If there’s something as rich, deep and also as old as the Indian civilization, it is the science of Yoga. The term ‘Yoga’ has its origin in the Sanskrit word “yoktra” meaning a yoke. Just like a yoke that harnesses draft animals into position and prevents them from straying, Yoga reins in human beings from temptations by providing a regimen for a disciplined life.
The frontiers of Yoga extend much beyond grotesque body contortions and regulated breathing as widely perceived. It is an all encompassing technique to elevate the human body, mind and the soul to a plane of permanent happiness. The essential principles of Yoga were offered as early as 2nd century B.C by sage Patanchali in his treatise called Yoga Sutra, the aphorisms of Yoga.
At a very mundane level, it is understood as a technique to keep fit and perform better through some gentle stretches of the body (‘Asanaas’) and controlled breathing (‘Pranayama’).But scope of this ancient Indian science is too vast and varied. Yoga is a comprehensive methodology that helps us realize the purpose of this life through a proper synchronization of the body, mind and the soul.
There are several branches of Yoga: The Raja Yoga, Gnana Yoga, Karma Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Mantra Yoga. Patanjali is considered a pioneer exponent of Raja Yoga. His phenomenal work, ‘Yoga Sutra’ offers the quintessence of all forms of Yoga in just 195 laconic verses.