Home Discussion Forum Can someone explain to me what yoga really is?

Can someone explain to me what yoga really is?

Is yoga an excerise regimen or is it something you pratice to aquire self-awareness and then (eventually) inner peace?
I remember as a kid my grandfather practiced yoga. I read his books and I remember them being about a lot more than excerise and meditation. I remember that meditation was something that you worked toward. Not something you did from the beginning.
So is yoga just excerise or is it like a journey of sorts?


  1. Yoga developed in ancient India to unify body and mind with universal spirit, thereby encouraging physical and mental well-being. Most commonly involves a series of stretching postures (called asanas), breathing exercises, and meditative practices. Diet is also considered important in this discipline. Increases flexibility, improves muscle tone, and is helpful in the reduction of stress.

  2. i have been doing yoga for 2 years, and everyone treats it differently, so the question is hard to answer..
    personally, i treat it as good exercise to keep my flexibility up. I also use it to improve my self discipline
    however, many people in my yoga class use it as a form of meditation, and relaxing. whilst i concentrate on the physical side, other may concentrate on the mental side
    i know that my mother does yoga to forget about the current day, and it wafts her into a sense of security and well being
    some people also find it helps them aquire self awareness, and the person inside you. others do it to help breathing
    sorry about the multiple answers.. good question! x

