is a complete science of life that originated in India thousands of years
ago. The Sanskrit meaning of Yoga is union which can be extended to imply
union with God or Atman. Or in other words, it is the union between a
person's own consciousness and the universal consciousness. Yoga encompasses
the entire body, mind and spirit. The classical techniques of Yoga date back
more than 5,000 years.
The ancient Indian scriptures perceived the physical body as a vehicle with
the mind as driver and the soul as man's true identity. The physical body
perishes in due course of time, the materialistic pleasures of the world are
momentary but the human soul is permanent, it never dies. Yoga aims at
integration with the soul which is the ultimate reality.
The scriptures say that the goal envisaged by Yoga can be reached
through four different ways - Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Karma
Yoga. All the different forms have their own advantages and characteristics.
Bhakti Yoga is the path of devotion and prayers. Yogis who practice Bhakti
Yoga see the Divine in everyone and everything they encounter. Raja Yoga is
the path focussing on meditation and contemplation. It is based on the eight
limbs of Yoga which was discussed in the Yoga Sutra. Jnana Yoga is the path
dealing with wisdom and knowledge. It emphasizes on reaching the goal
through spiritual knowledge. Karma Yoga believes that 'work is worship' and
that past actions influence future course of action. Therefore, good deeds
only can bestow happiness on human beings.
The Most Popular
Form of Yoga & Meditation
aspect of Yoga that is most popular in present times and understood by the
layman is "Hatha Yoga" or the Yoga of Postures. It is through
Hatha Yoga that practitioners try to keep their mind and body fit and keep
diseases at bay. And meditation forms an integral part of these practices.
There are many different Yogic postures - some that can be easily done while
some are difficult. All the Hatha yoga postures target different parts of
the body. Hatha Yoga lays special emphasis on breathing techniques as breath
is believed to maintain a good balance between mind and body. The breathing
techniques are based on the concept that breath is the source of life in the
body. Yoga students gently increase their breath control to improve the
health and the function of both body and mind.
It is here that Meditation also needs mention. Meditation usually refers to
a state of extreme relaxation and concentration, in which the body is
generally at rest and the mind quieted of surface thoughts. Just as Hatha
Yogas aim at physical health, meditation in common parlance aims at mental
health. Meditation is said to help in concentration of the mind and
channelising the thought process towards positive things. Meditation also
negates negative thoughts and bitter memories that gets accumulated in the
sub conscious mind over the years due to past experiences. Continuous
meditation takes the mind deeper into the self and helps in self
realization. Conclusively, it can be said the ultimate aim of Yoga and
meditation is realization of the atman or self realization.
is a common saying that every Indian household is a school for imparting
cultural knowledge. The older generations disseminate information on ancient
Indian culture and tradition to the upcoming generations. Although under the
impact of modern trends, the link was affected, there is again a spiritual
revival in the country with a number of institutes all over the country
teaching the ancient arts of yoga and meditation. Though it is not possible
to list all of them as they shall number in thousands, the prominent
institutes of Yoga and Meditation are mentioned below.
Initiated in the year 1972 to spread the ideals of Swami
Vivekananda, the Vivekananda Kendra has presently 170 branch centres spread
over 18 states of India and dedicated to teaching yoga, meditation and a
host of other activities.Art Of Living Foundation: The AOL Foundation with
activities in 142 countries and headquartered in Bangalore conducts sessions
on yoga and meditation under the guidance of his holiness Sri Sri Ravi
Shankar. B.K Iyengar Yoga Institute: The Iyengar Yoga Institute headed by
octogenarian B.K Iyengar is renowned the world over due to unique yogic
practices taught by B.K Iyengar. The institute is based in Pune and attracts
students from different parts of the world.
Founded by Paramhamsa Sivananda, The Bihar School Of Yoga is located
in Munger of Bihar and offers both long term and short term specialised
courses on yogic sadhana, yogic health management and yogic stress
Divya Yoga Trust
the many institutes dedicated to Yogasanas in Haridwar, the Divya Yoga Trust
headed by Acharya Ramdev Ji Maharaj is gaining popularity all over India .
The Trust conducts Yoga camps in different parts of India which are
personally supervised by Ramdev Ji Maharaj.
Founded in 1897 by Swami Vivekananda to propagate the teachings of
Ramakrishna Paramhansa, the mission with branches in different parts of the
country also conducts yoga and meditation classes.
The person who gifted transcendental meditation technique to the
world, the Foundation run by Maharishi teaches the unique form of meditation
through branches spread all over India. It is worth mentionable that apart
from the institutions mentioned above, there are also many institutions at
local levels dedicated to teaching yoga and meditation.