Many researches done in the past few decades recommend Yoga for better physical and mental health. Most of the people take some Asanas (physical postures) merely to be Yoga. Patanjali gave eight steps of Yoga to achieve ultimate goal. It’s broad philosophy is really helpful to all of us. Yoga is not merely for physical well-being; it’s for social and spiritual well-being of all. This is suitable for any human, irrespective of caste, colour, and sex and like that.
Yoga comes from ‘Yuj’ root word meaning to unite: to unite with goal, to achieve what one is looking for. For Patanjali, the yoga is the process of controlling mind: “Mana prashamano upaya yogah”, or “Yogah chitta vritti nirodha”. Lord Krishna in Gita says that “Samatvam yoga uchetye” i.e. to yoga is to remain balanced or unbiased or steady even in ups and downs of life. He further says that “Yoga karmashu kaushala” – to follow yoga is to be an excellent doer of the duty or work.
The eight steps as given by Lord Patanjali are:
1. Yama: Rules to be followed for welfare of society.
a. Ahimsa: Non-violence (not harming others by mind, words and actions)
b. Satya: Truthfulness
c. Asteya: Non-stealing, moderation
d. Bramcharya: Self disciplined, or to be Controller of one’s own senses
e. Aprigraha: Non-hording
2. Niyam: Rules to be followed for welfare of oneself.
a. Saucha: Cleanliness (Cleanliness of body, and mind)
b. Santosha: Contement
c. Tapa: Austerity
d. Swadhya: Self-study
e. Ishwor pranidhan: Srevice to God
3. Asana: Postures, major exercises of Yoga
4. Pranayam: Breathing Exercises
5. Pratyhara: Keeping mind and senses in prime objectives, removing from insignificant ones
6. Dharana: Absorbance to the divine goal
7. Dhyan: Meditation, Meditation on the divine goal
8. Samadhi: Being united with the divine goal.
We are mostly aware of the physical exercises which, for us, provide some visible benefits. We might have problem appreciating those benefits for which we may not have instruments to visualize and measure. Can we visualize and measure some important things like- thoughts, love, hatred etc. by some physical procedure?
Before doing yoga regularly, it is good to learn it from a learned guru and/or take a Vaidya (doctor’s) suggestion. In some conditions of health, doing some Yogic asanas is contraindicated for certain time. And certain Yoga Asanas are of curative values.
Further Readings: The few sites may help you know about yoga.
- Health Benefits of Yoga
- Yama and Niyama
- NIH/NCCAM: Yoga for health
- Time Magazine: The Power of Yoga
- Time Magazine: Meditation: Just Say Om