What is Yoga
- Since the beginning of the times human kind believed we are both spiritual and physical beings. We were wondering about the purpose of our life and why the eternal spirit is housed in a temporary body. Yoga, with more than 5000 years of practice which has started in India, is dealing with these issues.
In the ancient years this group of spiritual practices was passed on from teacher to student. The Yogic knowledge was considered sacred and it was kept secret from the masses.
In the last century the mode of transmission of Yoga has changed and today teachings are presented widely, many people claiming that it is so, because today we need Yoga more than ever. The idea of Yogic philosophy is that the physical and spiritual aspects of our existence cannot be separated.
Yoga primary deals with 'tangible' - to have a healthier body, through which we achieve a peaceful mind and a deeper understanding of the nature of life. With Yoga, we learn how to withdraw from the world's chaos and when we are in need to find a quiet space within ourselves. Yoga is a path to self-knowledge.
Why practice Yoga
Yoga is an experience and not just a philosophy. Most people start Yoga to improve the health of their physical body.
Health's improvement comes through the increased awareness of the body's functions. Power, concentration, balance, mobility and flexibility are achieved through the postures of Yoga (Asana), poisonous substances and waste is eliminated from the body. Blood circulation is increased, oxygen and energy makes musculature, as well as respiratory, circulatory, digestive, shocker, reproductive, endocrine and nervous system to be more efficient.
We also begin to understand how breathing and general attitude affects our mental process. This brings us to the second most important reason for which people are involved in the practice of Yoga: to calm the mind. Mental and emotional tension stored in the body result to muscle tension, pain, and diseases. Mental stress and negative emotions must somehow find a release channel, if we want to feel peaceful.
Through postures (of Asana) and breathing techniques of yoga (Pranayama) mental and emotional intensity can be discharged, so the tranquility of mind becomes more feasible. The third reason for someone to start Yoga is to increase the intellectual awareness. With a disciplined and regular meditative practice an extension of consciousness is achieved and we can go beyond the limited perspective and arrive to a direct realization of universal laws, archetypal images, and cosmic truths.
Yoga, however, is not to be confused with religion. This practice is a system of Yogic thinking and has no religious tradition. Yoga is practiced as a method, in order to achieve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual alignment within the cosmic harmony.