What is yoga? Yoga is an ancient form of physical movement that has its roots in Indian culture and philosophy. It employs the use of various physical motions that are believed to be essential to achieve a sense of both physical and mental well being.
What is Yoga? Cont’d Yoga means to “yoke” or “unite.” It refers to spiritual practices that are essential to the understanding and practice of Hinduism. Yoga and yogic practices date back more than 5,000 years — the Indus Valley seals depict figures in yoga poses. Yoga is a combination of both physical and spiritual exercises which entails mastery over the body, mind and emotional self, and transcendence of desire. The ultimate goal is moksha, the attainment of liberation from worldly suffering and the cycle of birth and rebirth.
Yoga and Hinduism Hindu yoga is a major aspect of the third largest religion in the world. Hindu meditation and yoga are paths to achieve the purpose of life, refinement of the soul. The ultimate goal is the achievement of oneness with the absolute reality of the universe. Right-minded living and good works are part of this process, but the use of yoga in Hinduism is the most prevalent method of refinement.
Yoga and Buddhism Looking at key Buddhist beliefs, it is no wonder why yoga is used. The following Buddhist believes are connected to yoga: Meditation is key- “Without calming our mind, and examining our mind’s nature and its beliefs, we can never reach enlightenment.” Healing comes from the mind- “Our external situation is created by our internal minds. This is equally true for our health and the state of our bodies.” Our bodies are precious- “A life reborn as a human is considered a very precious thing. To have a long life is a rare and important opportunity to end our suffering. Hence, it is important to keep healthy.”
Yoga and Buddism Cont’d Your spiritual community is important- “You do not have to go to a temple or meditation class to be a Buddhist. But being surrounded by others with similar views and objectives as yourself will be beneficial for one’s motivation, sense of purpose and deepening one’s understanding.” Strive for balance- “The Buddha himself learned that it is important not to be too strict on oneself (or on others). Moderation is the key to success in most things.”
Modern Yoga Since the tradition of Yoga has always been passed on individually from teacher to student through oral teaching and practical demonstration, the particular manner in which the techniques are taught and practiced today depends on the approach passed down from the line of teachers. Because of this, there are over a hundred different schools of yoga.
Modern Yoga Cont’d Modern yoga is not a religion. Therefore, practicing yoga is not practicing Hinduism or Buddhism. Modern yoga focuses on the following: Proper relaxation Proper exercise Proper breathing Proper diet Positive thinking and meditation Yoga’s goal is to help you understand the world, improve yourself, and work on your spiritual discipline (no matter your religion).