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As we go from the ancient Indian philosophy we normally read the word ‘Yoga’ but what is Yoga exactly. So yoga is a mind and body practice with historical origins. Yoga includes various styles which includes physical postures, breathings techniques, and mediation or we say it relaxation.
The term ‘Yoga’ has gone through a renewed interest in current culture, as we move in the history of Yoga about 5,000 years back.
A physical exercise based upon a physical poses to promote improved control of mind and body to enhance well-being just because of that Yoga has become most popular.
The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Snaskrit root yuj meaning ‘to yoke or join together.’ Normally few peoples take this to mean a union of the mind and body.
There are many styles of yoga. A person's fitness level and desired practice outcome determines the type of yoga class to which they are best suited.
Yoga is defined as having eight branches or limbs: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyhara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi.
Relieving low back pain, assisting with stress management and increasing balance and flexibility are the potential health benefits of practicing yoga daily.
Many translations point towards the Snaskrit word ‘Yoga’ is of ‘to yoke’, ‘join’ or’ to concentrate’- means a method of discipline. As the name ‘Yoga’ the male who practices this discipline is called a ‘yogi’ and the female who do the same this discipline called as ‘yogini’..
In India the postures that are now an integral part of health and fitness in many centres around the world were not originally a dominant component of yoga traditions. Only practices like pranayama (expansion of the vital energy by means of breath), dharana (focus, or placement of the mental faculty), and nada (sound) was focused . Fitness was not a main aim of practice.
In ancient times, Yoga, was often referred to in the terms of a tree with roots, trunks, branches, blossoms and fruits. Each branch of yoga has its unique characteristics and gives way to specific approach of life. The six branches are mentioned below.
Hatha yoga - physical and mental branch - involves asana and pranayama practice - preparing the body and mind
Raja yoga - meditation and strict adherence to the "eight limbs of yoga"
Karma yoga - path of service to consciously create a future free from negativity and selfishness caused by our actions
Bhakti yoga - path of devotion - a positive way to channel emotions and cultivate acceptance and tolerance
Jnana yoga - wisdom, the path of the scholar and intellect through study
Tantra yoga - pathway of ritual, ceremony or consummation of a relationship.
Raja yoga is traditionally referred to as ashtanga (eight-limbed) yoga, because there are eight aspects to the path to which one must attend. The eight limbs of ashtanga yoga are:
Yama - ethical standards and sense of integrity. The five yamas are: ahimsa (nonviolence), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (continence) and aparigraha (non-covetousness)
Niyama - self-discipline and spiritual observances, meditation practices, contemplative walks. The five niyamas are: saucha (cleanliness), samtosa (contentment), tapas (heat, spiritual austerities), svadhyaya (study of sacred scriptures and of one's self) and isvara pranidhana (surrender to God)
Asana - integration of mind and body through physical activity
Pranayama- regulation of breath leading to integration of mind and body
Pratyahara - withdrawal of the senses of perception, the external world and outside stimuli
Dharana - concentration, one-pointedness of mind
Dhyana - meditation or contemplation - an uninterrupted flow of concentration
Samadhi - the quiet state of blissful awareness.
Scientific trails of varying quality have been published on the health benefits and medical uses of yoga. Studies suggest that the yoga is a safe and effective way to increase physical activity and enhance strength, flexibility and balance. Yoga practice has also shown benefit in specific medical conditions, and we will look at this evidence and scientific research below.
Scientists and medical doctors pursuing yoga-related research focus on its potential benefits as a technique for relieving stress and coping with chronic conditions or disabilities, as well as investigating its potential to help prevent, heal, or alleviate specific conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome, asthma, diabetes, and symptoms of menopause.
“The relaxation techniques incorporated in yoga can lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome,” .“Yoga can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia.”
Other physical benefits of yoga include: