Maharishi Patanjali codified Yoga Sutra in the second century BC. The Yoga as we know today is named after him – Patanjali Yoga. It is a union between Parmatma and Aatma after a practitioner of Yoga reaches the final stage, called Samadhi.
Yoga is a living tradition. It is a philosophy of life that motivates a practitioner of Yoga to attain health, happiness and finally MOKSHA or salvation, that is freedom of soul from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Yoga is not merely a set of physical exercises or a table of physical training. In the Ashtang Yoga – an eight fold progressive system, the first four are for toning up the body and the last four for lifting mind and Aatma to a higher and higher plane until one reaches the final stage, SAMADHI.
Yoga is self discipline all the way. From the word Go, a practitioner follows the path of righteousness and exercises Sanyam avam Santulan –self control and balance. Ashtang Yoga – the eight-fold path of Yoga may be enumerated thus:
YAMA, NIYAM, AASANA, PRANAYAM, PRATYAHAR, DHARANA, DHYAN, SAMADHI.
The first four exhort a practitioner to observe a set of rules for personal conduct and restrain eating, drinking, sleeping, sex etc to just have only what is conducive to attaining the aim of Yoga. A practitioner rises from being just a part of cosmos to the higher level and merges with the WHOLE or POORNA. Ishwar is poorna. The last four segments of the Ashtang Yoga make our path to POORNA smooth. These are: Pratyahar or a voluntary process of withdrawing self from sensual pleasure. Dharana or Concentration on an object to make progress in Yoga and thus let Mind be Focussed. Dhyan is Meditation – it makes Mind calm and serene. Achievement of tranquility around leads to Peace within. DHYAN helps an individual in facing challenges and empowers him to solve problems. Problem solving leads to perfection in this life. Samadhi –super consciousness is the final stage of Ashtang Yoga. A practioner of Ashtang Yoga on attaining Samadhi reaches the pinnacle of what he had aimed for.
Acharya David Frawly, now known as Pt Vamdev Shastri has laid an emphasis on the Vedic Yoga. He says that Veda is spiritual whereas Yoga is its application.
Shall we say that Yoga is a Union of physical and Spiritual – the term Yoga means just that – a Union; a harmonization. Yoga is for all human beings irrespective of region and religion. Yoga helps an individual to be a good human being, Yoga does not meddle with one’s personal faith. Of course, chanting AUM or reciting a Ved mantra purifies self, the atmosphere and makes environment congenial. It is inclusive.
Maharishi Swami Dayanand Saraswati, the great 19th century Vedic scholar and socio-religious reformer says in his treatise, Satyarth Prakash:
“ Having discussed Sat, Rajas, Tamas and saying that an individual’s birth after death depends on his Action and its quality……but those who have raised themselves above these three qualities and have practiced higher grade of Yoga are not born again. They attain Moksha or Salvation after death. Therefore, a seeker of Emancipation should practice YOGA.”
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Source: WHN Media Network
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