  3. this is from wikipedia
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    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    For other uses such as Yoga postures, see Yoga (disambiguation)
    Statue of Shiva performing Yogic meditationYoga (Sanskrit: योग Yog, IPA: [joːgə]) is a group of ancient spiritual practices designed for the purpose of cultivating a steady mind. It originated in India[1] possibly as early as 3300 BCE. A practitioner of Yoga is called a Yogi or Yogini.
    Yoga has been defined as “technologies or disciplines of asceticism and meditation which are thought to lead to spiritual experiences and a profound understanding or insight into the nature of existence.”[2] Outside India, yoga is mostly associated with the practice of asanas (postures) of Hatha Yoga or as a form of exercise.
    Many Hindu texts discuss aspects of yoga, including the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, and the Shiva Samhita.[1][3]
    Major branches of yoga include: Hatha Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Raja Yoga.[4] [5] [6] Raja Yoga, established by the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and known simply as yoga in the context of Hindu philosophy, is one of the six orthodox (āstika) schools of thought.
    The Sanskrit term yoga has many meanings.[7] It is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj, “to control”, “to yoke”, or “to unite”.[8] Common meanings include “joining” or “uniting”, and related ideas such as “union” and “conjunction”.[9] Another conceptual definition is that of “mode, manner, means”[10] or “expedient, means in general”.[11]
    Contents [hide]
    1 History of Yoga
    1.1 Indus Valley seals
    1.2 Literary sources
    1.2.1 Bhagavad Gita
    1.2.2 Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
    1.2.3 Hatha Yoga Pradipika
    2 Yoga in other traditions
    2.1 Yoga and Buddhism
    2.1.1 Yogacara Buddhism
    2.1.2 Ch`an (Zen) Buddhism
    2.1.3 Tibetan Buddhism
    2.2 Yoga and Tantra
    3 Goal of Yoga
    4 Notes
    5 References
    6 External links
    [edit] History of Yoga
    [edit] Indus Valley seals
    A seal from the Indus Valley Civilization, showing a figure in meditation posture.Several seals discovered at Indus Valley Civilization (c. 3300—1700 BC) sites depict figures in a yoga- or meditation-like posture, “a form of ritual discipline, suggesting a precursor of yoga.” [12] Archaeologist Gregory Possehl points to 16 specific “yogi glyptics”[13] in the corpus of Mature Harappan artifacts as pointing to Harappan devotion to “ritual discipline and concentration.” These images show that the yoga pose “may have been used by deities and humans alike.”[14]
    The most widely known of these images was named the “Pashupati seal”[15] by its discoverer, John Marshall, who believed that it represented a “proto-Shiva” figure.[16] Many modern authorities discount the idea that this “Pashupati” (Lord of Animals, Sanskrit paÅ›upati)[17] represents a Shiva or Rudra figure.[18][19] Gavin Flood characterizes the Shiva or Rudra view as “speculative”, and goes on to say that it is not clear from the ‘Pashupati’ seal that the figure is seated in a yoga posture, or that the shape is intended to represent a human figure.[20][21] Authorities who support the idea that the ‘Pashupati’ figure shows a figure in a yoga or meditation posture include Archaeologist Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, current Co-director of the Harappa Archaeological Research Project in Pakistan[22][23] and Indologist Heinrich Zimmer.[24]
    [edit] Literary sources
    See also: History of Yoga
    Ascetic practices (tapas) are referenced in the Brāhmaṇas (900 BCE and 500 BCE),[25] early commentaries on the vedas. In the Upanishads, an early reference to meditation is made in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad,[26] one of the earliest Upanishads (approx. 900 BCE). The main textual sources for the evolving concept of Yoga are the middle Upanishads, (ca. 400 BCE), the Mahabharata (5th c. BCE) including the Bhagavad Gita (ca. 200 BCE), the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (200 BCE-300 CE) and Narada Bhakti Sutra[27].
    [edit] Bhagavad Gita
    Main article: Bhagavad Gita
    The Bhagavad Gita (‘Song of the Lord’), uses the term yoga extensively in a variety of senses. Of many possible meanings given to the term in the Gita, most emphasis is given to these three:[28]
    Karma yoga: The yoga of action
    Bhakti yoga: The yoga of devotion[27]
    Jnana yoga: The yoga of knowledge
    The influential commentator Madhusudana Sarasvati (b. circa 1490) divided the Gita’s eighteen chapters into three sections, each of six chapters. According to his method of division the first six chapters deal with Karma yoga, the middle six deal with Bhakti yoga, and the last six deal with Jnana (knowledge).[29] This interpretation has been adopted by some later commentators and rejected by others.
    [edit] Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
    Main articles: Raja Yoga and Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
    In Indian philosophy, Yoga is the name of one of the six orthodox philosophical schools.[30][31] The Yoga philosophical system is closely allied with the Samkhya school.[32] The Yoga school as expounded by Patanjali accepts the Samkhya psychology and metaphysics, but is more theistic than the Samkhya, as evidenced by the addition of a divine entity to the Samkhya’s twenty-five elements of reality.[33][34] The parallels between Yoga and Samkhya were so close that Max Müller says that “the two philosophies were in popular parlance distinguished from each other as Samkhya with and Samkhya without a Lord….”[35] The intimate relationship between Samkhya and Yoga is explained by Heinrich Zimmer:
    These two are regarded in India as twins, the two aspects of a single discipline. Sāṅkhya provides a basic theoretical exposition of human nature, enumerating and defining its elements, analyzing their manner of co-operation in a state of bondage (bandha), and describing their state of disentanglement or separation in release (moká¹£a), while Yoga treats specifically of the dynamics of the process for the disentanglement, and outlines practical techniques for the gaining of release, or ‘isolation-integration’ (kaivalya).[36]
    The sage Patanjali is regarded as the founder of the formal Yoga philosophy.[37] The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are ascribed to Patanjali, who, as Max Müller explains, may have been “the author or representative of the Yoga-philosophy without being necessarily the author of the Sutras.”[38] Indologist Axel Michaels is dismissive of claims that the work was written by Patanjali, characterizing it instead as a collection of fragments and traditions of texts stemming from the second or third century.[39] Gavin Flood cites a wider period of uncertainty for the composition, between 100 BCE and 500 CE.[40]
    Patanjali’s yoga is known as Raja yoga, which is a system for control of the mind.[41] Patanjali defines the word “yoga” in his second sutra, which is the definitional sutra for his entire work:
    योग: चित्त-वृत्ति निरोध:
    ( yogaś citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ )
    – Yoga Sutras 1.2
    This terse definition hinges on the meaning of three Sanskrit terms. I. K. Taimni translates it as “Yoga is the inhibition (nirodhaḥ) of the modifications (vá¹›tti) of the mind (citta)”.[42] Swami Vivekananda translates the sutra as “Yoga is restraining the mind-stuff (Citta) from taking various forms (Vrittis).”[43] Gavin Flood translates the sutra as “yoga is the cessation of mental fluctuations”.[44]
    A sculpture of a Hindu yogi in the Birla Mandir, DelhiPatanjali’s writing also became the basis for a system referred to it as “Ashtanga Yoga” (“Eight-Limbed Yoga”). This eight-limbed concept derived from the 29th Sutra of the 2nd book became a feature of Raja yoga, and is a core characteristic of practically every Raja yoga variation taught today.[1]The Eight Limbs of yoga practice are:
    (1) Yama (The five “abstentions”): nonviolence, truth, non-covetousness, chastity, and abstain from attachment to possessions.
    (2) Niyama (The five “observances”): purity, contentment, austerities, study, and surrender to god
    (3) Asana: Literally means “seat”, and in Patanjali’s Sutras refers to seated positions used for meditation. Later, with the rise of Hatha yoga, asana came to refer to all the “postures”
    (4) Pranayama (“Lengthening Prāna”): Prāna, life force, or vital energy, particularly, the breath, “āyāma”, to lengthen or extend
    (5) Pratyahara (“Abstraction”): Withdrawal of the sense organs from external objects.
    (6) Dharana (“Concentration”): Fixing the attention on a single object
    (7) Dhyana (“Meditation”): Intense contemplation of the nature of the object of meditation
    (8) Samadhi (“Liberation”): merging consciousness with the object of meditation
    They are sometimes divided into the lower and the upper four limbs, the lower ones being parallel to the lower limbs of Hatha Yoga, while the upper ones being specific for the Raja yoga. The upper three limbs practiced simultaneously constitute the Samyama.
    It details every aspect of the meditative process, and the preparation for it. The book is available in as many as 40 English translations, both in-print and on-line.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] [9]
    [edit] Hatha Yoga Pradipika
    Main article: Hatha yoga
    Hatha Yoga is a particular system of Yoga described by Yogi Swatmarama, a yogic sage of the 15th century in India, and compiler of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Hatha Yoga is a development of – but also differs substantially from – the Raja Yoga of Patanja

  4. yoga is a ancient system that united wisdom, exercise, breathing and philosophy. It is something that you practice to aquire self-awareness and then eventually inner peace.


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