Yoga is a form of exercise, a meditative therapy that heals the mind and body. Asthma, chronic aches, depression and other psychological disorders can be treated by Yoga. This alternative medicine option is popular worldwide and is suitable for all age groups. If you are young, you can try out yoga as a great alternative workout. People of older age groups can enhance the mobility and flexibility of their limbs. There are even special exercises for pregnant women!
What is Yoga?
Yoga is a part of alternative medicine, which originated in India thousands of years ago. Physical postures, breathing and meditative sessions are the highlights of Yoga. Ayurveda and Yoga go hand in hand in establishing a balance between mind, body and spirit. The very word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “Yuj”, which means “union” or “to unite”. Yoga darshan or the philosophy of Yoga compiles the physiological, ethical, psychological and spiritual aspects of the human body system.
Initially the main purpose of Yoga was to gain spiritual enlightenment. Today Yoga has developed into one of the popular alternative medicine options worldwide. A survey carried out by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) in association with the National Center for Health Statistics in 2002 found that yoga is one of the top ten Complementary and Alternative medicine (CAM) used in the US. An estimated 15.2 million US adults have tried yoga.
For further information about the use of Yoga in US we suggest you refer to http://nccam.nih.gov/health/yoga/yoga.htm.
History of Yoga
The credit of systematizing Yoga practice goes to Maharishi Patanjali. He penned the “Yoga Sutra”, which is believed to be the first documented record of the practice of yoga. Archaeological evidence suggests that yoga originated around 3000 years ago. However, scholars believe that Yoga existed much before that. We have traced the origination and development of Yoga through four different ages.
Vedic Age: There is mention about Yoga practices and teachings in the Vedas (sacred Indian texts). Rishis or Vedic Yogis, taught people how to attain divine spirituality.
Pre – classical period: The Upanishads talk about the inner visions of reality. The ultimate reality and the transcendental self are discussed at length here. A relationship between the two is compiled with teachings of the Veda.
Classical Age: The “Yoga Sutras” or the yoga philosophies were conceptualized during the classical age. Maharishi Patanjali systematized the principles of Yoga practices in the 2nd century.
Post Classical Period: The Yogic teachings of this period focus on accepting reality and living in the present. Yoga was first introduced in the US and other western nations in the 19th century. “ABC-Of-Yoga.Com” and “YogaCentral.Net” offers more details on the historical background of yoga.