The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “Yuj” meaning to yield, join or unite. Practitioners believe that this implies joining and integrating all aspects of the individual to achieve a supreme level. The ultimate objective of Yoga is to attain a happy, balance and meaningful life by uniting the mind, body and the soul.
Yoga is a scientific method of physical and mental practices as what the practitioners of yoga believe. Historically, it originated in India more than 3000 years ago with the ultimate goal of attaining your highest potential and experience health and happiness. Yoga has been recognized by scientists that it has in fact the capacity to prolong health and productive years including an improved quality of life.
Notably, yoga entails contorting the body into difficult poses. It has to be noted that there are six different branches of yoga. They are as follows:
· The Hatha Yoga is the most popular in Western world and it uses physical poses, breathing and meditation for the promotion of health.
· Another branch of yoga is the Bkakti Yoga which is followed mostly in India. Those who practice seek the “One” or the divine in everything and everyone.
· Raja Yoga means “loyal”. This is considered though to be a decaying yoga which may be due to the fact that majority of its practitioners belongs to religious orders. Raja yoga is based on the teachings of eight limbs of yoga. Individuals who practice this type of yoga see themselves as central and achieve self-respect by learning to be masters themselves.
· Jnana Yoga is one branch which deals with the minds and focused on intelligence. The ultimate goal is knowledge and they are open to viewpoints and religions for they believe that an open and rational mind is vital.
· Karma Yoga is the past service which posits that past actions determine your current situation. Hence, they perform selfless acts of service now because of the belief that their future will be free of negativity by doing such.
· Tantra Yoga is probably the most misunderstood of all types. It is about using rituals to experience what is sacred. Individuals who practice Tantra yoga must possess purity, humility, devotion and dedication.
In the Western world, more often than not, yoga is used to achieve physical well-being and endurance. In addition, it can keep the body fit; it can help improve health through stretches and toning muscles as well as an exercise for the spine and the entire skeletal system. While stretching is involved in yoga ultimately it is about creating balance in the body by developing both strength and flexibility through the performance of poses or postures. These poses can be done in quick succession which creates heat through movements. They can also be done more slowly to increase stamina and improve the alignment of the posts.
Yoga classes taught at the local YMCA or health club only touch on the surface of the entire practice. Western civilization has been more interested in in the physical fitness and flexibility which individuals who practice yoga are able to attain while those who live in the East appear more interested in the entire practice of yoga. Serious schools have grown around each of the different paths described above. Usually the schools are established by teachers are gurus and reflect their own methodologies and ways of practicing either one path or integrating several paths..
Whether an individual attempts to learn the entire path of yoga or only integrates the flexibility and physical strengthening poses in order to improve their health, integrating yoga into their daily routines will only help to improve their health, overall well-being and emotional satisfaction.