathing (pranayama), and often ending with relaxation (lying down in savasana) or meditation. Yoga in this form has become familiar across the world, especially in America and Europe. Like other...

Yoga

Yoga Philosophy

Yoga Philosophy Yoga philosophy is one of the six major orthodox schools of Hinduism. Ancient, medieval and most modern literature often refers to the Yoga school of Hinduism simply as Yoga. It is closely related to the Samkhya school of Hinduism. The Yoga school’s systematic studies to better oneself physically, mentally and spiritually...

Lessons in Gnani Yoga (The Yoga of Wisdom)

Lessons in Gnani Yoga (The Yoga of Wisdom) BY YOGI RAMACHARAKA. THIS BOOK GIVES THE HIGHEST YOGI TEACHINGS REGARDING THE ABSOLUTE AND ITS MANIFESTATIONS. INDEX. LESSON PAGE I. The One 1 II. Omnipresent Life 27 III. The Creative Will 51 IV. The Unity of Life 75 V. The One and...

Kundalini Yoga Yoga Pranayam Breath Peace Still

Kundalini Yoga

What is Kundalini Yoga? Kundalini yoga is a school of yoga that is influenced by Shaktism and Tantra schools of Hinduism. It derives its name through a focus on awakening kundalini energy through regular practice of mantra, tantra, yantra, yoga or meditation. Kundalini yoga is often identified as the most...

In Hinduism, the Bhakti yoga is a spiritual path of loving devotion to a Personal Divine.

Bhakti Yoga

What is Bhakti Yoga? Bhakti yoga, also called Bhakti marga, is a spiritual path or spiritual practice within Hinduism focused on loving devotion towards a personal god. It is one of the paths in the spiritual practices of Hindus, others being Jnana yoga and Karma yoga. The tradition has ancient roots. Bhakti is mentioned in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad where it...

Yoga Buddhism

Deity Yoga

What is Deity Yoga? Deity yoga (Devata-yoga) is a practice of Vajrayana Buddhism involving identification with a chosen deity through visualisations and rituals, and the realisation of emptiness. According to the Tibetan scholar Tsongkhapa, deity yoga is what separates Buddhist Tantra practice from the practice of other Buddhist schools. Deity...

Hatha Yoga

What is Hatha Yoga? Haṭha yoga is a branch of Yoga. The Sanskrit word हठ haṭha literally means “force” and thus alludes to a system of physical techniques. In India, haṭha yoga is associated in popular tradition with the ‘Yogis’ of the Natha Sampradaya through its mythical founder Matsyendranath. Matsyendranath, also known as Minanath or Minapa in Tibet, is...

Modern Yoga

What Is Modern Yoga? Modern yoga consists of a range of techniques including asanas (postures) and meditation derived from some of the philosophies, teachings and practices of Hinduism, and organised into a wide variety of schools and denominations. It has been described by Elizabeth de Michelis as having four types,...

Yoga For Women

Yoga For Women Modern yoga has often been taught by women to classes consisting mainly of women. This continued a tradition of gendered physical activity dating back to the early 20th century, with the Harmonic Gymnastics of Genevieve Stebbins in America and Mary Bagot Stack in Britain. One of the pioneers of modern yoga, Indra Devi,...

Mindful Yoga

What Is Mindful Yoga? Mindful Yoga or Mindfulness Yoga is the combination of Buddhist-style mindfulness practice with modern yoga to provide a means of exercise that is also meditative and useful for reducing stress. Its use for stress was pioneered by Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1990. Courses in Mindful Yoga are provided in Buddhist meditation centres, yoga studios, and stress clinics around the world. Practice The practice of...

Asana

What Is Asana? An asana is a body posture, originally a sitting pose for meditation,[1] and later in hatha yoga and modern yoga, adding reclining, standing, inverted, twisting, and balancing poses to the meditation seats. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali define “asana” as “[a position that] is steady and comfortable”.[2] Patanjali mentions the ability to sit for extended...

Body, Mind and Spirit

Upanishads and Yoga

Upanishads and Yoga The wise soul is not born nor does it die. This one has not come from anywhere nor has it become anyone. Unborn, eternal, constant, primal, this one is not killed when the body is killed. If the killer thinks to kill, if the killed thinks oneself...

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