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What is Yoga? A View At An Ancient Practice

Aug 28, 2008
The question "What is Yoga?" is not the type of question that is answered simply or in depth in such a short space. The practice of yoga has numerous unique schools of thought and varying opinions. In ancient Hinduism, the term "yoga" is more or less a general one, similar to the word "biology" or "physics".

For the vast majorities of Hindius, the word "yoga" stands for a type of "technology of the spirit" (even though it doesn't actually translate directly into that), which involves meditation, asceticism. The main goal of "yoga" in this type of circumstance is to get a more beneficial understanding of yourself, of nature, and of the various concepts of existence itself.

Ideas as well as beliefs have been influenced outside of the Indian subcontinent by yoga. Buddism in all of its various forms has been highly shaped by the constructs behind yoga, as has the numerous other asian philosophies and religions. For disciples of other religions, the question of "what is yoga" will be different in a significant way. There are many people who will carry out practices that are highly influenced through the use of yoga without really knowing what it is.

What is Yoga in the Western Environment?

For western culture yoga is a relatively new introduction. It was first introduced in the latter half of the nineteenth century by Swami Vivekananda, an Indian spiritual philosopher and spiritual leader whose speeches on the philosophy behind Indian culture and yoga mesmerized audiences in both the United States as well as the United Kingdom.

He passed away at a relatively young age in his late 30's, however the seeds of ideas that he planted would later develop into the current day practice of yoga in Western society. The counter-culture of western society that sprung up in the latter half of the twentieth century. It's assorted interests in many things Eastern furnished the practice of yoga with the drive it required to arise into the prevalent practice in western culture that it is today.

Yoga in the context of western culture affiliated with Hatha Yoga postures or "asanas" as a type of exercise. Even though there are traditionally only 6 styles of orthodox yoga, (Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, and Bhakti Yoga) people in western culture have integrated various ideas from these types of schools of thought with each other or even with completely foreign concepts to arrive at other types of styles which might arguably be named "yoga". Amongst these are "laughing yoga" and "chair yoga".

In the west yoga is very well liked, particularly in the United State of America. People in America spend in excess of 3 billion dollars each year on classes for yoga as well as associated accessories. Whether or not this Commodification of a ritual that is ancient is helpful or not to the overall practice is debatable; however it does beg more in depth questions on "what is yoga" and what it's practices stand for.

What is Yoga And How Does It Benefit a Person?

There have been many different benefits that have been shown to the practitioners of yoga. Firstly, the traditional forms of practices pf yoga have shown to enhance strength, flexibility, endurance, as well as general well being and lower the psychological stress and trauma.

Helpful effects on people suffering from asthma as well as individuals with heart conditions who practice yoga breathing techniques have also been demonstrated. There have also been numerous other advantages to using yoga that have been claimed, however unfortunately, not all of them have been proven.
About the Author
Listen to Corbin Newlyn as he shares his insights as an expert author and an avid writer in the field of health. If you would like to learn more go to Yoga Positions advice and at Yoga Apparel tips.
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